By Doug Newman
November 9, 2006
Posted at Liberty
Libertarian Enterprise, Trumpet America,
the Powers that Be,
Rational Review, The Price of Liberty and Old Right Pundits.
Lies are powerful things. Hitler knew that if you just tell lies often enough -- no matter how outrageous they might be -- people will believe them. Just keep lying and lying and lying.
For the 14,425th time, George W. Bush is not Adolph Hitler. However, he and his spin doctors also know the power of lies. Ever since September 11, 2001, they have told the American people countless times that We Are At War With Terrorists Who Seek to Take Away Our Freedom And Undermine Our Very Way Of Life.
Millions of Americans believe that Osama bin Laden wants to take over the world, when he hasn’t even taken over Afghanistan. Millions of Americans still support a war in Iraq, a nation which even GWB admits had nothing to do with 9/11. Millions of Americans still believe that Osama and Saddam posed a clear and present threat to what was left of America’s freedom. Millions of Americans support a domestic police state to thwart these threats.
Just scare people enough and -- if they lack any moral convictions -- they will believe anything.
GWB wants us to believe that you are with him or you are with "the terrorists". The Democrats' triumphs in Tuesday's election have already been called a "win" for "the terrorists." As someone said to me last weekend, "If it weren't for Bush, we'd all be speaking Arabic!"
On that horrible afternoon of September 11, I received an e-mail from an old friend which has turned out to be downright prophetic.
The subject line read: “They Want You to Panic...”
The body of the e-mail read, in part, as follows:
“I already have had enough conversations with people across the country (via phone) to know that the sheeple are thinking everyone is a target and are losing any remaining common sense because of other people who have become detached from reality by this horrific act.
“Please: The nation is on these bastards' menu -- not you, personally.
“I know this is going to sound horrifically insensitive, but the fact that what amounted to -- militarily speaking -- a strategic pinprick can bring a nation's people to a state of disarray we're seeing unfold (even as I type this initial response) gravely concerns me. As terrible as this may sound, ultimately, it is the financial blow -- both real and perceived -- that will concern you and yours. I have even greater concerns...
“Yes, pray for the dead, the dying, the injured and their loved ones, but NEVER lose sight of the fact that many more people gave their lives over the past 226 years to make sure you live and breathe in Freedom -- relative Freedom though it may be these days. Do NOT go off the deep end and cry for ‘more security’ at the cost of your basic Liberty. Believe me -- there are powerful men who will willingly accommodate you at ANY cost.
“This nation no longer shares the same collective soul we did in 1941 -- or even 1962. We have, in recent years, become a nation of cowards who believe we can legislate our way to safety and security. We have to be better than that now. We have to be much better than that now. We have to be strong. We have to act in concert, BUT AS FREE MEN -- not as national socialists.
“America: Scream for their heads to be handed to you on a platter, not your own.
“So, while you're not panicking, and if you are of a mind to see farther than the latest newscasts' ill-informed speculation, please take this one warning to heart: The enemy from without is a far less formidable threat to our Liberty than the one presented by the enemy from within.
“From one who loves his country and zealously guards its welfare against all enemies -- foreign, domestic and elected:
“God Bless America and the Republic for which it stood.
“In respectful memory of those who died the Day America Changed,”
Ever since 9/11, we have seen what was left of our Constitution sent through the shredder. This was done not by Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein, but by GWB and the U.S. government. We have seen this in the USA Patriot Act, (1) warrantless domestic spying, horrendously intrusive airport security, torture of prisoners and, now, the Military Commissions Act of 2006. (MCA 2006)
To be sure, other presidents – John Adams, Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, and Clinton – have recklessly disregarded the Constitution to accomplish their ends. However, two – or five or ten or fifty – wrongs don’t make a right. (And do all you Bush groupies out there want to use Bill Clinton as your moral yardstick?)
And, no, the end did not justify the means. We are far less free in America than we were in 1798, 1861, 1918, 1942 or 1993. (Slavery was on its way out in 1861 and would have gone away without Abe Lincoln’s war.)
Is there anything less American than suspending habeas corpus, the constitutional guarantee against arbitrary arrest and imprisonment? What is American about arbitrarily arresting someone and detaining them indefinitely with no presumption of innocence, no right to face their accuser, no right to see all the evidence against them, no jury of their peers, no right to obtain witnesses in their favor or any other aspect of due process of law?
(If I had lunch with Keith Olbermann, I would probably enjoy talking baseball with him. Politics, on the other hand, would spark a few disagreements. However, his commentaries on MCA 2006 are among the most eloquent political observations in recent times.) (2)
But we are at war and don’t extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures?
We have lost 2800 Americans in Iraq, supposedly in the name of fighting a rogue government. Those who survive combat tours in Iraq now come home to a land that has just taken a huge lurch in the direction of everything we say we are fighting against.
If you would trust GWB to exercise prudently his newfound authority under MCA 2006, let me ask you two questions. First, would you trust Bill Clinton with such power? Second, would you trust a future Democratic president -- say, Hillary Clinton -- with such power?
Norman Vincent Peale once remarked that “Americans used to roar like lions for liberty. Now they bleat like sheep for security.” If, as the neocons want us to believe, Osama Bin Laden wants to bring America to its knees, he has, with GWB's help, been quite successful.
Fox News commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano recently pointed out that freedom was not attacked on September 11. America was attacked. Freedom was subsequently attacked by GWB’s drastic expansion of police powers.
Terror is a tactic that has been around at least since the French Revolution. While terrorists are horrible people who deserve severe punishment for their crimes, there is no unified terrorist front hell bent on world domination. A global war against a tactic is a totally illogical idea.
"The terrorists" have not even taken over Afghanistan, so it is preposterous to think they can take over the world. It is similarly preposterous to believe that Democratic majorities will result in us "all speaking Arabic" come the middle of next year.
It is not "the terrorists" who threaten what is left of our freedom. It is our own government.
It is not "the terrorists" who are recklessly “undermining our very way of life” in America. It is our own government. And they are doing so with our blessing.
But, hey, you know, like, I’ll give up my freedom for a time so that the feds can do what they need to do to fight terrorists. And when they get their victory over the terrorists, then I’ll get my freedom back.
Like totally, dude. Just how much freedom will you give up and for how long? In 1933, the German people gave up their freedom – like, totally -- for the promise of security. They got it back in 1945.
But I am not a terror suspect. What do I have do worry about?
To paraphrase Pastor Martin Niemoller, who spent eight years in prison for opposing Hitler:
When they came for the dope smokers, you did not say anything because you were not a dope smoker. When they came for the Branch Davidians, you did not say anything because you were not a Branch Davidian. When they came for the terror suspects, you did not say anything because you were not a terror suspect.
When they come for you will you still be able to say anything?
Intrusions on freedom frequently start out mildly. In 1935, no one could have envisioned that your every move and transaction could be tracked by means of your Social Security Number. In 1913, the original income tax had a top rate of six percent.
If the screening process at airports is any indicator, we are all terror suspects already. Someone far wiser than I am has stated that, on September 11, 2001, horrible crimes were committed. On September 12, 2001, the American people became suspects.
Freedom is being attacked, but not by "the terrorists." Freedom is being attacked by GWB and the government over which he presides.
And freedom must be defended.
(1) Lest anyone think I am defending the Democrats, let me remind you that the Patriot Act sailed through the Senate by a vote of 99-1. The lone holdout was Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI). Thus it had huge Democratic approval. Moreover, when you consider Waco, Eschelon, Carnivore and the Elian Raid, the Clinton record on civil liberties is just as horrendous. (Back)
(2) The Death of Habeas Corpus, National Yawn as Our Rights Evaporate and The Beginning of the End of America by Keith Olbermann. (Back)
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Freely Speaking: Essays by Doug Newman