Presidents could order anyone arrested and imprisoned for life without charge or trial.
Abuse of power would replace rule of law protections.
Even someone erroneously arrested and cleared of wrongdoing could be held indefinitely without charge, given non-civil trials, none at all, or sent abroad to torture prison hellholes.
On November 29, the Senate voted 60 - 38 against Mark Udall's (D. CO) amendment. If adopted, it would have prohibited the military from arresting and imprisoning anyone anywhere without charge or trial, including US citizens.
An orderly review of presidential and congressional detention power would have been authorized. Before adjourning, House and Senate conferees will resolve the issue one way or other. Removing harmful provisions is doubtful.
If not, Obama promised a veto. So far, he's broken EVERY major promise made. Given enough congressional votes to override him, it hardly matters what he does.
December 8 is the House's targeted adjournment date. The Senate date is yet to be announced. Key legislation must be completed before leaving, including resolving language in FY 2012 NDAA.
Obama must then sign or veto it. Congress returns on January 5. Will he keep his promise or sign the bill to assure defense funding continuity? Electoral politics suggests the latter.
Moreover, S. 1867 sponsor Carl Levin said Obama officials were involved in drafting the bill. Both sides apparently agreed on final language.
Some Post-9/11 Background
On September 18, 2001, a joint House-Senate Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) approved permanent war on humanity. Thereafter, America's lurched from one to another. Expect more ahead.
On November 13, 2001, George Bush issued Military Order Number 1. It was a watershed coup d'etat action.
It authorized presidents to capture, kidnap or otherwise arrest non-citizens (citizens were later included) anywhere in the world based on unproved allegations of involvement in international terrorism. Moreover, it approved holding them indefinitely without charge, evidence or due process rights.
It stipulated that trials, if held, will be in secret military commissions, not civil courts. Torture obtained evidence is allowed, and appeal rights are denied those convicted.
Capitalizing on a window of hysteria, numerous laws, Executive Orders, findings, memoranda, and memos, as well as National and Homeland Security Presidential Directives followed (NSPDs and HSPDs). Constitutional rights eroded. Unchecked police state powers hardened.
On October 26, 2001, 45 days post-9/11, Congress overwhelmingly passed the USA Patriot Act. Civil liberties were eroded, including Fifth and Fourteen Amendment due process rights by permitting indefinite detentions of undocumented immigrants that now apply to anyone anywhere.