Guilt by Association

I suppose nothing should surprise any more from this criminal organization that we call the US Government. They've undertaken numerous illegal activities, from extraordinary rendition to torture to warrantless wiretaps, all in the name of "security." They've invaded countries based on lies, then tried to spin those lies to cover their tracks. They've even invented a nemesis, called "Islamofascism" (takes one to know one, I guess - fascist that is) in order to make use believe that we're in imminent danger. Unfortunately for us citizens, it's all been a load of crap. And, quite frankly, it's getting to the point that we, as a people, need to stand up and assert ourselves. We must choose not to be terrorized and we must demand accountability. There's a reason the Founding Fathers created 3 equivalent branches of government. It's because too much power consolidated into the hands of an immoral tyrant will cause tremendous trauma and damage; much as we've seen these past 7 years.

Thankfully, some people are paying attention. Of course, one expects the ACLU to notice egregious acts, but it's nice to see things starting to slowly move mainstream. I believe that the American people are tired of the deception and the use of terror as a political argument. Moreover, I'm quite confident that they see the recent warmongering by the extreme right on Iran as just that: blatant violations of common sense and decency. Though the rhetoric of the White House has held an eerie similarity to the rhetoric leading up to March 2003, I have faith in The People to see through this charade. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

I've pulled some interesting links and quotes together here to highlight some of my recent concerns...

First off, here's an excellent NY Times Op-Ed by Paul Krugman, titled "Fearing Fear Itself." One interesting quote that jumps out is:

"For one thing, there isn’t actually any such thing as Islamofascism - it’s not an ideology; it’s a figment of the neocon imagination. The term came into vogue only because it was a way for Iraq hawks to gloss over the awkward transition from pursuing Osama bin Laden, who attacked America, to Saddam Hussein, who didn’t. And Iran had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11 - in fact, the Iranian regime was quite helpful to the United States when it went after Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies in Afghanistan."

That's right, Islamofascism does not exist, though it sure does sound scary. He then goes on and ties this latest fad to my top beef with the neocon pundits: bombing Iran as a viable solution to anything.
"the idea that bombing will bring the Iranian regime to its knees — and bombing is the only option, since we’ve run out of troops — is pure wishful thinking. Last year Israel tried to cripple Hezbollah with an air campaign, and ended up strengthening it instead. There’s every reason to believe that an attack on Iran would produce the same result, with the added effects of endangering U.S. forces in Iraq and driving oil prices well into triple digits."

Let's talk about Iran for a minute... Krugman does a nice job of describing them as not much of a threat... but their angry president sure does make for a scary villain. We must do something about those scary people who look funny and talk funny and have a different ideology than us. The Constitution only applies to us Americans anyway, right? Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and so on -- those are just American rights, not fundamental rights. Uh, yeah.

At any rate, the neocon pundits tell us that bombing Iran is a good idea. In fact, a panel on Fox News last week went so far as say that the Democrats are incredibly weak for opposing the notion. That's an interesting perspective. It's funny, actually, because I remember back in high school (when I still considered myself to be a proud conservative and a Republican) that we always accused the liberals of opposing all opinions but their own (I've traditionally referred to that as the "great liberal paradox" - you can have any opinion you want, as long as its theirs). Now, it seems, the neoconservatives would rather just talk about violence, violence, violence, and more violence. I don't know about you, but they seem almost bloodthirsty. What's up with that?

Getting back to the symmetry between the Iran warmongering rhetoric and the build-up to the Iraq war, International Atomic Energy Agency chairman Mohammed ElBaradei has issued warnings about the similarities, too, urging a diplomatic way forward:

"I very much have concern about confrontation, building confrontation, Wolf, because that would lead absolutely to a disaster. I see no military solution. The only durable solution is through negotiations and inspections. … My fear if that we continue to escalate from both sides from both sides that we would end up into a precipice, we would end up into an abyss."

Of course, what does that guy know, really, right? I mean, he said the same thing before the Iraq war, and look where that got us! We invaded and found all sorts of... nothing. Hmph.

Back here at home, though, we have other things to worry about. For one thing, if you have a reasonably common name, you need to worry that you may not be allowed to fly or, worse, you may not be allowed to return to the country once you've left. And, apparently, nobody in the US Government cares (our tax dollars at work!). Maybe if they weren't spending billions of dollars funding a private army (what's up with that, btw?!?) they could get this whole "watch list" thing down. In actually, as the ACLU right pointed out last week, the watch list is a lousy idea when it comes to tracking thousands of potential baddies on name alone. I mean, seriously, if we said that John Johnson was a terrorist and put his name on the list, wouldn't 99% of John Johnsons be innocent, yet treated as guilty first and foremost?

But, then again, what does the US Government care? It doesn't really inconvenience them, and they can then point at the 1 blocked terrorist out every bazillion wrong arrests. But wait, there's more! You don't have to be guilty to get arrested, either. You can also simply be arrested for any degree of association with someone believed (not proven) to be doing bad things. A practice that is, in fact, unconstitutional, but the White House has never let something as trifling as the Constitution get in the way of things.

Here's a short article on the ACLU web site about the illegality of the "guilt by association" line of thinking. And here's a posting from Mashable about the technology that AT&T has used to facilitate warrantless wiretapping, relying, as it turns out, on guilt by association.

When good people do nothing, evil wins. Let's not let it get to that point. Call your Senator and Representative and demand justice. Demand a roll-back of executive branch power consolidation. Oppose the artifacts of the fascist police state that are emerging - whether it be warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, or the REAL ID Act of 2005. Quit forfeiting your basic civil liberties for the lies of "security" and demand accountability.

If this country is to survive the current environment, then we must all do our parts to hold those committing crimes accountable for their actions. We must promote an environment of open discourse and tolerance. We must truly reserve violence as an absolute last option. We must throw out the voices of intolerance and destruction, clean up the corruption, and seek to restore this country to its place of prominence in the world. Don't let fools and criminals sully the name that our forefathers fought so hard to exult. This is OUR country - the country OF the People, BY the People, FOR the People. People Unite!

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This page contains a single entry by Ben Tomhave published on October 29, 2007 4:08 PM.

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