The United States Bill of Rights

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The United States Bill of Rights

The National Defense Authorization Act Is Unconstitutional

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is unconstitutional. It makes possible the indefinite detention of Americans suspected of aiding terrorists. It treats the United States as a battleground of the war on terrorism, in spite of the death of Osama Bin Laden and the killing of al Qaeda leaders. It contains sections that allow the military to override the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in the detention of suspects. It denies Americans suspected of aiding terrorists their Constitutional rights to legal representation, the charges against them, the ancient right of trial by jury, and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, such as imprisonment forever!

This is the end of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which made the freedom-loving people of early America willing to accept the federal government and the Constitution. The Bill of Rights came into force when ratified by the states in 1791. For 220 years it has protected the people of the United States from the excesses of government. Now, with a lawless act of Congress and the signature of the President (with or without signing statements) the essence of our treasured liberties is dashed to the ground. With the help of this President and Congress, Osama Bin Laden has won in death what he failed to do in life.

A decade after the attack on the Twin Towers there are those in the Congress who would still use our fear of terrorism to destroy our cherished American freedoms. Our only hope is that the American people will recognize that the Constitution and its Amendments cannot be altered by any President or Congress. They can only be altered by the amendment process. Those who provided and supported this outrageous and illegal attack on the Constitution - in violation of their Oath of Office - should be voted out of office and deprived of their retirement benefits. We must not reward attacks on our Constitutional Rights with the comfort of lifelong retirement.

Peter G. Cohen, artist/writer, is a veteran of WWII, and a former candidate for U.S. Representative. He lives in Santa Barbara.

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