Our homeland has been attacked. For the first time since 1865 we've had American casualties of war on American soil. Who can deny this is an act of war, or that punishment of the guilty is essential? However, I maintain that there are two sets of dementia at work here in all the post-terrorism patter: the confused warmongering due to denial of causation, and demands for instant military escalation; and the general complacency toward the eradication of liberty.
The emotionally charged masses are surrendering control. They are giving in to crude, tribal instincts and resorting to bloodthirsty warmongering in the name of some perverted notion of justice. And this justice is, one supposes, all-out, total war with no particular enemy, no strategic targets, and no defined ends. As the Dewey pragmatists say, "The ends justify the means." And we all know the socialist, pro-State inclination of the Dewey pragmatism crowd.
First, I'll clarify myself on the retribution issue. Due to the incessant accusations of anti-Americanism directed toward the isolationists and their appropriate views, I must repeatedly make the distinction between proper retribution and the neocon call for total war. Inflicting proper retribution upon the bastard perpetrators of attacks upon this American soil is one thing, but it has nothing in common with the neocon-Buckley-Derbyshire warmongering that whoops up the masses in favor of Leviathan's expansion of powers.
After all, Englishman John Derbyshire has no problem with telling young American men to go die for Mother Empire; Buckley is taking a slight deviation from the recent attack and asking for more war against Iraq; and NRO's Stanley Kurtz took less than twenty-four hours post-attack to cry out for a Lincolnian conscription agenda.
As to proper retribution, we do not yet know what that is until we know who and where our enemy is. And our mission cannot be, in any sense, the annihilation of all Arab peoples.
In the midst of this Pro-Israel, militaristic dementia, any sensibility toward the use of arms, targets, and military might comes to mean "pacifist". This is merely an apologia for promoting U.S. "interests" abroad. These interests not only include support for the Israel State, but quintessential U.S. support for the Arab nations and terrorism in general. American foreign policy, after all, has always propped up the dictatorships and tyranny of Muslim States as well as the interests of Israel. Conflicting, yes. Unusual, of course not.
The intentions of all past foreign policy waffling on the part of the U.S. is never very clear, other than realizing that a Rogue State run amok practices no consistency and knows no moral boundaries. Conspicuously, "vital interests" include propping up the Jewish State while arming and training the Arabs at the same time, and starving and killing innocent Iraqi citizens. Kicking enough beehives and anthills soon finds one stirring up those belligerent nests, indeed. U.S. interventionist foreign policy is clearly the main reason why the U.S. is targeted by terrorists; it can only be refuted through sheer delirium and apologia for pro-Israel policies.
So go ahead and dare to tell me one more time that McDonald's golden arches, Brittany Spears crop tops, and Mustang GT convertibles are why people of other cultures hate our guts. Because those that resort to that folly have lost the ability to reason.
The political war rhetoric is out of the gates and running. So how do the politicians of war and the kept media scare the American populace into supporting total war? Words like chemical weapons and biological weapons tend to work on the psyche. Also, notice the old-hat spouting on about how "they have nukes", "they have access to nukes", or they "will have nukes soon". This strategy means that if someone — anyone — said this, then it must be true.
An all-out assault on the Arab world necessitates a massive expansion of the State, and consequently, a mass scaling-back of liberty in our great homeland. Thus, we should be interested in discussing the after-effects that all of this will have on our liberties. This is a most significant issue, and judicious libertarians see it as being of major importance. But there are those who claim that the government only institutes "necessary" security measures, and that we should all be good little sheeple and follow the rash of Executive Orders and liberty-violating legislation soon to come. These are the people who would sell the freedom of millions of others for a perceived creature comfort or two for themselves.
As expected, security measures everywhere have shut down movement and limited the ability to get to/from work, let alone travel. Backup to get through the Detroit-Canada tunnel/bridge has been ten hours or more, and numerous cars are being trashed and searched at will. The search-and-seizure thing is, of course, a brutal invasion of liberties, and with the "fight against terrorism", it can only get worse. The airports are said to be searching at will at various established checkpoints. Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix is conducting searches of cars as they enter the parking garage. Curbside check-in has been eliminated at airports, and of course, the Complacent Peoples do not complain about a tactic like this that is not only radically inconvenient, but which does not, in any sense, add to security.
The Senate just approved the Combating Terrorism Act of 2001, and this allows — among other atrocities — any U.S. attorney or state attorney general to order the installation of the FBI's Carnivore surveillance system. So the formerly stubborn restrictions on the use of Carnivore have been chucked out the window. Another Senator, not reaping enough power from this, called for restrictions on privacy-protecting encryption products.
Our politicians have shoved down our throats a war resolution that allows the government to use "all necessary and appropriate force" they deem fit, and this becomes a blank check for random war, both abroad, and against its own citizens.
They are off to the races, folks, so slap yourself around a little, wake up, and get your head in the game.
The NFL games were cancelled for Sunday, and I offer that this may have been the correct decision. However, my sister says to me, in response to that, what about the return to normalcy that they keep promising? My answer, in short, is that the State needs to arouse the emotions of the masses in preparation for support for long-term war (and not just revenge on the terrorists) and spending. After all, congressmen are already solidifying the fact that they need big budget raises to "defend us". They assure the average American Joe that they can protect him, however, that requires more military, more intelligence, more covert operations overseas, less privacy, and hence, more money from our pockets.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is like a teenager with Dad's car keys and a case of booze in his hands on a Friday night, as he and other bureaucrats reap the rewards of money, spending, photo-ops, and expert status. Mr. Rumsfeld, after all, has been particularly fond of hinting at nuclear attack. Jack Kemp assures his audiences that total war is necessary and deliverable. The words "unconventional means" (read, nuclear bombings) are being bandied about by several government talking heads.
The public has demanded "security". Congressmen on the Intelligence Committee have said "we need more intelligence, and that means we need more money". The Pentagon has demanded this money, with smiling faces, of course. Others are telling us that we need to allow them to raise taxes, etc., to make our country "free again"; the sad thing is this tactic seems to work on a large percentage of the dingbat electorate.
This is how the corrupt powergrabbers do it: they take away our "normalcy", totally disrupting our lives as much as they can, make everything chaos, and make us deeply crave a return to that "normalcy" to the point where the public will capitulate to near anything in order to have their sane, quiet little lives back. It is working, for people are clamoring for the smashing of the Rule of Law in the name of expediency. Lincoln realized this, as did Wilson, followed by FDR and a host of modern presidents that helped to trash a great Republic.
The interesting item is, you have got all these pro-gunners on the Right who do not even realize that these new State powers they beg for in the name of "security & justice" will be the same powers that will come and get their guns. And if they do not get our guns, our rights in the gun realm will be severely curtailed. Do the warmongering, State-loving, pro-gunners realize this?
I wonder — how many will draw the lesson that an interventionist foreign policy is not value-free, and has consequences? Is this really something that people can't understand? Even after the attack on our soil? Unfortunately, the ignorant masses out there are easily baited into the rah-rah-worship-the-grand-old-union-flag bit, and see intervention not as the cause, but as a further necessity of its outcome.
For instance, a stoic and most sensible young man posted a thoughtful analysis of State growth and its consequences on FreeRepublic.com, and the thread was immediately peppered with photos of jets, bombs, military equipment, etc. And this is a "rational" train of thought? One clearly realizes that a CNN-armchair general/War is Fun Delirium has taken over, and it is terrifying. Let us hope this sort of mentality is in the minority.
I fear that as long as the warmongers have the populace convinced that foreign policy intervention plays no role in attacks on our people, it will be difficult to arouse the masses to rise up against the insurgency here at home. Accordingly, our government will continue to plunder us at will.
September 18, 2001
Karen De Coster, CPA, [send her mail] is a freelance writer and graduate student in economics, and works as a business consultant in the Midwest.
Copyright © 2001 Karen De Coster