We’re Still Paying the Price 10 Years Later

Recently by Bob Bauman: Government Takes Away Gold and Our Rights

      What to say, on this tenth anniversary, about the horrible events that occurred on that beautiful, sunny autumn morning of September 11, 2001 – “9/11? as it is now universally known?

Listen to Edmund Burke, speaking in 1715: “No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.”

Our second President, John Adams, warned: “Fear is the foundation of governments.”

Yes, of course – most rational human beings want to feel safe and be secure. But with bipartisan agreement among the politicians, our fears have been exploited, dumping hundreds of billions of tax dollars into the bureaucratic maw under the banner of “homeland security.”

What has 9/11 wrought?

Over the past decade a new and alarming system of government mass surveillance has been erected, and we know very little about it.

The massive Department of Homeland Security (DHS), an unnecessary conglomeration of 22 agencies and nearly 200,000 employees, together with an out of control FBI and CIA, engage in massive surveillance of all of us, not just suspected terrorists or criminals.

Our phone calls, our emails and website visits, our financial records, our travel itineraries, and our digital images captured on powerful surveillance cameras are adding to the mountains of data being mined for suspicious patterns and associations.

Osama Bin Laden Is Dead… But in Too Many Ways He Died Victorious

When Osama bin Laden caused those airplanes to kill civilians 10 years ago, he took a lot more from the United States of America than the lives of more than 3,000 of our fellow citizens and residents.

Within a matter of days, if not hours, eager American politicians adopted fear as their continuing motif, justifying the sacrifice of our constitutional rights and liberties as the price of alleged safety.

The centerpiece of their opportunistic politics is the grotesquely named PATRIOT Act that has destroyed personal and financial privacy in America, rendering meaningless much of the hard won Bill of Rights we had honored for the last 220 years.

Yet most Americans have been all too willing to purchase that illusive security without regard for its cost in terms of lost personal freedom and liberties.

In an interview on the National Geographic Channel last week, George W. Bush says his most painful memory of that day was seeing the horror of people falling or jumping to their deaths from the Twin Towers and knowing there was nothing he could do to help them.

It would be useless for an interviewer to ask Mr. Bush what he thinks about what he and his successor in the White House, the constitutional law professor, Barack Obama, have done to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In pursuit of both terrorists and common criminals, Obama has perpetuated so many of the Bush administration’s wrongful policies that their policies are indistinguishable in the destruction of civil liberties.

The inimitable Oscar Wilde wrote:

“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.”

As we observe the 10th anniversary of 9/11 this Sunday, the people of the United States have every reason to question whether their “leaders” really have learned anything from those thousands of needless deaths and the events of ensuing years.

Yet our leaders have sacrificed the very principles that they claimed to be defending.

I was one of the millions of horrified Americans watching television when United Airlines flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:02:59 a.m., on 9/11/2001.

After my sensations of horror, disbelief, anger, sorrow for the victims, my friend and former House colleague, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, spoke for me in expressing my troubled thoughts:

“Times of tragedy and war naturally bring out strong emotions… Sometimes people are only too anxious to sacrifice their constitutional liberties during a crisis, hoping to gain some measure of security. Yet nothing would please terrorists more than if we willingly gave up our cherished liberties because of their actions.”

Sad to say, Ron Paul’s prediction has come to pass in too many ways. A short six weeks after the 9/11 attacks, a panicked U.S. Congress adopted the so-called “USA PATRIOT Act.”

In my view, that “law” is the single most egregious example of an unconstitutional law ever enacted by Congress. I have spent 10 years chronicling the offenses that have been committed by U.S. government agents in its name.

So Who Is Winning – Freedom or Terrorism?

This raises the question… just how far are Americans willing to go in surrendering their liberty and their privacy? How much are we willing to pay for this promised, illusory defense? Are we willing to become Fortress America with Big Brother watching and listening to all that we say and do?

Americans had better put aside politically inspired fears, and start asking and answering that question – before we enjoy neither safety nor liberty.

More than one million Americans have died in all our wars. To observe that so many have sacrificed down through the centuries only accentuates the meaning and importance of the greater cause for which they died.

They died before their time, their promise unrealized, in the service of the country.

Ten years removed from 9/11, while thinking of the thousands of souls who died, we should consider President Abraham Lincoln’s advice in closing his Gettysburg Address: “… that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

9/11 truly was, and continues to be, America’s moment of truth. Whether we pass or fail this crucial test is yet to be determined.

Failure is what we should truly fear.

This 10th anniversary of 9/11 is a good time to ask questions and demand answers. We need concrete proof that those in power, and those who aspire to power, realize what America has lost and whether they are willing to restore our constitutional rights and liberties.

Reprinted with permission from The Sovereign Investor.

Robert E. Bauman is a former Member of the United States House of Representatives from Maryland, (1973–1981). He is also a former federal official and state legislator; Member, Washington, DC Bar; Graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center (1964) and the School of Foreign Service (1959), Washington, DC. Robert currently serves as legal counsel for the Sovereign Society.