Obama has declared that he has the authority under the 2001 AUMF to indefinitely hold anyone “if it is necessary to protect against a significant threat to the security of the United States.”
He doesn’t say that person has to be a terrorist, much less part of al Qaeda. He doesn’t say that person has to have any tie to the enemy as defined by the 2001 AUMF, that is, “those nations, organizations, or persons [the President] determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.” He doesn’t even say that person has to have been rounded up on a battle field, however you define that.
If detaining someone indefinitely is “necessary to protect against a significant threat to the security of the United States,” Obama says, he can do it.
So I say, fine! Let’s indefinitely detain the banksters that crashed our entire economy. They fairly routinely hold the workers and taxpayers of this country hostage these days, just like terrorists do. And when you account for the number of people they’ve left homeless and hungry, the damage they have done may well surpass that of the attack on 9/11. Clearly, the banksters are a “significant threat to the security of the United States”–they’re the biggest threat to the security of the US. And the genius of Obama’s EO is it doesn’t even require the detainees, themselves, represent a threat. Rather, if their detention is necessitated by the security threat, we can detain them. We don’t have to trouble with sorting the good banksters, like Jamie Dimon, from the bad banksters, like Dick Fuld. We can detain them all, just to make sure we don’t accidentally miss any. (Sorry Bill, we can’t take any risks, so this includes you too!)
Simple as that. Our biggest security threat solved!
Mind you, Obama’s Executive Order laying out this amazing limitless standard specifies that the EO only applies to “those detainees held at Guantanamo on the date of this order.”
But we all know that EOs don’t have to say what they mean. We know OLC ruled back in 2001 that, “There is no constitutional requirement for a President to issue a new executive order whenever he wishes to depart from the terms of a previous executive order. Rather than violate an executive order, the President has instead modified or waived it.” We know Bush did just that–change the terms of an EO without changing the text, so none of us had warning we were being spied on. But when national security is threatened–our government has decided–it’s okay to change EOs with no warning.
So all Obama has to do to authorize the indefinite detention of the banksters that represent the biggest threat to our security right now is simply pixie dust his EO, and voila! He can round up the banksters, put them on some tropical island somewhere (I suspect they’ll feel right at home in the Cayman Islands).
It’s as easy as that, vanquishing a security threat, arbitrarily detaining people in the name of security forever.