During Hurricane Katrina, martial law (termed state of emergency) was declared in New Orleans while the city streets were cleared, power was restored, and looting stopped. Martial law power was instituted during World War II when Japanese-Americans were imprisoned to protect all of America from the possibility that ethnic loyalties would turn the Japanese violent.
Martial law is declared when the safety of the populace is threatened. It gives military control over an area and military power over you. You can be arrested and jailed indefinitely until the military decides to release you. It is one of the paradoxes of life. We fight war for peace. We have martial law take our freedom, to protect our freedom.
Earlier this month, the government claimed the power of martial law
Congress passed the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) which has declared that American citizens who are suspected of supporting terrorism can lose their right to trial. This emergency measure is to protect us and is only temporary. Like in New Orleans, after power was restored and the roads cleared, martial law was lifted. Like after Japan surrendered to the US in World War II, the Japanese-Americans were released from prison.
But how long can the government hold current martial law power when our war isn’t against a group with a leader or against looters during a natural disaster? When do we win the war on terror?
It’s true, the military is not patrolling the streets, but why wasn’t the wording in the NDAA made more clear than “supports terrorism”? Why didn’t it specify that support is giving information, material, or physical help to a terrorist? Why didn’t the law err on the side of protecting our freedom while protecting us from terrorists? Why did they instead take absolute power over arresting Americans in the US?
A terrorist attack killed nearly 3000 Americans on 9-11.
In comparison, over 28,000 babies born in the US die before their first birthday
In reaction to the attack on 9-11, the government waged war in three countries, created a Department of Homeland Security, and has taken our right to trial.
I think we must ask why they deserve to take such a power to protect us in a war that has no end in sight.