Prez hopeful Stein (G) calls on Obama to veto Defense Authorization as “expensive, un-American”

Jill Stein said today that if she were president she would veto the pending National Defense Authorization Bill as needlessly expensive and because it violates civil liberties by restricting the constitutional right to a fair trial.  Jill Stein also supports major cuts in the “massive, bloated military budget.” Stein is running for president as a Green Party candidate.

Our constitutional liberties have been under attack over the past decade, a victim of this unending war on terrorism. Congress wants to authorize the indefinite mprisonment of American citizens, without charge, and that is wrong – and the very definition of un-American. If elected, I will restore our political and civil liberty protections.

The National Defense Authorization Act would eliminate protections against the use of the military against our own citizens on American soil, as articulated by the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. It would also empower the president and our armed forces to detain U.S. citizens and others without trial based on unsubstantiated suspicions that such persons have been involved in the attacks of September 11, 2001, or have supported Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or  or its coalition partners.

Individuals could also be tried before a military court or transferred “to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.”

An amendment by Senator Udall to modify this section was rejected by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

The Senate is voting this week on the full $682.5 billion Defense Authorization Bill. Passage of the bill would mean that the amount the U.S. spends on its military would nearly be the same as the rest of the world combined.

“America needs a peace dividend to invest in jobs, rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, pay off student loans, stop foreclosures on homes, and invest in renewable energy and conservation needed to stop the growing problem of climate change. The military budget needed major cuts ten years ago, and since then Congress has doubled it,” said Dr. Stein.

Even if Congress permits the 10% automatic defense reductions required in the wake of the deficit reduction super-committee failure, defense spending would actually continue to increase since the reductions are only cuts in reference to the rate of growth.

Stein pointed out that her views — unlike those of most of the Republican presidential contenders — are similar to traditional conservative beliefs that oppose a large military and the use of our defense forces as the world’s policeman. Stein noted that fifty years ago, President Eisenhower, the commander of the Allied Forces in WWII, warned the American people to be careful of the growing power of the military-industrial-Congress complex. The U.S. did not have a large permanent army or arms industry before then, always scaling the military back after a war.

“We need to bring our troops home not only from the Middle East but from most of the more than one hundred countries where we have bases. Our massive military budget actually increases the security threat to the American people by undermining economic security at home and distorting our foreign policy. It leads to the use of the military where it is an inappropriate and ineffective response that exacerbates hostilities better addressed by diplomatic means. Right-sizing the military would not only lead to a healthier economy at home but would also move us towards real security around the world.”

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