The False Excuse of National Security
Fighting terrorism? Don't be a chump. Excuses usually trade on something very important and genuine. But what is truly important can be abused, precisely because it should impress us. Government tries to fool us with phony excuses to do whatever officials and bureaucrats want to do.
The NSA, et al., failed to detect the Tsarnaev brothers -- even after being tipped off by Russia -- before the Boston Marathon bombing. FBI agents actually investigated the Tsarnaev family in detail. Russia's tip would justify continuing, specific search warrants and phone taps. Yet the NSA and FBI never saw the bumbling brothers coming. They were not exactly James Bonds. Yet they weren't detected.
Advance warning of the attacks in Benghazi? Fast and Furious? We could go on and on. So is the Obama Administration really trying all that hard to fight terrorism?
In the law, there is a precise test for exposing a "pretext." If actual behavior clashes with the claimed reason for an action by government or an employer, the conflict may convince us that the claimed purpose is fake -- a "pretext" or phony excuse.
The NSA can't find its own contractor employee. Booz Allen contractor Edward Snowden absconded with national secrets to Hong Kong. The NSA did not detect Snowden talking -- across international borders -- about national secrets with journalists in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. Remember that Hong Kong is now China. It reverted to Chinese sovereignty after the expiration of England's 99-year lease expired a few years ago.
So is this incompetence? Or is this evidence of a "pretext" -- a phony excuse? Does the Obama Administration actually want to fight terrorism all that much? Or are they primarily interested in gathering vast amounts of information about American citizens? Do their actions tell us where their attention is focused?
The proof, they say, is in the notorious pudding. The government is being highly successful in invading the privacy of Americans and increasing control and surveillance. The government is not doing so well fighting terrorism. The actual behavior of the government points to development of a 'Big Brother" surveillance state and exposes national security as a phony excuse.
Known for saying things she shouldn't, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) let slip in an interview that Obama's legacy would carry on after 2016: "I think some people are missing something here. The president has put in place an organization that contains a kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life." She added, "That's going to be very, very powerful." Waters explained: "And that database will have information about everything on every individual in ways that it's never been done before." "He's been very smart," Waters said of Obama. "I mean it's very powerful what he's leaving in place."
The government refuses to admit who it is we are fighting a war with. As a phony pretext, the government wants to snoop on the entire population of the country. But the Obama Administration refuses to zero in on who it is who is actually trying to kill us.
This brings to mind the children's joke about the man searching under a street lamp at night. The man lost his keys a mile down the road. But the light is better here under the street light. So he is looking here instead of where he actually lost his keys.
Spying on innocent American civilians is much easier than trying to track terrorists and real threats to the country. So the government snoops on innocent citizens rather than doing the hard work of chasing dangerous criminals, enemies, and terrorists. Why focus on a real threat when you can spy on everyone indiscriminately? (That is this author's objection to police focusing excessively on crimes like prostitution: Hey. Why go after criminals who might shoot back if you can pick on non-violent offenders and grab headlines? )
The Bush Administration was publicly crucified -- even by many conservatives -- for monitoring international phone calls of specific, named individuals suspected of terrorism. The Obama Administration is snooping on everyone indiscriminately -- entirely within the domestic United States. Larry Klayman has filed two class action lawsuits. Klayman notes the extraordinary circumstance in which nearly the entire U.S. population may be part of the 'class' in the class action.
Last week, Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi gathered a group of politicians for a meeting. Egypt's leaders were recorded talking about Egypt's war with its "enemy" the United States, like Israel.
Not realizing that an open microphone was recording their meeting, Magdi Ahmad Hussein, chairman of the Islamic Labor Party described the U.S. as an enemy [emphasis added]: "I'm very fond of battles. With the enemies, of course -- with America and Israel, but this battle must be waged with maximum judiciousness and calm." After being informed of the hot microphone, Hussein continued: "Okay... Fine... The principles behind what I'm saying are not really secret... Our war is with America and Israel, not with Ethiopia. Therefore, engaging in a war... This is my opinion..."
So why are we giving billions, and F-16s, to our enemies? In May, Obama's Secretary of State John Kerry sent yet another $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt, now controlled by the Islamic Jihadi Muslim Brotherhood, by waiving Egypt's failure to meet standards in the law. To get aid, Egypt must show progress toward democracy and civil rights. Kerry waived the requirement. (These payments seem like "tribute" paid to a dominant Muslim Caliphate to buy temporary peace.)
So what do we see? The government claims that an Orwellian 'Big Brother' surveillance society is necessary for the purpose of defending against threats. Yet the government isn't actually fighting those threats. That tells us that it's an excuse, a pretext.
Of course, national defense is important. But that's why using it as a fake excuse is so offensive. This author "believes" in (no, has personally experienced) God. Yet con artists who talk about God to gain people's confidence are all the more deeply offensive because the real God is actually important. A fake pretext is dangerous, wrong, and offensive in direct proportion to how important the genuine article is.
For sure, defending the country is the highest priority of the Federal government. Too many leftists and "liberal-tarians" (not to be confused with the honorable tradition of genuine libertarians) complain about our military because they really don't believe in defending the country.
But we have to be aware that demagogues play upon our feelings concerning what matters most to us. That is all the more reason that when government lies about something so important, it cheapens, corrupts, and perverts what is truly valuable. We need to be on our guard.