One Veteran's Voice

16 May 2006

...Against all enemies, foreign and domestic

As someone who once swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, I find it troubling that President Bush seems to have such disdain for the rule of law that same document details. I believe he's even expressed it on occasion ("It's just a goddamn piece of paper"). The fourth amendment is not a quaint ideological concept made irrelevant by 9/11-- it is all that stands between the descent of a government of laws into a totalitarian state that may search and seize the "persons, houses, papers, and effects" of its citizenry without probable cause or consent.

There's little doubt in my mind that the government's "Terrorist Surveillance Program" extends beyond anything that's been confirmed thus far by the NY Times or USA Today. Only time will tell, but I would be surprised if the NSA's not keeping databases on email activity and/or sifting through email content to search for key phrases. Who knows if they're wise to the text-messaging trend yet? Nobody knows much, but each new revelation seems to broaden the scope of the domestic surveillance.

The Bush loyalists (I hesitate to use the term conservative, because no self-respecting conservative would tolerate the massive, Orwellian intrusion into the private lives of citizens that is now underway) argue that the changing nature of threats and technology demand domestic surveillance programs such as the NSA phone database. The debate they wish to provoke-- freedom versus security, is an old one, already resolved in America's legal system by the fourth amendment, and it seems besides the point. Lawmakers can certainly debate and redefine the legalities and procedures for electronic searches, but the President does not have the authority to flaunt FISA laws and the Fourth Amendment, regardless of whether he felt those concepts were made obsolete or ambiguous by new technology. By asserting that the executive does have this privilege, even when it involves engaging in illegal activity, the Bush loyalists eventually drift to a new form of Nixon's famous justification, "It's not illegal when the President does it." Except now there is the added corollary, "In a time of war."

Once again, the War on Terror is invoked by Bush, Rove, and Co. to justify domestic policy which flies in the face of the democratic concepts they claim to be fighting for in Iraq and Afghanistan. Democracy is the banner I crusaded under, as my own country's government descended into theocracy. The logic invoked to justify the incompetent prosecution of the war is circular, and its tone has degenerated into classic fearmongering. The executive branch of our government now advocates waging preemptive war against threats of its choosing, engages in illegal domestic spying without oversight (other than what gets leaked to the press), and most Republican legislators still refuse to hold the president accountable, for political reasons, even as they distance themselves from him, for political reasons. When the Justice Department attempted to investigate the NSA, in order to determine if the agency is operating within the law, they were refused, the reason given-- that the Justice Department's security clearance wasn't high enough. Whose is?

The Democratic leadership, some of whom have already downplayed or ruled out impeachment in an attempt to appease wishy-washy moderates, would do well to reread the Constitution a few more times, specifically the fourth amendment. Maybe I'm a throwback to 1791, but I'm not willing to give up freedom for security, at least not without probable cause. It is shameful that some Americans, cowed by the fearmongering of their elected officials, apparently are. When these complacent, fear-numbed consumers become a majority, and perhaps they already have, the Orwellian metaphor will be complete, and defenders of the Constitution should beware. Big Brother really is watching you, and the government can get away with anything.

4 Other Voices:

Sara said...

The Army has unclassified technology that is capable to picking up text messages, among other more alarming things. If the *Army* has something AND it's been declassified, ya know it's been around awhile. We don't get the new, exciting technology first. What things does the NSA have that we don't know about?

A lot of people from my MOS end up working for the NSA after they ETS. Not this girl. I think they're pure fucking evil.

5/17/2006 02:48:51 PM  
Ole Blue The Heretic said...

When at NSA we were always about five to ten years ahead on the technology curve, which makes me wonder about the things we do not know about, and how mush data are they gathering with the technology.

5/18/2006 11:45:48 AM  
Elmo said...

It's Hard to be a Republican

5/19/2006 12:00:21 AM  
ThePoetryMan said... You inspired this... And you've been credited, my friend... Peace.

5/19/2006 10:08:11 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home