Wine From Outer Space

Wine From Outer Space is intoxicating, unearthly and surprising. It's also where I write about whatever I choose, and that's nice.

12 May 2006

Get Bent, Mr. President

Following is the text of an e-mail I sent to the White House today, with very similar missives going to Cheney, Senator Kyl and Senator McCain (I live in Arizona):

I'm amazed there hasn't been a greater "hue and cry" from the general populace regarding the revelations surrounding this NSA telephone surveillance program against American citizens. I've therefore decided to write in the hopes of expressing my view that such a program is flat-out wrong, and Mr. Bush's attempts at defending it only make him to appear more foolish than he's managed to prove himself to be in six long years as President of the United States.

When government, military or intelligence agencies tell the general public that they are performing wrongs to serve a greater right--that is, when these agencies are hurting the public for the public's own good--they sound more like propagandists from the Stalin and Nazi Germany era than patriotic Americans.

The New York Post includes a story in today's paper (May 12), which reads in part, "'This is nuts,' Senator Kyl, a Republican of Arizona, said. 'We're in a war and we got to collect intelligence on the enemy, and you can't tell the enemy in advance how you're going to do it, and discussing all of this stuff in public leads to that.'"

I agree that, if engaged in a war, it is foolish to tell the enemy how you plan to go about toppling them. Unfortunately, Kyl's statement itself is foolish because it simply seeks to deflect focus of the issue: he implies that the heretofore secret surveillance program conducted against the American people is correct and proper--that the only problem lies in that it was discovered, and now "terrorists" will know what we're up to.

This whole notion of doing things contrary to the personal freedoms of individuals in the name of the "interest of national security" obviously worked well in the months and first few years after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Now, however, it seems that the sacrifice we've all made in terms of curbing and forsaking those personal freedoms has not paid off (there are still terrorists, Osama bin Laden remains uncaptured).

Now, not only have we knowingly signed away some of our liberties with the cleverly-titled "Patriot Act," but we are the targets of a secret and surreptitious surveillance program conducted by the American government against the American populace. And this is only one program that has come to light; it doesn't seem unreasonable to think there are others.