All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

Lucas dismisses Smith-Amash amendment

File photo
U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Cheyenne, Okla.)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Concerned about the House of Representatives obsession with ignoring the will of the people and embracing the health of the warfare/welfare state, we put out a call to the members of the Oklahoma congressional delegation Monday seeking an explanation as to why they eschewed supporting the Smith-Amash amendment.

As you may or may not know, 238 members of Congress rejected a Constitution-friendly, bipartisan amendment put forth by U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) that would have repealed the “indefinite detention” portion of the tyrannical National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012. Another 182 voted for the Smith-Amash amendment. Here is the final vote results for the roll call on the Smith-Amash amendment.

This would allow for suspected “terrorists” to get civilian trials, something that concerns more hawkish legislators. That would includes U.S. Reps. Tom Cole (R-Moore); Dan Boren (D-Muskogee); James Lankford (R-Oklahoma City), John Sullivan (R-Tulsa); and Frank Lucas (R-Cheyenne, Okla.).

We only heard from one of their offices in response to our request for comment - that of U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas from out in western Oklahoma.

Lucas’s spokesman, Laramie Adams, explained that the congressman was against supporting the Smith-Amash amendment because it “would have granted constitutional protections to non-U.S. citizens.”

But people could get caught up in situations where they were not helping terrorists. It's all very vague and very disconcerting to those of us who embrace constitutional liberties and freedoms.

Adams said Lucas instead voted for a second amendment, one proposed by U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), simply called the “Gohmert Amendment” which would make sure that the NDAA would not “deny the writ of habeus corpus or deny any Constitutional rights for persons detained in the United States under the AUMF who are entitled to such rights.” But there are serious concerns about that amendment and that it is too vaguely worded and doesn't take civil liberties thoroughly into account.

As Rep. Amash, a Tea Partier, said during debate: "The first part of the (Gohmert) amendment does nothing. In other words, if you have constitutional rights, then you have constitutional rights." 

Meanwhile, we should mention that Frank Lucas is a pretty hawkish guy. A few weeks ago Lucas, chairman of he House Agriculture Committee, heartily defended continued defense spending and cutting $33 billion from the bloated food stamps program. But what of the bloated Pentagon budget and all the waste it creates? Lucas did not address that. As it stands, the House voted for a $642 billion bill that sets defense policy for the Pentagon. 

Adams insisted that Lucas supports due process and the rights of American citizens. Yet, he still was not comfortable with Smith-Amash and how it could lead to foreign suspects gaining rights only granted to American citizens. But still, these are gray areas and Congress is not making things any clearer with the same old rhetoric about "the terrible day ... when we get hit again."

The Washington Times wrote that section 1021 of the NDAA "puts the burden of proof on the government to justify a person's detention, for United States citizens merely accused of 'substantially supporting' forces 'associated' with al-Qaeda or the Taliban that are 'engaged in hostilities' against the U.S. or its 'coalition partners.' Thankfully, a federal judge has since issued a preliminary injunction to prevent the Obama administration from exercising the NDAA's indefinite detention authority. 

The scary thing is: What exactly qualifies as "suspicious activity"? Buying supplies to make microbrews? Perhaps a child's chemistry set is "suspicious." And the Oklahoma congressional delegation supports this. Ironically, the headlines this weekend screamed about "terrorists" that allegedly were going to bomb some areas in Chicago during he NATO summit. Nine activists were "disappeared" for a while, echoing the Pinochet era in Chile or Argentina's "Dirty War" (1976-1983). As Truthout noted: "Chicago seems like a banana republic in its casual disregard for basic rights: the detainees were held incommunicado for a night, shackled hand and feet, and denied access to counsel." Here's more on those arrests in Chicago.

With the increased militarization of police, drones everywhere and a sheer lack of understanding about the Constitution, America seems to be rapidly sliding into the realm of dictatorship, no thanks to warmongering members of Congress, concerned about getting re-elected.

As The New American reports, Congress demonstrated a "shameful display of disregard for the Constitution and for liberty ... (perpetuating) the president's powers to indefinitely detain Americans." 

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the current presidential candidate and defender of the Constitution spoke out in support of Smith-Amash, saying, "I do not believe a republic can exist if you permit the military to arrest American citizens and put them in secret prisons and be denied a trial."

Copyright 2012 Red Dirt Report

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from John Brown University in... read more

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd

Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK