Before heading home this Memorial Day weekend to honor those Americans who fought and died for the principle of liberty, Congress did a number on the basic rights that define that liberty: Guantanamo remains open, Americans are still subject to indefinite detention, our endless wars abroad still have an open-ended legal basis, the NSA will keep spying on us, and the lawyer who said U.S. citizens are legitimate drone targets was just confirmed to a lifetime federal judgeship.

The most significant congressional move: the annual defense budget authorization bill that passed the House on Thursday. Or as House Armed Services Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon modestly called it, the Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act.

The defense bill sets the parameters for the military’s spending in the next fiscal year, and also lays out policies on how that money will be spent. President Barack Obama has been pleading with Congress for years for more maneuvering room to close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. The House again shot him down.

More broadly, the war on terror still has no end in sight, thanks to the House’s vote against an amendment that would have repealed the post-9/11 law authorizing the use of […]

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