June 14, 2006
Crazy, but that's how it goes...
It's a little overwhelming to try to catch up on a month of blog reading and world events. One thing caught my eye reading over at Pandagon this morning, because it's a subject on which I have commented from time to time: just because you're paranoid doesn't mean "they" aren't watching you.
And now it's Dr. Peter Rost who has been checking into who has been checking into him.
Posted by binky at June 14, 2006 12:58 PM
| Posted to SiteNotes
Of course, while you were gone, a terror cell in Canada was caught. You wanna know how they found out about them? Internet websites, eh!
Actually, it was specialized internet chat rooms, which is not the same thing.
Why is it we have to wait until terrorists actually use something before we prepare against them using it? We didn't do this with hijacked airplanes before 9/11, and we suffered horribly for our lack of preparation. If terrorist cells have used "specialized internet chat rooms," when people at this very blog have before said they would not use the internet, then why not accept that it's possible they may use weblogs? Your argument is akin to saying that if a murderer has only killed people with a knife before, we don't have to worry about them having a gun. Why should we assume that, if in the past our assumptions about what they would not use have turned out to be wrong?
You have fun with that bad logic, Morris. It's worth hours of entertainment.
It's not akin to saying that if a murderer has only killed people with a knife before. It's akin to saying that if you're looking for a member of the Russian Navy, checking out the senior citizens quilting club in Iowa City is probably a waste of resources. Especially after you've already been checking the quilting club, and figured out that they don't have any Russian sailors there. Of course, they might be saying impolite things about their government, which someone would like cataloged just in case, but, you know, no Russian Navy.
not to mention that the founding principles of our republic enshrined in the constitution have a thing or two to say about how iintrusively one can behave toward said quilting club.
I think you're talking about a certain perspective on and interpretation of "the founding principles of our republic enshrined in the constitution." Straight answer, do you think it would be better if they'd blown up the headquarters for RCMP and Canadian intelligence, as well as slitting the Prime Minister's throat as they wanted, or to let what is on the internet (and, very arguable, public domain) be searched by Homeland Security for terrorism. These are exactly the two real alternatives from this case in Canada, so which do you prefer?
you create a false opposition no better than -- and indeed identical to -- a strawman argument. but i can respond to it as i have responded to all of your efforts to persuade me that the law should be suspended in wartime, and to persuade me that "wartime" exists whenever the powers that be say it does.
we are a nation of laws, not men, morris, and people you'd be hard pressed to criticize on the merits and still call yourself american have said as much every which way but loose every time immediate circumstances lead the power-hungry, the egotistical, and the simply misguided to suggest that the laws should not apply.
yes, one can claim that one is interpreting the constitution faithfully when one finds that the word of a few oligarchs -- whose inability to discern legitimate intelligence from biased spin is manifest, and whose disinclination to tell the truth to the electorate when, by accident, they actually stumble upon it is beyond cavil -- should prevail over 225 years of precedent from the body tasked by the constitution with construing that document, but one also can claim that the moon is made of cheese, that we never landed on it, and that the holocause didn't occur. that doesn't mean i have to agree or dignify claptrap with a response.
i believe in our country. if called upon to do so by something emergent such as WWII, i like to believe i would fight, and if need be die for this country. but my willingness to do so hinges on this country's adherence to its own charter. i will not fight, nor otherwise lift a finger for, a country that's spinning toward autocracy. there's nothing special there, nothing interesting or worthy to defend. and so, to put it bluntly, i would rather we lose far more people to terrorism than we have to date, even on our shores, than irremediably compromise our ends.
and insofar as you think our ideals are something worth dying for, why does that extend only to soldiers dying overseas. i don't want to see innocents killed anymore than the next guy, but if that's the price of our way of life, then that's what it is, period.
i believe in using the extraordinary means at our disposal to do what we can to prevent that from happening. my objection to, e.g., internet and phone surveillance, is that the administration has made no effort to do so in compliance with law, even where it is obvious, as in the NSA case, that complying with the law would have had no adverse effect on the enterprise at issue, requiring simply a few adjustments to involve judicial review in the process by which the executive branch intrudes upon spheres of privacy so much more critical to this nation's identity than telling a few petty nutjobs to "bring it on."
i'd die for what i believe in overseas, morris, and i'd die for what i believe in here. and that's the nature of belief, as far as i'm concerned. bush, on the other hand, appears to have a far more complex relationship with the principles of this nation's founding. and that relationship is entirely too fluid and results-oriented for my taste. and there is simply no warrant in united states law for the sort of stuff he's doing -- it is, in most aspects, truly unprecedented. and if you realized how seriously it undercuts so many things you take for granted but wouldn't know how to live without, knowledge that might come with a greater appreciation of constitutional law in theory and in practice, i doubt you'd be inclined to defend someone who shows such blithe disregard for that history.
i have seen no source that suggests that the canadian terrorists, just like the terrorist plotting against the brooklyn bridge, could have been found only by the aggressive use of means unavailable under the proper procedures mandated by the united states constitution. so at the end of the day, i don't believe your question is very robust or connected to reality in any event. it does betray your bias against liberty in its truest sense, however, but by now we're all familiar with that.