Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Justice or Revenge?

Frankly, it doesn't matter which term you feel like putting on the killing of bin Ladin. I'm happy that he was shot, for trying him would be a fucking nightmare. You'd have the Republicans screaming that it should be a drumhead trial and immediate execution,[1] you'd have people screaming about due process, the trial might be the most scrutinized since Eichmann's and, let's face it, no matter how diligently it would have been conducted, the outcome would have been a foregone conclusion. It's quite possible that everyone involved, judges, attorneys and jurors, would have to go into the witsec program to keep them safe from retaliation from either terrorists or, for the defense team, our own white supremacists.

Better this way. It's over and his corpse is being gnawed on by sea critters.

What I want to ruminate on, now, is what we have lost. We, as a nation, have spent trillions of dollars on both the Iraq and Afghan wars. Without 9-11, Afghanistan would not be a concern of any nation other than its neighbors. Without 9-11, George Bush and his cabal would not have been able to gin up a phony casus belli to justify invading Iraq. Without 9-11, we would not have had to send over five thousand men and women to die in Asian land wars, not to mention the tens of thousands who have come back with devastating injuries to their bodies, brains and psyches.

We have lost or given up a lot of our civil rights. It is now acceptable that the government can monitor the telephones and e-mails of anyone it chooses. It is now acceptable that, without a warrant, the Feds can snoop through our bank accounts and library records.[2] There are cameras in many places which automatically record into a database every vehicle which has passed by.[3] The Feds now conduct warrantless "sneak and peek" searches, no matter what it happens to say in that pesky Fourth Amendment.[4] The Federal government has claimed the right to hold anyone it wants, wherever it wants to, for as long as it pleases them, without granting them access to family or attorneys and without any form of judicial process. [5] The Federal government (as well as state and local governments) now treat public protests, a right enshrined in the First Amendment[6], as though they were terrorist events and treats protesters as national security threats to be tracked as though they were cooking up PETN in their kitchens.

And, of course, we are now being virtually strip-searched every time that we want to get on an airliner.

The "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine has been largely abrogated by the courts. More and more, courts seem to be lurching toward the police-state doctrine of "if you found something, you must have had a good reason to look for it" to justify searches. Tasers have gone from being a substitute for deadly force to a torture device to being an alternative to beating the shit out of someone. Yes, there was a time when the idea that the cops could electrocute someone just for shits and giggles would have resulted in revulsion and horror, but now, it just gets a national "meh" and maybe a video on YouTube.

We're not getting any of those rights back. No president will ever willingly surrender executive power. None of the parties have the will to do it, either. The number of senators and congressman who are willing to stand up and challenge the national security state grows smaller and smaller. We have been living Ben Franklin's famous comment about liberty and security, and damn few people seem to care any more.

In the meantime, and in no small measure due to the fecklessness of the Bush Administration, we are locked into a land war in one of the most inhospitable and inaccessible places on the planet. In Year Ten of the war, the best that the commanders can say at the Five O'Clock Follies is that "tangible progress" has been made. Many more American fighting men and women will be killed and maimed. At least another trillion dollars will be spent. There is no end in sight for this war.

So one may make the argument that, even as his corpse is being chewed by crustations at the bottom of the sea, that bin Ladin won his war.

[1] Pre-eminent douchebag and part-time terrorist supporter Rep. Peter King comes to mind.
[2] "National Security Letters" and disclosing that a NSL was served is a crime. Many libraries no longer keep track of what their patrons have borrowed and returned.
[3] Many people make it easier for this to be done by buying "EZ-Passes" or similar currency-less toll system devices.
[4] The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
[5] The Bush Administration claimed that right and did as much against at least one American citizen. As far as I know, the Obama Administration has not disclaimed that grab for the power of a tyrant.
[6] Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Frank W. James said...

Misfit: It's amazing when you think about it that two people from opposite ends of the political spectrum can come to exactly the same conclusions.

Read my post today and I wrote it long before I read yours...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

pygalgia said...

You're quite correct: bin Laden is winning his war.
(I posted my thoughts yesterday)

Spud said...

GW and Dicky boy laughed all the way to the bank, and now Bin-Forgotten can't even rat them out....

Charles Pergiel said...

For some reason this reminds me of a Japanese movie. Not any one in particular, just the overall general feeling of, um, what is it? Just being effed in general, I think.