Sympathy for the militias

Reading the blog conversation about the President’s illegal wiretaps, I don’t know what is more frightening: the President’s action, or the liberal critics who are crying out that, after all, a rubber stamp court will pretty much allow the executive branch to do what it wants to ride roughshod over our rights. The liberal criticism seems nuts to me -- the point should be that are rights have been shamefully eroded by this secret court anyway.

Again and again, we have to bring ourselves back to the lodestone of reality. In reality, the threat posed by the terrorists has produced this: nineteen guys, for less than a million dollars, were able to take flying lessons, make some homemade bombs, get some box cutters, and take four planes. Now, in terms of war, the threat for forty seven years after 1945 was that planes or missiles would appear in the sky – expensive planes and missiles, costing billions of dollars – and wipe out city and town, to the tune of 40 million to 100 million deaths. Yet, during that time, the U.S. was able not only to preserve the fundamental civil rights, but expand them greatly. The various House and Senate investigations in the seventies created the impetus to create a whole new barrier against encroaching on the citizen’s right not to be spied on, and it made not one dime’s worth of differenc to the Cold War.

The war on terrorism is, of course, not a war at all, but a metaphor. The war on a particular group of terrorists, conducted by Bush, has been so out of sight that we are calmly watching small terrorist organizations build up again. They will no doubt strike on their own cycle. Big news: they exist in Pakistan and in Bangladesh. Other news: we could have crushed the core of them in Afghanistan. And still other news; we didn’t because they are not a priority. They have never been a priority. This administration does not believe for a second that Al qaeda poses a threat to the U.S.

On the other hand, there is the greater threat that the Republican dominance dreamt of by Karl Rove might be overthrown. We’ve already seen Tom Delay use the office of Home(exceptforthegulfcoast)land security to put in place his redistricting theft in Texas – a theft that, incidentally, took away my, and Austin’s, representative in the House.

So here is a question for ya. We recently saw Pat Robertson threaten the President of Chavez with assassination. And we recently saw the FBI admit to “infiltrating” Peta for “terrorist” activity. Here’s a pop question: whose overseas calls do you think will be wiretapped?

It is at times like these that I must admit to supporting the right to bear arms from more than rational, market-driven reasons. We have right bastards in office, and they are definitely gnawing on our rights for their own slimey political ends.

And let’s end this, well, the President already has and needs every power in the world to violate our rights so that 19 guys don’t hijack another 4 planes. If the 19 guys come, it will be due to the fact that the taps are worthless, the commander in chief is clueless, and the ability of the FBI to really integrate its investigations with, say, those of European police agencies is still at Grade C. We already know what this president does when presented with a memo that says Al qaeda attack imminent in the U.S. He takes a vacation.