[Editor’s note: the video below is choppy in some places; we are working on getting a higher-quality version.]
In a radio segment Monday morning, Glenn Beck and Congressman Allen West had a lively discussion– and voiced some strong points of disagreement– on the current language of the National Defense Authorization Act, also referred to as the “Indefinite Detention Bill.”
Glenn kicked off the discussion by putting all cards on the table — namely that he holds Congressman West in high regard both personally and professionally, but has a point of real disagreement with him on this policy issue. And he didn’t mince words when discussing his concerns.
Glenn is not alone. Senator Mike Lee voted against it, and Senator Rand Paul has been the most vocal critic of the bill under the interpretation that it could indefinitely imprison a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil without trial.
Rep. West tried to set some context for the discussion by saying that certain language could be ironed out in conferencing the House and Senate Bill before it’s presented to the President. But he did not disagree with the fundamental concerns of those who oppose the NDAA in its current form.
If the NDAA passes as written, U.S. Citizens suspected of terrorism and caught on U.S. soil could forfeit their rights to due process and the presumption of innocence underlying the Constitution.
In fact, the bill is so controversial that Obama and his entire senior national security team strongly oppose it on the grounds that it would limit their flexibility.
But Congressman West still believes the NDAA, in some form, is necessary to protect the American people from the continuing threat of Islamic terrorism, and that includes military tribunals for U.S. citizens.
This it where Glenn weighed in with markedly different point of view. While the discussion was among two people with obvious and deep respect for each other, the policy disagreement was spirited.
Rep. West offered that the “21st century battlefield is completely different” than anything the U.S. has dealt with before, and that there is a profound inability on the part of the U.S. government to define the terrorist threat.
West specifically mentioned the Fort Hood terrorist attack committed by Major Nidal Hasan, and now-deceased American-born terrorists Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan who engaged in war against the United States.
While Glenn agreed that the battlefield is different now and needs to be clearly defined, he parted ways with West on the issue of Constitutional protections for U.S. citizens captured on U.S. soil in all cases.
Simply put, Glenn felt that U.S. citizens caught in the Homeland get a trial, no matter how heinous the terrorist act. Rep. West believes U.S. citizens can head straight to GITMO to face a military tribunal, no trial needed. The Congressman tempered his comments by saying he was focused on the “strategic vision instead of tactical vision.”
On the issue of “suspected” terrorist ending up in detention, Glenn hit hard that this point would have been unacceptable to the Founding Fathers. “We are crossing all boundaries that our founders warned us on,” Glenn said, and West seemed to agree, but could only offer that he hoped Congress would “Conference out the language suspected” before Congress sent the law up for Obama’s signature.
West stated that he was “not talking about going after Branch Davidians” and stated “I’m not saying we should have military start patrolling our streets and shooting people,” but Glenn countered that that’s where the NDAA could lead us.
Glenn heard the Congressman out, and before the segment ended, summarized his position on the NDAA ‘Indefinite Detention Bill’ as “I Can’t go down the road with you on this one.”
“Government is fire, you must treat it like fire,” Glenn said, “if fire controls you, you are in trouble.”