‘War on Terror’ knocks on American homeland’s door

(By Deutsche Welle) Osama bin Laden is dead, but Washington’s War on Terrorism continues to rage in the hearts and minds of many Americans. New counterterrorism provisions raise the specter of mandatory military detention in the US.

Ten years into America’s self-declared War on Terrorism, the US government is still struggling to clearly delineate the legal and geographic boundaries of its fight against a globalized and ruthless non-state adversary. In the process, it has raised concerns among rights groups that Washington has fallen into a self-defeating thought paradigm, which could lead to the expansion of military law in the very homeland whose democratic institutions the federal government has sworn to defend.

In the latest round of political wrangling over the dimensions of America’s war, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) just before the New Year, a law that appropriates $662 billion (519 billion euros) in defense spending.

But it was the NDAA’s counterterrorism provisions regarding the military detention of suspected al Qaeda members that sparked a fury of debate in the US, over whether the conflict abroad must now be fought with the military at home.

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