Wednesday, May 17, 2006

War and Piece on the subject of domestic surveillance

I like to quote excerpts and add my pith to the articles I cite. But there is simply no way to improve on this, so I'll quote the whole thing: Another thought on the subject of domestic surveillance...

These policies of vastly expanded warrantless domestic surveillance may have been undertaken in good faith, but they have a way of taking on a life and logic of their own totally divorced from their original purpose, and becoming self-justifying. Consider that, as the government has apparently gone to some length to track every single AT&T and Verizon customer's communications, it has still not managed to find Osama bin Laden, the ostensible reason for the war we are involved in in the first place. Bin Laden probably doesn't even use a phone, so he's seemingly a difficult target for the NSA. We Americans and our telephones and Internet, on the other hand, offer a target rich environment, it's hard not to see, given the devotion of what seems increasingly substantial US government resources to targeting our communications. Kind of like when there were not enough good targets in Afghanistan, the Defense Secretary expressed the thought that Iraq might have some better ones.

I guess this is a long way of saying, they've got a hammer, and they appear to be searching for the perfect nail. And it may be us, because the terrorists don't seem to be very suitable nails at all, or else conceivably we would not be hearing bin Laden and Zarqawi and Zawahiri on TV so recently.

And isn't it how these things always go? The war turns inward. I saw it in the Balkans, and those a little older saw it with McCarthy, Watergate, Nixon.

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