Monday, January 18, 2010

Please Sir, Take My Liberties But Keep Me SAFE

A new McClatchy-Ipsos poll, finds that a majority of Americans are o.k. giving up their civil liberties so that the government can keep them SAFE from terrorists. According the report in
51% - Agree that it is necessary to give up civil liberties in order to make the country SAFE from terrorism.
74% - Agree that body scans/full body scans at airports are an effective way to stop terrorism.
This is a really, really sad state of affairs on many fronts:
  1. Three terrorist strikes (9/11, shoe bomber and underwear bomber) is all it takes for Americans to give up their freedom and precious civil liberties, which generations of men and women have fought and sacrificed their lives to attain. What makes this trend even more unfortunate is the fact that the civil liberties crisis is not restricted to America alone - this psychosis of fearfulness and lack of courage has thoroughly permeated the global population. In less than a decade, we have set into motion the unwinding of a lifetime's work of the world's greatest freedom fighters from America's founding fathers, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
  2. As we have seen with the Patriot Act, which was imposed after 9/11 and which has yet to be repealed, it is really EASY to give up your liberty, but nearly impossible to get them back.
  3. People forget that the Terrorism is an amorphous moving target. Recall that it all started with the 9/11 Saudi born hijackers, then moved to Afghanistan, then North Korea, Iran and Iraq were declared the axis of evil, then Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, after that it was AfPak (Afghanistan and Pakistan), then the Fort Hood Shooter Maj. Nadal Hassan was labeled a terrorist. Now we have the Detroit bomber following which, Yemen and Nigeria have become the new terrorist hotbeds. Can anyone see an end to this? We most certainly can't. America can give up ALL its civil liberties, but the crisis of terrorism is not going to go away.
  4. At the present time, the problem of Terrorism is foreign in nature, but what happens if it turns into a domestic one? What if the government begins to labels internal acts of civil disobedience as Terrorism? Will giving up our ALL our civil liberties keep us SAFE from government corruption? Power corrupts, and the more power we transfer over the greater the probability that it is misused against us. The line between democracy and dictatorship is really a very thin one. If we keep giving up our rights so easily then we will soon be left with no checks and balances.
  5. What we need to realize is the fact that one can never be 100% SAFE. There is a greater probability of dying in a car crash, from cancer or heart disease than from terrorism. The best way to protect against foreign acts of terror is to beef up border security and intelligence. Instead of spending trillions of dollars fighting illogical wars to "keep terrorists from attacking us here", a fraction of that money spent on border security would have gone a long way in keeping the nation safe. In the entire Detroit bombing discussion, attention seems to be obsessively focused on full body scanners, rather than trying to understand how this man could have slipped through the State Departments hands. Any legal immigrant/visitor to the U.S. will attest to the fact that getting a visa to work, study or even visit the U.S. is an extremely painful and exacting process. Visitors/immigrants are subject to extensive background and police checks in their home countries, financial disclosures and interviews. So the real question folks should be asking is that given the already exacting visa process in place, how did the State Department fail to identify the threat? How is it that this young man got a visa in the first place, and why was more not done to stop him from boarding the plane since his father had already alerted the U.S. embassy? Hilliary Clinton should be doing a better job explaining how such a massive security lapse could even happen and why the State Department failed to revoke his visa. Ordinary citizens being asked to give up their civil liberties, while the State Department and border security apparatus twiddles its thumbs. Today we are being asked to get naked, to get into an airplane, but what happens when terrorists choose another target like a bus, train, shopping mall or subway?

What we face today is a crisis of a lack of "education" - ordinary folks are woefully uneducated about their basic democratic rights and responsibilities. We have become a global population of cowardly people. Courage and fearlessness are attributes in true short supply.

No comments: