Do you find it nauseating that US foreign policy encourages people to live in perpetual fear of shadowy, phantom enemies while our government simultaneously participates in spying, torture and assassination?
After 9/11, the advocates of imperialist foreign policy stirred up enough fear and dread in the minds of Americans that our general public submitted to outrageous policies they would have otherwise rebelled against. Fear tactics successfully enabled overreaching domestic surveillance and a complete loss of privacy through the NSA and Orwellian legislation like the Patriot Act.
But the loss of privacy is not the only thing this era of fear ushered in. Our fearful general public shamefully allowed our government to participate in what would otherwise be regarded as cruel, inhumane means of dealing with our enemies. The use of torture to extract information and cooperation from our enemies is now tacitly accepted by a large number of otherwise reasonable Americans. Torture is expressly forbidden in the Constitution, 18 US Code Section 2441, and the Geneva Convention, but torture is allowed under The Patriot Act.
Are you disgusted yet? It gets worse.
Of course, we are told torture is necessary in the war against terrorism. The term “war on terror” is used to trick people into thinking that all citizens must cooperate and sacrifice their liberties to “win” this war. Even though these violations were fully endorsed by the Obama administration, they were first introduced and used by the Bush administration. The war on terror is a bipartisan effort. Now, our country has established indefinite detention without charges or a right to counsel as precedent for anyone in the world, including an American citizen, who is declared to be an “enemy combatant.” The Obama administration argues this is necessary to keep all Americans safe.
Could anything be worse than indefinite detention and torture?
Did you know that for years, our government has used assassination to facilitate “regime change” around the world? Prior to February 3, 2010, no one would admit that a policy on assassination existed, but on February 3, 2010, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dennis Blair, told the House Intelligence Committee that such a policy did, in fact, exist. He remarked, “Being a U.S. citizen will not spare an American from getting assassinated by military or intelligence operatives.” Assassination policy has been expanded from its humble origins in regime change. According to Dennis Blair, the only justification our government needs to assassinate someone is that a person be declared a “threat” by a single government official. No criminal charges or plans to commit a crime are needed.
How can we tolerate this?
Our government repeatedly argues that post–9/11 danger demands different, stronger laws in order to keep us all safe. Everyone is subjected to surveillance but our government reassures us that “only a few” Americans are targeted for torture and assassination. Remember, tyranny always begins with the oppression of unpopular minorities. The individuals targeted for torture and assassination by our government are “suspects,” not convicted criminals. Most of these suspects have never been officially charged with a crime. It is crucial that even the admittedly guilty have their day in court in order to preserve all American citizens’ rights to a trial by jury. Every day, our rights are further eroded by the “war on terror” while our government exacts terror upon its own people. Congress and the courts are a disgrace if they do nothing to stop the targeting of American citizens for spying, torture, assassination because of these evil “laws.”