Sunday, September 11, 2011

Terror, Ten Years later

Terrorism only works if it terrorizes someone. The attacks of ten years ago definitely did that. A new culture of fear caused us to abandon the values that made us unique and great as a nation -- we are not the country we were on September tenth, 2001.

Today everyone is thinking back to that sunny morning, remembering the panic, the uncertainty, the destruction. This week the ACLU issued a report detailing how much the US has changed as a result of the attacks that day. For more than thirty pages they detail the ways in which Americans have lost our freedom to the new surveillance state, ways that we have let fear overrule our respect for the principles that we have historically cherished.
Ten years ago, we could not have imagined our country would engage in systematic policies of torture and targeted killing, extraordinary rendition and warrantless wiretaps, military com- missions and indefinite detention, political surveillance and religious discrimination. Not only were these policies completely at odds with our values, but by engaging in them, we strained relations with our allies, handed a propaganda tool to our enemies, undermined the trust of communities whose cooperation is essential in the fight against terrorism, and diverted scarce law enforcement resources. Some of these policies have been stopped. Torture and extraordinary rendition are no longer officially condoned. But most other policies—indefinite detention, targeted killing, trial by military commissions, warrantless surveillance, and racial profiling—remain core elements of our national security strategy today.

We also could not have predicted that the unity and resolve of that September night would give way so quickly to the fear and fear-mongering of the next ten years. A decade after 9/11, our political leaders continue to permit the fear of terrorism to dominate our political and legal discourse. Terrorism has existed throughout history in various forms, and its threat persists today. But, by defining the struggle against terrorism in existential terms—as a “war” without geographical or temporal limits—our leaders are asking us to accept a permanent state of emergency in which core values must be subordinated to ever-expanding demands of “national security.” A Call To Courage:
Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years After 9/11

It does take courage to remain free.

The last paragraph of the report is not what I would call optimistic, but it does offer some hope, with a warning:
It is not too late to strengthen our laws, to take back our data, and to ensure that government surveillance is conducted under effective and reasonable constraints, subject to meaningful oversight. But we have to speak up now, before our surveillance society is irrevocably entrenched and we find that we have permanently sacrificed our essential values. Otherwise, we risk changing our national character and surrendering one of the key freedoms we strive to protect—our right to privacy and our ability to speak, dissent, exchange ideas, and engage in political activity without the chilling fear of unwarranted government intrusion.


Anonymous Still_Wondering said...

Will somebody tell me why we attacked Iraq?

September 11, 2011 3:29 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Because Iraq has oil

September 11, 2011 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Still_Wondering said...

So did we get it?

September 11, 2011 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we attacked Iraq because they invaded their neighbor, Kuwait, who was our ally and asked for our assistance

we tried to have a truce but they violated it for ten years, kicking out monitors and firing at our planes, and tried to make the world believe they were developing WMD

not hard to believe since they had used them against their neighbor, Iran, and a minority population in their own country, Kurds

the world is so much better off without Saddam Hussein

thank George W

September 11, 2011 4:17 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

"So did we get it?".

Yes, yes you did. Or at least control of it if not direct ownership.

September 11, 2011 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought you said you stopped coming to this site because other people's thoughts aren't automatically deleted

could you make up your freakin' mind?

"Yes, yes you did. Or at least control of it if not direct ownership."

look, nasty Priya made up another new definition

Iraq now has freedom and self-determination, thanks to George W and the brave men who who served under him, and we can now buy oil from them

which, to nasty Priya, is "control"

actually, nasty, they are free not to sell it to us

but we've given them no reason to make that choice

whatta buncha control freaks we are!

you really must have had an unhappy childhood, with all your mental problems

September 11, 2011 8:11 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Oooo, someone's upset.

September 11, 2011 8:31 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

The puppet government in Iraq has no choice but to give its oil to the U.S.

September 11, 2011 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you mean the puppet government that's kicking us out

what would theoretically happen if they decided not to sell us oil?

let us know what inquirin' minds are thinkin'!!

September 12, 2011 12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The puppet government in Iraq has no choice but to give its oil to the U.S."

looks like nasty Priya has uncovered something

I thought Iraq was selling oil on the open market, with the U.S. as a customer, just like it did when Hussein was in power

apparently, the freakin' puppets over there are just giving it to us

please let us know where we can go to pick up our free oil, nasty Priya

September 12, 2011 6:55 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

The U.S. makes a show of paying for it but it pays it to the puppet government it runs, in essence paying itself to take Iraq's oil.

Bush had a perfect chance to get Bin Laden but wasn't interested enough to complete the job. In December of 2001 the U.S. army had Bin Laden trapped on a mountain in Tora Bora. They were raining down bombs on his hideout when the Americans captured one of Bin Laden's soldiers and his radio. They listened in and heard Bin Laden apologizing to his troops for having lead them into this trap in which they were going to die. He was so convinced of this he was praying with his soldiers.

The soldier in charge of the operation knew Bin Laden could escape from the rear of the mountain and asked for 800 Rangers to block the exit. He was refused repeatedly and Bin Laden and every last one of his followers escaped in the night. Bush was too disinterested and incompetant to be directly involved in overseeing the attack and to ensure the steps were taken to kill Bin laden. It took a willing, determined, and steely eyed Obama to see the job through.

September 12, 2011 11:35 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

The so-called "war on terror" instituted by Bush has resulted in essentially unchecked growth of government surveillance and power over the last 10 years. Out of fear Americans have traded freedom for a promise of security when in reality the steps undertaken by Bush have actually made Americans less safe:

"Everywhere And Forever War

The report begins with an examination of the contention that the U.S. is engaged in a “war on terror” that takes place everywhere and will last forever, and that therefore counterterrorism measures cannot be balanced against any other considerations such as maintaining civil liberties. The report states that the United States has become an international legal outlier in invoking the right to use lethal force and indefinite military detention outside battle zones, and that these policies have hampered the international fight against terrorism by straining relations with allies and handing a propaganda tool to enemies.

A Cancer On Our Legal System

Taking on the legacy of the Bush administration’s torture policy, the report warns that the lack of accountability leaves the door open to future abuses. “Our nation’s official record of this era will show numerous honors to those who authorized torture – including a Presidential Medal of Freedom – and no recognition for those, like the Abu Ghraib whistleblower, who rejected and exposed it,” it notes.

Fracturing Our “More Perfect Union”

The report details how profiling based on race and religion has become commonplace nationwide, with the results of such approaches showing just how wrong and ineffective those practices are. “Targeting the American Muslim community for counterterrorism investigation is counterproductive because it diverts attention and resources that ought to be spent on individuals and violent groups that actually pose a threat,” the report says. “By allowing – and in some cases actively encouraging – the fear of terrorism to divide Americans by religion, race, and belief, our political leaders are fracturing this nation’s greatest strength: its ability to integrate diverse strands into a unified whole on the basis of shared, pluralistic, democratic values.”

A Massive and Unchecked Surveillance Society

Concluding with the massive expansion of surveillance since 9/11, the report delves into the many ways the government now spies on Americans without any suspicion of wrongdoing, from warrantless wiretapping to cell phone location tracking – but with little to show for it. “The reality is that as governmental surveillance has become easier and less constrained, security agencies are flooded with junk data, generating thousands of false leads that distract from real threats,” the report says.".

September 12, 2011 12:30 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Obama has done little to dismantle Bush's attacks on American citizens's freedom and liberty despite promises to do so prior to his election.

September 12, 2011 12:32 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

During Bush's presidency he paid lip service to respecting the American Bill of Rights but actually thumbed his nose at it instead:

"In 2004 a law was passed by Congress to establish a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to act as a watchdog over executive actions, ostensibly to ensure that those actions are in line with constitutional protections. But it was an agency within the White House and thus was a watchdog with neither a bark nor a bite. After one of the members of the board resigned in 2007 because of interference from White House officials, Congress made the board independent and required Senate approval of it members.

There’s just one small problem: The board doesn’t have any members. Bush (not surprisingly)never appointed anyone to the newly independent board. Obama has appointed two people and neither has been confirmed.

September 12, 2011 12:38 PM  

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