Indefinite detention is provoking a backlash more intense than anything he has yet faced, and just as an election year is upon us
On the eve of 2012, President Obama is facing a backlash from civil libertarians that is more widespread and intense than anything he's yet seen. He has previously been subject to complaints about his war on whistleblowers, the humanitarian and strategic costs of his drone war, the illegality of the war he waged in Libya, his use of the state secrets privilege, his defense of Bush-era warrantless wiretapping, and his assertion of the power to kill American citizens accused of terrorism. But news that Obama plans to sign rather than veto a bill enshrining indefinite detention into U.S. law and failing to exempt American citizens is provoking unprecedented ire.
The significance of the backlash is perhaps best understood by looking at what people and organizations who supported Obama's 2008 bid for the presidency are saying about his actions now. The head of the ACLU's legislative office insisted that Obama is poised to damage "both his legacy and American's reputation for upholding the rule of law," and noted that "the last time Congress passed indefinite detention legislation was during the McCarthy era."