Here are five quick thoughts about the legislative tussling over the AUMF and detention policy following yesterday’s House vote to pass the NDAA and its provisions on the subject.
First, if it was not clear before, it it is certainly clear now: There will be legislation on this matter. The question is not whether the status quo will change. It is how the status quo will change. Human rights groups and members of Congress who do not face this reality squarely will marginalize themselves from the decision points of actual policy-making. There will be legislation because one house of Congress has passed some dramatic provisions as part of a legislative vehicle that neither Congress nor the Executive Branch can afford not to have signed into law. Whatever the other house does, this language will be one pole in the negotiations that will lead to a final bill–a bill which will not emerge entirely uninfluenced by it. House Republicans want detention legislation. They’re not going to get nothing. Deal with it.