Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Post 9/11: 'The War on Terror Has Failed'

As qualifications for commenting on homeland security since the 9/11 attacks go, Tom Maertens has a pretty damned big soapbox. He served as National Security Council director for proliferation and homeland defense in the Bush administration and was deputy coordinator for counterterrorism in the State Department on 9/11.

Some excerpts from his op-ed piece in the St. Paul (Minnesota) Star Tribune:

Five years after 9/11, it's clear that the Bush administration's costly War on Terror has failed on two counts. It has undermined our civil liberties and made the world more dangerous. The direct cost of the war in Iraq, according to Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel economist, has already exceeded $1 trillion, including long-term veterans' care and similar costs. Along with the war has come enormous destruction and loss of life, and major damage to our international standing. And there are more terrorists in the world than ever before, a fact the administration plays up to curtail our freedoms. In the aftermath of 9/11, the administration succeeded in passing an extreme version of an internal security law, called the USA Patriot Act. It permits secret arrests, sneak and peek searches, and obtaining bank, credit, library and Internet records, all without a warrant. The administration also instituted wiretaps and intercepts on millions of Americans' e-mail messages and phone calls without warrants, a program recently ruled unconstitutional by a federal court.

. . . Perhaps no event demonstrates more clearly the dangerous authoritarianism of the Bush crowd than the arrest of two American citizens, Jose Padilla and Yasir Hamdi, who were held for 3½ years in solitary confinement with no charges, no court appearance and no lawyer. The Bush administration declared them "enemy combatants" -- Enemies of the State! -- and threw them in prison indefinitely, just like a Third World dictatorship.

Winston Churchill once said: "The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."

. . . Things could get much worse. The Bush administration has bungled the war on terror so badly there are no real prospects of "winning." Even worse, the neoconservatives are pushing for a wider war in the Middle East. . . .

James Madison once warned: "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." The Bush administration has already exploited the war in Iraq and fears about terrorism to stampede the American people into accepting an astonishing curtailment of their freedoms and g! rowing lawlessness by the government. If the administration ch! ooses to engage in the neocons' endless, global War for Civilization, American democracy will ultimately be one of the casualties.

<>(Hat tip to Chris Floyd at Empire Burlesque.)

1 comment:

highwayscribery said...

I'm going to have to steal/borrow this graphic for the next rant about spying programs etc.