Friday, December 16, 2005


How will this keep us safe?

I heard on the radio that the President has authorized the NSA to spy domestically on citizens/resident aliens, with the idea that we need to do this to "keep us safe from terrorism".

Aside from the obvious, Franklinesque criticism (it was Franklin, wasn't it?) of "he that would give up liberty for security deserves neither", will these sorts of things really help us?

After all, I highly doubt that the NSA is going to be able to evesdrop at just the right moment and thus foil a terrorist plan. Intelligence gathering is or at least ought to be in part about long term efforts to foil terrorists. But in as much as terrorists are criminals (is GW Bush, like Ronnie "one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter" Reagan, willing to grant terrorists some sort of conceptual legitimacy by treating them as anything other than mere criminals? -- why didn't Dems make this a political issue as soon as GW Bush and CO. started ripping on Dems. for treating terrorism as a law enforcement concern? Why wasn't their response: "we think terrorists are criminals. do you think terrorists are anything other than criminals?"?), eventually the goal is to arrest them, try them, etc. Last I looked the Constitution still applied in this country -- and information obtained in wire-taps, etc., that were not okayed by courts according to our Constitution would not be admissable in a Court of Law: moreover, any leads gained from such recordings, short of those covered by "inevitable discovery" (which, don't get me wrong, is a legal concept of which I think highly), would be considered "contaminated" and also might be thrown out of Court. Does GW Bush and CO. really want to undermine the prosecution of terrorists in order to gain information that has a dubious use in protecting us over the short term? Why are GW Bush and his advisors unconcerned with this sort of problem? Perhaps they are unconcerned because they fully plan on subverting our Constitutional rights anyway in which case this problem won't arise? But in which case we should all be very frightened ...

Of course, there may be something else at work here -- the right wing disdain for judgment and the legal process. A certain strand of reactionary thought wouldn't care if terrorists don't get prosecuted because they view the legal system as an exercize in futility anyway. Perhaps this is the mindset of GW Bush and CO? They don't really care about putting criminals behind bars -- and pretty much said as much in their denigrating the Democrats for wanting to treat terrorism as a law enforcement issue (why the Democrats didn't force people to think about what the Republicans were really saying, rather than letting this dangerous anti-law enforcement meme slip into people's mindset, I will never understand) -- only about the raw exercize of power as a presumed deterent to those who would harm us?

From a Jewish point of view, as one might imagine, this disdain for legalism, is something quite dangerous. After all, Pirke Avos warns us that, at least in the Holy Land, the failure to adjucate capital crimes (note the passage does not refer to the failure to punish them per se) will result in an calamity (I forget off-hand which one is specified). Of course, Israel's targetted assasinations (an assassinated person cannot be tried in a court of law -- so by killing someone extra-judicially, they are preventing a capital crime from being adjucated and thus placing the state of Israel at risk for calamity) violate this policy -- so I guess even too many of us Jews have forgotten our own teachings. So how can we be a light unto the other nations in this regard.

But if there is one thing this uncertain world needs -- it is law and order! So why is the "Leader of the Free World" doing everything he can to undermine our own system of laws and to create a situation where we either have to give up the very liberties for which we claim to fight or allow terrorists to escape prosecution?

Whose side is the right wing, whose rhetoric sounds so much like the rhetoric of the religious right elsewhere including in the Islamic world, really on? Whose side is the President really on?

This is very interesting site... blackjack Lose weight healthily
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?