Veteran stands strong for personal freedom

13 years ago

To the editor:
    Last week the U.S. Senate voted to maintain provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act that allows the military to arrest and imprison United States citizens, on United States soil, indefinitely and without judicial review. A person arrested under these provisions would never go to court, never have a trial, never meet a jury of his peers, and could be held for a life sentence. The only recourse is the Secretary of Defense.
    If allowed to pass, these provisions will never be determined to be constitutional since the State Secrets Act precludes them from coming before the Supreme Court.
    I am a retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant. The work I did in the military was the most important and rewarding I have ever done in my life. I would go back to serve my country in a heartbeat if needed or asked. I feel, and many veterans I talk to do also, that the military should not be imprisoning Americans in their own county. Our personal freedom as Americans should not be at the whim or fancy of some captain, colonel or general.
    The members of Congress say that these provisions are needed because we are at war and that only terrorists would be arrested. We were told the same things about the Patriot Act. In testimony before Congress, the FBI and Justice Department admitted that in cases where the Patriot Act was used, only 5 percent of the cases were terrorist-related. The other 95 percent of the cases where they wiretapped without warrant, read and stored e-mails, gathered financial records, or solicited lists of library books were against average Americans like you and me.
    Those of us who served in the military during the Cold War stopped one of the most brutal dictatorships the world has known from coming to our shores. Because of our actions many of the world’s nations were also protected. We can’t allow the means of incarceration used in the USSR, East Germany, China and North Korea to be used in the United States. We are better than that. My personal safety and that of my family is not worth anything without the freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
    If you feel the same way, please let your elected representatives know that you don’t want them to subvert the very document that makes us who we are as Americans. Certainly don’t do it in the name of our safety.
Michael F. Lewis