With Reservations, Obama Signs Defense Bill

As one of his last official acts of 2011, President Barack Obama signed a massive defense re-authorization bill into law despite what he called “serious reservations”. Obama’s concern was mainly over provisions in the law dealing with the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists.

Additionally, Obama is worried about new sanctions that the bill mandates on Iran”s Central Bank. The sanctions were included to punish Iran for its continued drive to develop a nuclear weapon. Obama is worried that if implemented quickly or harshly the sanctions will cause a spike in world oil prices and cause disastrous hardship on US allies who import oil from Iran.

Obama had originally threatened to veto the bill due to the way it treated American citizens suspected of terrorist involvement. The original bill contained a provision which would have allowed the government to hold US citizens accused of terrorist activity indefinitely, without trial. The current bill got rid of that section.

In addition the original bill took away the right of the government to use civilian courts to try members of Al-Queda or associated groups. The current bill allows the Executive branch the right to use a civilian court if they justify to Congress that National Security is at risk by using a military tribunal.

The bill’s sanctions on Iran are to be implemented over the course of the next six months. Iran’s military has already declared that they would consider the bill’s signing to be an act of war. They threatened to shut down the Straight of Hormmuz, a waterway through which 1/6th of the world’s oil travels through. Since then Iran has backed off the statement, stating that they have have other “unspecified” ways of retaliating.

The bill’s price tag stands at $664 Billion dollars and authorizes the purchase of weapons systems, pay for service members, national security programs and other similar projects.

Do you think Obama should have signed the bill?

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