At the Expense of Liberty
by Joel Bowman and Bill Bonner
The Daily Reckoning
by Joel Bowman: Guns
our toes over the weekend, Fellow Reckoner. Re-tested the waters.
We wanted to know whether, over the past ten years, the public discourse
regarding 9/11 and the subsequent War on Terror
waged both on foreign soil and, increasingly, against the liberties
of American citizens at home had shifted. A few questions
still waving flags and crying traitor! toward anyone
with the inclination to question directives from the states
military machine? Or has the mood become more reflective, more contemplative
conducive to free and open discussion? After a decade at war, fighting
on multiple fronts at a cost of trillions of dollars and hundreds
of thousands of lives, has war fatigue finally set in?
was supportive of George Bushs call for a war against Saddam
Hussein, responded one reader. Since then I have come
to be a huge believer in Ron Paul and have become disillusioned
with our war mentality. Thank you for your open dialogue.
[I]t appears that I would be in agreement with the DR
writers at this point, even though that would not have been the
case 7-10 years ago. I was hoping for getting the job done,
and get it over with, but that hasnt happened. Enough
is enough now. But what should I have expected from a government
that still has in place wool subsidies from WWII and a telephone
tax from the Spanish-American war? We have now progressed far beyond
ongoing taxes and ongoing subsidies to just plain ongoing wars.
the financial costs of ongoing wars abroad, there is
also the cost in terms of personal liberty to be considered. Our
mates over at The 5-Minute Forecast provided the following,
disturbing observation last week
Act authorized sneak and peek search warrants
where you, the suspect, dont have to be notified of the
search until after the fact. If youre a patriot and thought
those powers would be used to fight terrorism, well you would
the National Security Agency (NSA) has opened a massive $2 billion,
1 million-square-foot complex in the Utah desert
to storing and sorting through emails, web searches and business
transactions. Perhaps yours.
complex is being built near San Antonio. By 2015, according to
journalist James Bamford, the NSA will store data equivalent to
1 septillion printed pages. Thats a 1 followed by 24 zeroes.
between Sept. 11 and today, wrote Bamford last week, the
enemy morphed from a handful of terrorists to the American population
at large, leaving us nowhere to run and no place to hide
At the NSA,
thousands of analysts who once eavesdropped on troop movements
of enemy soldiers in distant countries were now listening in on
the bedroom conversations of innocent Americans in nearby states
system capable of monitoring 10 million people simultaneously
this year will be able to monitor 100 million the next year
at probably half the cost. And every time new communications technology
appears on the market, rest assured that someone at the NSA has
already found a way to monitor it. Its what the NSA does.
Is this how
the victims of 9/11 are to be honored? Are the dead
to be used as tools to incite fear and paranoia forever? Will the
tragedy of their deaths be always used as an excuse to usher in
an Orwellian age of snitching, snooping and round-the-clock
surveillance? When, we wonder, will they finally be allowed to Rest
Bill Bonner, reckoning on the subject
So much 9/11
remembering! On the TV. In the newspapers. Even our good pastor,
saying a few words of welcome at our mothers 90th birthday
party brought it up.
for Mrs. Bonner. We give thanks for her 90 years
for many more. And we pray for the victims of 9/11
for the first responders
let us remember them
wed rather forget
did no serious damage to the nation. As a whole, Americans were
not made significantly poorer or significantly less safe. Yes,
good people died on 9/11. But there have been a lot of good people
murdered over the last 10 years. Every victim had his virtues.
And every murderer had his reasons.
lasting damage to the nation was not 9/11, it was remembering
9/11. Not only did overreaction to 9/11 play a substantial role
in bankrupting the country
it also made Americans fearful
and sheepish. Theyre convinced the towel-heads are trying
to kill them. They believe they can protect themselves by spending
trillions of dollars they dont have on military campaigns
that dont work.
ago, only a few fanatics wanted to do Americans harm. Now, after
throwing so much military weight around, half the world would
happily pull the trigger on an American tourist if he had the
with permission from The Daily
Joel Bowman is managing
editor of The Daily Reckoning.
After completing his degree in media communications and journalism
in his home country of Australia, Joel moved to Baltimore to join
the Agora Financial team. His keen interest in travel and macroeconomics
first took him to New York where he regularly reported from Wall
Street, and he now writes from and lives all over the world.
is the author, with Addison Wiggin, of Financial
Reckoning Day: Surviving the Soft Depression of The 21st
The New Empire of Debt: The Rise Of An Epic Financial Crisis
and the co-author with Lila Rajiva of Mobs,
Messiahs and Markets (Wiley, 2007). His
latest book is Dice
Have No Memory.
Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force
behind The Daily Reckoning.
© 2011 The