Let's take George W. Bush at his word.
Last week, Bush said
of the National Security Agency's telephone data mining program: "Our
efforts are focused on links to al-Qaeda and their known affiliates." But
Today and other
news sources had just revealed that the NSA is looking through the phone
call logs of as many as 200 million Americans. If he's narrowed his search for
al-Qaeda terrorists down to 200 million Americans, then it's time to declare
the "war on terror" a loss. We simply can't fight that many terrorist
enemies in our midst and win. Bush has met the enemy, as Pogo
might have said, and it is all of us.
At this point I would like to declare myself an enemy of the state, but the
Bush administration has already saved me – and pretty much everyone else in
the country – the trouble.
We're all "al-Qaeda and their known affiliates" now, according to
Even the loyalty of administration's own Justice Department is suspect. Justice
Department lawyers investigating the NSA were denied access to information
on the grounds that they didn't have the necessary security clearances.
Who would have thought that our government could be run by a cabal more paranoid
than Col. Flagg?
A Reply to the Brainwashed
But many Americans, according
to poll numbers, are unconvinced that Bush's program to spy on everyone
is a bad thing."Why," they always ask, "do I care if the government
has a record of my phone call to my mother? And if you are not doing anything
wrong, what's the big deal to you? It doesn't even take any of your time."
The brainwashed need to be asked if they are dumb enough to believe they are
any safer now that massive government resources are being used to comb through
phone calls to their mothers. Of course, I don't want the government snooping
through my phone bill for the same damned reason I don't want them walking into
my house when I'm out. It's my house, and my phone bill. If government spies
were to walk into your home while you were out and snoop around, I stress, they
wouldn't take any of your time either. The principle is the same. Of course,
we could probably find many Bush groupies would have no problem with even house
searches – so long as they are "well-intentioned" – by their so-called
"commander in chief." Forget about the Fourth
Amendment, they advise.
I would think that my fellow Christian conservatives would shudder to surrender
such a power to the president, if for no other reason than because Hillary Clinton
could therefore one day wield such power. Not so. I've long known that much
of the so-called "Religious Right" is so enamored with Bush to that
they believe he is more infallible than the Pope in proclaiming Catholic doctrine
when "the decider" uses the federal security apparatus.
What I didn't realize until recently is that they also suffer from the childlike
delusion that Republicans will always run the White House.
Democrats are probably going to have to lead this fight. And I don't mean the
way John Kerry "led" in 2004 on Iraq – by following the polls and
saying we didn't have enough troops in Iraq. Polls
indicate that Americans currently support the wiretapping and snooping by a
two-to-one margin. But that's also roughly
the margin by which Americans supported the war in Iraq three years ago.
Democrats, liberals, independents, and principled conservatives – all members
of this rebel
alliance – need to get ahead of the polls and change public opinion.
It's time for Americans to stand up for the Constitution and point out that
Bush has done just about nothing to protect Americans from al-Qaeda terrorism
while doing just about everything to attack our freedom. "Americans are
asking, why do they hate us," Bush
said after Sept. 11, concluding that "They hate our freedoms."
Bush now seems dead set upon taking away their reason to hate us.
He hasn't ordered the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to inspect
cargo at our ports at any greater pace, nor has he secured our national borders
(despite Monday's "Operation Poll Saver" speech on immigration to
the nation) to screen immigrants for potential terrorists, and he has overturned
a Middle Eastern government (Iraq) that was an enemy of al-Qaeda.
Experienced interrogators know that testimony extracted under torture is notoriously
unreliable, so naturally the Bush administration pioneered official torture
techniques such as "waterboarding"
(as well as subcontracting the torture through "extraordinary
And it's long been recognized that the best investigative work is done by pursuing
the most probable leads (thus the Fourth
Amendment's clause requiring "probable cause"). Rather than focusing
upon the few terrorists across the world, the Bush administration has instead
chosen to spy on all Americans by combing through their phone bills, scanning
their e-mail, and tapping their phones.
Bush has declared the vast majority of the American people "al-Qaeda and
their known affiliates."
Fellow "known al-Qaeda affiliate," it's time to put a stop to this.
Only pressure on Congress can end the federal surveillance state. You are already
an enemy of the state, so you have nothing to lose.
Write or call your representative