When 9/11 happened, I was one of the conservatives who jumped right on board with the immediate reaction to go after our enemies. When we hit Afghanistan I was right there in front of the TV cheering it on. I supported the Patriot Act. I supported targeting foreign nationals who threatened our safety and security. I supported TSA. (Actually, no I didn’t, I’ve always hated TSA) I was warned that giving the government that much power and authority over people’s rights in the name of safety was a bad idea. I ignored that warning. I was wrong to do so. There’s a man in the White House who spoke out against the policies of George Bush including Gitmo, indefinite detention of people without a trial, torture, etc. but has now surpassed anything George Bush has ever done by not just allowing those policies to continue, but by including the assassination of American citizens without due process. Now this conversation has turned to “can we kill our own people on our own soil”.
The White House has come out with their idea of “due process” for targeting U.S. citizens. These include:
– “Where an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States.”
– “Where a capture operation would be infeasible — and where those conducting the operation continue to monitor whether capture becomes feasible.”
– “Where such an operation would be conducted consistent with applicable law of war principles.”
But the document also said the government is not required “to have clear evidence” that an attack against the United States will occur in the immediate future to determine that an imminent threat is posed by a U.S. citizen.
Since 9/12/01 we’ve gone from TSA pat-downs and illegal wiretapping via the Patriot Act to not only having drones fly over American skies, but debating whether it’s legal or not for the president to have the authority to kill American citizens in their own homes and cars. We have the NDAA act and we still have Gitmo, indefinite detention without due process, etc. How could we have gone so far in just 12 years? The left wing brought up a good point when Bush was in office: They feared that in suspending people’s rights to further the cause of “fighting terrorism” or public safety, Bush and his administration would use that power to destroy their political enemies. Hell, how bad would the outcry be if they feared being killed?!
Until we have some checks and balances on the people making these decisions, until there are some specific criteria outlined of what constitutes a threat to the U.S, the power to suspend people’s rights without a trial or to decide life or death over them is too grave an issue to give to one man or even one administration. This has gone WAY off the deep end. In just 12 years we have lost all kinds of rights, privacy, and now we’re to entrust the government with making the right decisions about who lives and who dies? And all in the interests of “safety” and fighting terrorists? I’ve got news for you, if you think we’re any safer now than we were on 9/10/01, you’re living in a dream world. And more importantly: If you can’t see that we’re becoming the very thing we fought against in WWII and the Cold War, you need to watch a little History Channel and get a refresher. The suspension of people’s rights from listening to our phone calls and emails to the targeting of “terrorists” with drones needs to stop immediately before we find ourselves in a land where some stranger in BDU’s is asking for our “papers” or we’re on our way to the store and a cruise missile comes shrieking out of the blue towards us.