The Constitution has always been a pain in the ass. It’s hard to know what our founding fathers were thinking when they started hand out rights as if they were candy. If the goddamn document had never been written there never would have been a 9/11 because we would have snuffed the bastards before they even planned it.
This certainly seems to be the premise behind the multiple policies designed to keep us safe from terrorists by seeing how many terrorists we can create by blowing up their families.
If nothing else, many of these policies reflect the corporate state’s belief that efficiency is more important than civil liberty. Trials are expensive and involve too much effort on the part of the government to prove that in accused is guilty as charged. Prosecutors actually have to dig up evidence and then contest with a troublesome defense attorney to win a conviction. How much nicer it would be to do away with the whole process.
And the Obama administration is aiding this effort by continuing the Bush policy of targeting American citizens for assassination if the administration deems them “terrorists.”
Glen Greenwald quotes Dahlia Lithwick who calls the policy part of the administration’s “own special brand of terrorism-derangement syndrome.” Pogo Possum summed it up nicely when he said, “We have met the enemy, and it is us.” (He made the comment back in the 1950s when Albert the Alligator was being investigated for speaking English instead of Americanize.)
It’s for certain we are in more danger from our government than from any terrorists who might be floating around.
“Terrorist” is such a delicious label that makes the corporate state’s job so much easier. It’s a much more sophisticated label than “Communist.” “Communist” was too damn abstract to have any sort of real punch. It had to be propped up with an array of sub-labels such as, “pinko,” “fellow traveler,” “subversive,” the esoteric “comsymp,” and the ever popular “commie.”
Terrorist requires no such help. Its legs are strong enough to stand on its own and justify all sorts of derangement. Of course it helps that “terrorist” immediately brings to mind brown skin and a heathen religion. This gives the label a little extra oomph.
There is a toxic irony to all this. The only difference between the ’93 bombing of the World Trade Center and 9/11 is that 9/11 succeeded in bringing down the towers where the ’93 bombing failed to do so, even though that was its intent. However, all the perpetrators of the ’93 bombing were apprehended, tried in a court of law with all of its pesky constitutional safeguards in place and convicted. All of this was accomplished without a Patriot Act, military commissions, rendition, torture or wars of aggression. Meanwhile Obama bin Laden continues to make tapes.
And now the president wants to execute American citizens without the benefit of a trial by their peers.
Greenwald pointedly asks, “[I]f the Fifth amendment’s explicit guarantee—that one shall not be deprived of life without due process—does not prohibit the U.S. government from assassinating your without any process, what exactly does it prohibit?
I guess this is the change we can believe in.