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A Matter of Survival?

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posted on Jan, 30 2006 @ 02:29 PM
Whenever there’s been a crisis which threatens the survival of the United States, we’ve seen the leaders of that time period extend the usual scope of their powers in an attempt to “protect” the American people and our great Republic. And in hindsight, nearly ever time that’s happened, every time an American president has pushed the limits of their constitutional powers to provide more safety, those acts were seen in retrospect as being excessive. Let’s revue:

THE SEDITION ACT OF 1798: This gave the federal government the power to close newspapers and summarily deport any foreigner during a “war” with France that is now seen as being something less than a serious threat.

THE CANCELLING OF HABEAS CORPUS DURING THE CIVIL WAR: People with ties to the South could be arrested without cause.

THE INTERNMENT OF JAPANESE-AMERICANS IN WWII: People were locked up based upon their ethnic background. Even people who had been here for generations lost their homes and businesses.

THE McCARTHY HEARINGS: During the Cold War, hearings were held in which ordinary Americans were accused of connections to Communism based upon whether or not they agreed with Joe McCarthy.

At least three out of the four crises above could be seen as authentic threats to the survival of America. The Civil War, World War II, and the threat of worldwide nuclear holocaust can be seen in retrospect as being real moments where our Nation hung in the balance. The ripping apart of the very United States, the advance of Fascism and the murder of millions of Jews and other minorities in Europe, and the Cold War with its proliferation of weapons of mass destruction were all moments when America could have been annihilated.

If we compare the events of 9/11 to those other three crises, it doesn’t quite measure up in terms of a threat to our survival. As noted author and professor Joseph Ellis wrote in Sunday’s Op-Ed article in the New York Times:

Where does Sept. 11 rank in the grand sweep of American history as a threat to national security? By my calculations it does not make the top tier of the list, which requires the threat to pose a serious challenge to the survival of the American republic.

In the last decade, Islamic terrorists killed 3500 Americans in this country. That’s about as many people who die of suicide every month. As horrible as that event was, it does not seem to be such a Republic-ending threat that we should change the basic principles upon which our government is founded, alter our entire foreign policy, or allow ourselves to be seen by the world as a nation that requires “pre-emptive” attacks on other countries to survive.

Tonight, when George W. Bush makes his State of the Union Address to the American people, it might be worth counting the number of times he mentions the attacks of 9/11. He’ll tell us that the rather extreme (by his own admission) policies of domestic spying, secret prisons, and limitation of personal liberty are all necessary for the protection of the Nation. He will tell us that he does these things to keep us all safe. We should all spend a moment to remember our history, and our Republic’s reaction to previous threats, and we should ask ourselves if the reaction to the threat of Islamic terrorism has been proportional to the threat, and whether it's worth dismantling the legacy that the Founding Fathers left us.

It might just be that the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution were meant precisely for such a time of crisis, and throwing them away at a time like this just might be missing the very point.

posted on Jan, 30 2006 @ 02:38 PM
Should be glad it was only about 3000 Americans in just one day by just 19 hijackers. Compare to the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor which required multiple of carriers and hundreds of planes. Glad they didnt have nukes. One Islamic terrorist with just one nuclear bomb which would destroy New York City and killed millions. Osama could have taken his time to try to get a nuke instead of eager of retaliation against America for the attacks back in 98 on his camps and followers.

posted on Jan, 30 2006 @ 03:26 PM
One thing that is being forgotten here is that the size of the threat is of little consequence. It is the public's perception of the threat that is the issue.

I can cite one example. In 1957 the USSR put Sputnik into orbit about the Earth. Eisenhower was aware that it was only a ball with a battery and a radio transmitter and really posed no threat, but the American people didn't see it that way. Public outcry paved the way for the Space Race and the moon landings. The public's perception that the US had won the Space Race eventually led to the removal of funding for NASA.

Untill September 11th terrorism was something that happened to people outside the US. The majority of people believed that as long as they stayed in the country that they were safe. After all with a few minor exceptions during WWII there hadn't been an attack in the US since the War of 1812. Even the Oklahoma City bombing was viewed more as a criminal act than an act of terrorism.

9-11 changed all of that. It removed the false sense of security that Americans had built up over the years. They wanted their government to protect them and they didn't care at what cost.

Now, almost 5 years later, with no new attacks the public is starting to get that false sense of security back. Now people no longer want to bother with long lines at airports and they no longer feel the need to tell their representatives that we need to have increased security.
Add a political party that is afraid for its political life and you get the present situation.

posted on Jan, 30 2006 @ 03:27 PM
Duplicate post. Sorry.

[edit on 30-1-2006 by JIMC5499]

posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 06:25 AM

Originally posted by JIMC5499
One thing that is being forgotten here is that the size of the threat is of little consequence. It is the public's perception of the threat that is the issue.

You're absolutely right, Jim, and the public's perception is a product of media hysteria and the Administration's constant reminders.

Here's a challenge: count the number of times Bush mentions 9/11 in tonights SOTU speech.

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