The NSA, Fortress America, Patriot Act and ISIS

ptrtactjpgA C-Span tweeter mentioned being suspicious of anything starting with words like Patriot and NSA and I agree. Activists and politicians intent on running our lives have long found it effective to cloak their schemes in patriotic vitriol in order to influence opinions and discredit anyone who disagrees with them.

If we are going to police the world and slay monstrosities like ISIS we will need the Patriot Act and eventually much more surveillance to keep track of their minions, but will that really keep us safe? On the other hand if we reduce our policing and monster mashing we can reduce and eventually eliminate government surveillance of American citizens. 

How much if any world policing and foreign intervention we engage in should be up to the American people, not the monied special interest groups, that claim to represent us. Movie buffs will recall Josie Wale’s nemesis Captain Redlegs saying, “doin’ right ain’t got no end”, and though right in theory he was one hot mess!

Yes, we’ll need increased domestic surveillance to track troublemakers if our foreign policy continues to be based on using our military to guarantee other countries’ security. The premise that intervention protects America is generally misguided and should have never become the status quo. If we would follow the advice of George Washington and John Quincy Adams we wouldn’t be the world’s policeman. Some say Washington and Adams might have been right then but they’re wrong now, I’m saying let’s talk about it instead of allowing interventionism to be our de facto foreign policy.

In many quarters its considered passé or naive to quote the Founding Fathers but it’s likely they will stand the test of time far better than our current leaders. Ben Franklin warned us about giving up freedom for protection, his friend George Washington said avoid permanent foreign alliances and John Quincy Adams said we shouldn’t go around the world slaying monsters.

“Fortress America” is better than adventurism and we’ll be less vulnerable to terrorism and conventional military attacks if we strictly control our borders and bolster our already massive deterrence capabilities. Let other countries vie for power and influence and let them pay the price for imperial hubris, such as terrorists gunning for whoever occupies their land. Of course this doesn’t sit well with the Manifest Destiny crowd who think we’re destined to save the world from itself… with all due respect I disagree.

Just last week The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled the NSA’s practice of collecting millions of Americans citizens’ phone records is illegal. The domestic spy program was a deep, dark secret until brought to light by Edward Snowden and filibustered against by Rand Paul. President Obama has allied himself with the neocons in an effort to save the program, which they say is essential to fighting ISIS but it’s likely to do nothing but push us further into the Middle East quagmire. As long as we interfere and intervene, Middle-East countries have little incentive to never solve their problems.

If we allow the government record and store for future use our; phone calls, credit card transactions, emails and internet searches then all is lost, America has left the building and we might as well start calling each other comrade! Meanwhile those who say, “as long as you’re doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about”, probably would have sided with Red Coats who forcibly searched American homes during the Revolutionary War. Comprehensive surveillance of our; communications, purchases and God knows what else is a violation of our constitutional rights and will not keep us safe. We might as well accept silicon chips in our hands or face!

So before we go halfway around the world to slay monsters, ask yourself if it will really help, or will it make matters worse? Then review the record and see how well our splendid little wars have worked in; Iraq, Afghanistan and even Vietnam where over a million died and hundreds of thousands on both sides are still suffering from Agent Orange and PTSD. We were lied to about WMD’s in Iraq, weren’t greeted with flowers and didn’t get repaid in oil as the NEOCON’s would have liked… what a surprise.

Meanwhile we ignore Washington, Franklin and Adams whose wisdom has largely stood the test of time and take our marching orders from McCain, Hillary and Obama.

Comments are closed.