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The recent revelations about the activities of the National Security Administration have brought the notion of national security and the extent to which our civil liberties must be limited in its protection to the forefront of public debate. Given the widely divergent notions on the subject that surface here on Daily Kos and elsewhere, it seems useful to ask just what is national security. It turns out that the answer to that is rather complicated.

The term came into use as a recurring feature of US law and policy with the National Security Act of 1947. It laid the foundation of the nation's cold war strategy. It consolidated the various military services into the Department of Defense and established the CIA and the National Security Council which has since morphed into the NSA. Prior to WWII the US had very little in the way of an intelligence apparatus. The Office of Strategic Services was an ad hoc effort to put one together in the middle of the war. Following the war's end the US faced major choices about its role on the global stage. In the face of apparent rising international tensions, President Truman opted to place the country on a permanent war time footing and the cold war was on.

From that point until the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 Washington and Moscow were the two poles of a bipolar world with all of the angst that the psychiatric connotations of that word imply. This global power struggle was framed in mostly military terms with a continuing arms race that steadily  multiplied the power of both sides to wipe out life on the planet. The resulting nuclear checkmate essentially rendered mass warfare such as had occurred during WWII obsolete. We had entered a cloak and dagger world where the military had to confine their war toys to small scale proxy wars.

With the demise of the great red menace there was talk of an era of global peace presided over by the benign and freedom loving sole surviving super power. Somehow it really hasn't worked out like that. Although Americans long ago gave up digging air raid shelters in the backyard, and are not particularly afraid of getting nuked, we have regularly been served up an ever growing list of different aspects of National Security that pose an ever present threat to our national identity. Here are some frequently heard examples of "essential" components of national security

Military Security

Political Security

Economic Security

Environmental Security

Energy and Natural Resource Security

Cybersecurity

Everything on this list involves issues that are important subjects of public and economic policy. They are things that we have to work on just like any other nation. However, making a link of an issue to the overriding concern of national security makes it politically possible to bring it under the reach of the security state. That invokes the powers of security and surveillance. The government then becomes empowered to limit the information available to the public.

The attacks of 9/11/2001 were the greatest bonanza to the national security state since Pearl Harbor. We now have a Dept. of Homeland Security linked closely to the NSA. There has been a comprehensive development of pulling local law enforcement, national security apparatus and the military into ever closer cooperation. The justification for this is the threat of terrorism. There was a period of 10 years from the demise of the USSR until 9/11 when the US was deprived of an all purpose alien menace  to keep its level of existential anxiety finely tuned. Fortunately we have been saved from descending into a torpor of quietly going about our everyday affairs.        

Originally posted to Richard Lyon on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 05:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  this (26+ / 0-)
    America’s top military officer in charge of monitoring hostile actions by North Korea, escalating tensions between China and Japan, and a spike in computer attacks traced to China provides an unexpected answer when asked what is the biggest long-term security threat in the Pacific region: climate change.

    Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, in an interview at a Cambridge hotel Friday after he met with scholars at Harvard and Tufts universities, said significant upheaval related to the warming planet “is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen . . . that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.’’

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/...

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 05:09:13 PM PDT

    •  The cat and mouse games of the spooks (15+ / 0-)

      are very useful for diverting the public attention of all that problems that are too serious and complicated to be entertaining.

    •  Losing the USSR as a military rival was an (7+ / 0-)

      existential crisis the U.S. Armed Forces ultimately resolved not by accepting downsizing but by projecting its need - lust, even - for that global military rival on the likes of Iran, Iraq, even Venezuela, China, and now (full circle a la McCain) Russia. As far as the U.S. military-industrial-surveillance complex is concerned, the world is not enough.

      Get out of the empire racket, and we can get out of the surveillance racket.

      "There's a conceptual zone within which the romanticized historical past and the immanentizing historical future converge in a swamp of misapprehension and misstep. It's called 'the present'." - David Beige

      by Superskepticalman on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 05:56:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  in a weird way, the presence of the USSR was good (5+ / 0-)

        because it served as a constant check to us--we couldn't just run off and do whatever we wanted wherever we wanted, like we can now.

        That is always the danger of having just one world superpower----like the biggest kid on the block, they can always do whatever they want because nobody can stop them.

        •  The USSR provided a moral balance (0+ / 0-)

          ... someone we "had to be better than."

           I seriously doubt the Civil Rights movement ... would have gotten as far as fast as it did following WWII had there not been a "Communist 5th Column" poised to exploit ANY discontent in the West --  and Jim Crow and Lynch law made excellent talking points for "Young Pioneer" types here and around the world.

          But with the "fall" of the Soviet Union ....  ( 70 years of economic blockade and military confrontation had done their work)  ... NeoConservatives came to  see the US as "the last superpower standing"   (completely ignoring the fact that China harbored aspirations to be more than a limitless source of cheap, disciplined Labor) -- they figured that what the British had been under Victoria, the US could be under Bush.  

          And then the Ayn Rand Book Club took over the House.

          •  The USSR fell apart (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            radical simplicity

            because of its own internal problems. The spin that the US somehow won the cold war through its own efforts just doesn't hold up.

            •  That's the story we tell ourselves ... (0+ / 0-)

              But let's review ...

              US forces engaged the Red Army in firefights as early as the winter of 1919.

              "The Allies" promoted the White counterrevolution in 1922/23.

              Thereafter there was a near-total embargo of capital and technology TO the USSR, and a near total boycott of goods and services FROM the USSR.

              Then, WWII ... In the aftermath of which luminaries like George Patton advised taking advantage of the Soviets' military exhaustion to press Eastward, and finish to Good Work that the Reich had begun.

              Then, the era of Space Race, arms race,  and  proxy wars  --  all attractive to the US and our allies, not so much because space travel, hydrogen bombs and dirty little wars were in any way good or attractive in themselves -- but because it was believed that in the end, the Soviet Empire could not compete with the established industrial free-market democracies.

              And, as it turned out -- they were right.

              (And meanwhile, in Israel, the Kibbutz movements were out-competed by private ventures and corporations.)

              See ... Free Enterprise  consumerism is BEST.

              Collectivism always fails due to it's internal contradictions and structural flaws.

              Now ... it's not as if the Communists didn't have their OWN highly placed poopy-heads making dreadful decisions.

              Certainly the 60-year failure to make the Ruble a hard currency was one of them.  And the unremitting military posturing ... best expressed in Mayday Parades ... didn't win nearly as many friends abroad as unreconstructed Stalinist apparatchiks may have hope.

              Soviet handling of the Hungarian  (communist) Uprising certainly left a lot to be desired.  And choosing Cuba as a treasured partner and ally may not have been the best idea Khrushchev ever had ...

              But the myth that "the Soviet Union fell l from it's own inefficiencies and internal contradictions" ... more pleasant than true.

              We beat them
              We beat them good

              And now we enjoy the fruits of victory:  Thacher/Reaganism and a thriving Financial Sector.

      •  And it seems that we now have (3+ / 0-)

        The same surveillance society that all those years of us fighting against the godless communists was supposed to help us avoid!

        Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

        by Truedelphi on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 01:38:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, we can fight global warming too, by simply (2+ / 0-)

      monitoring anyone who talks about it and stopping them from gathering to push for action.....

      That's the attitude being taken by the NSA on ... about everything.  They want to know everything about everyone.  And while the government spends billions gathering trillions of bits of data on us all, the real issues go unaddressed.

      This is where people look for "leadership" to set priorities on the right issues.  Do we dare hope that priorities will be correctly focused soon?

      The NSA could be stripping of every cent and every program shut down tomorrow and nothing at all would change in the world.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 03:24:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

        [Over dinner, new Babylon 5 "political officer" Julie Musante asks Sheridan about "lurkers".]
        John Sheridan: It's our version of the homeless. In many ways, we have the same problem Earth does.
        Julie Musante: Mmm. Earth doesn't have homeless.
        Sheridan: Excuse me?
        Musante: We don't have the problem. Yes, there are some "displaced" people, here and there, but, uh… they've chosen to be in that position. They're either lazy, or they're criminal, or they're mentally unstable.
        Sheridan: They can't get a job!
        Musante: EarthGov has promised a job to anyone that wants one. So, if someone doesn't have a job, they must not want one.
        ...
        [Musante runs down a list of all the social problems EarthGov has suddenly solved.]
        Sheridan: And, uh w-when exactly did all this happen?
        Musante: When we rewrote the dictionary.
        ...
        Sheridan: You can't deal with the problems by pretending they don't exist.

        Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 08:36:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That 10 yrs Accounts for Urgency of the "2nd Pearl (13+ / 0-)

    Harbor" appeal by PNAC in the late 90's.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 05:14:19 PM PDT

  •  The greatest threat to national security are (14+ / 0-)

    the collective psychoses fomented by an excessive stress on alleged threats, for these will lead inexorably to internal collapse.

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 05:19:45 PM PDT

  •  "National security" means what (6+ / 0-)

    ever the "Industrial" part of the Industrial Security Complex says it means

    Its like that old joke: if you asked an engineer what's 2 plus to, they will say 4. If you asked the pol, whatever my master says.

  •  If nothing else (11+ / 0-)

    I hope the last month's events help expose the "perpetual phantom enemy" farce for what it is: fraud of epic proportions.

    We're running out of plausible enemies, and the more our surveillance misconduct gets exposed, the less credibility we have in determining who's an enemy and who isn't.

    I have no problem with the US getting shamed on this. We deserve it, and I hope it serves as the impetus for a meaningful reassessment of our priorities as a nation. Whether it will or not remains to be seen. This an entrenched mindset, and it won't disappear overnight, to be sure.




    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 05:56:21 PM PDT

  •  These sectors become self-perpetuating (6+ / 0-)

    Because those involved have an interest in that.

    In the present case, perhaps more of the pressure will have to come from the outside and citizens in countries under internet surveillance by the US & UK who are not protected by rights of citizenship object and force their own governments to deal with it on a government to government basis. I think the US and UK are already seeing some of the blowback from that in obvert and subvert ways, and Obama has reacted by changing the subject (or trying to).

    Technologically, the internet was kind of a game changer for everyone and is open to various types of abuse by states, non-state organizations and individuals, and throws the (paradoxical) problems of freedom, privacy and security into high relief.

    Plan to approach that problem in a diary when I find the time.

    400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

    by koNko on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 07:47:36 PM PDT

    •  Exctly. When a journalist for Wired explains (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko

      That far too much of the 1 trillion dollar plus military budget now ends up going for surveillance, it all becomes clear as to why  it is "necessary."

      Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

      by Truedelphi on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 01:42:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  According to some estimates, (7+ / 0-)

    we have spent over $5 trillion on the "War on Terror" (and that was two years ago). The total cost of World War II, adjusted for inflation, is only $4 trillion.

    It's amazing when you consider that this is all because of one attack which, while incredibly dramatic and horrific, has not been replicated since.

    It's hard to say exactly what constitutes "terrorism." But going by the list here, in the twelve years since September 11th, I count a total of 32 Americans who have died in terrorist attacks, including 3 on American soil.

    •  how many Americans were killed by lightning in (7+ / 0-)

      that same time?

      Or by bee stings?

      We are peeing our pants over nothing.  

      •  What? Me Worry? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan

        2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 05:47:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  alas, "risk analysis" is something Americans are (6+ / 0-)

          not very good at.

          That's why we do nothing at all about guns flooding our streets, but pee our pants when two kids with homemade pipe bombs kill 4 people in a city of over 600,000.

          •  I'm with you on Gun Flood. With respect, however, (0+ / 0-)

            ... I think you're downplaying the vulnerability our open society affords people who can so easily search the net for bomb-making instructions, or coordinate logistics for what one author called Lone Wolf Terror and the Rise of Leaderless Resistance or buy unimpeded all manner of military-style arms for personal gratification.

            Yes, we are pretty shortsighted, even blinkered, about risk analysis.

            I don't think we're paralyzed by those generalized warnings about "homeland security." I don't run scared or watch my back or refrain from doing things I'm used to doing. But I think airplane security is necessary (we don't do it very well, but it does seem to have kept guns and big knives off planes) and I understand purse checks and walk-through screening at public venues like courthouses. I don't think it's wise to put down the potential of the Tsarnaev brothers as just "two kids with homemade pipe bombs."

            2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 09:43:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  well, there's a vast difference between (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Richard Lyon, YucatanMan

              plain ole ordinary police security work (metal detectors and searches at high-risk areas like courtrooms and airports) and paranoid peeing-our-pants "anti-terrorist" things like tapping phones and imprisoning people indefinitely without trial because omigod they're gonna kill us all !!!!!!!!!

              One is plain ordinary police work, the kind that applies equally to terrorists and carjackers, and which we have had for decades already.  The other is just irrational pants-peeing that does far more harm than good. The terrists are not gonna blow up your shopping mall.

              •  Oh, a big shopping mall would be JUST the target. (0+ / 0-)

                One obvious aim of the terrorist is to spread panic and dislodge the public's sense of safety. What better target to accomplish that than to invade a large American shopping mall - urban or better, suburban - where people are comfortable and feel safe and engage in the American dream of buying things.

                But my main disagreement is over your central point: that "plain ordinary police work ... which we have had for decades already."

                I don't think "plain ordinary police work" "applies equally to terrorists and carjackers" at all. (Frankly, it's probably inadequate to deal with either, for very different reasons.) After-the-crime law enforcement - catch-the-perp police work - and all the protections we've built into the criminal justice system does not have much to do with crime prevention. Hell, we have trouble preventing carjackers and purse snatchers. Yes, we have laws dealing with attempts and conspiracies, but check 'em out. Such charges are typically employed in connection with more fully consummated crimes.

                I think the public expects police work to be more than after-the-fact ... rightfully expects that. It's not irrational to reconsider security in the wake of 9/11, the global reach of non-state threats, technology-empowered criminal activity and acts of mass violence. The "kids" with that pipe bomb you referred to killed hopes and dreams of a lot more people than they murdered.

                This does not justify the full bore of the Patriot Act.  This does not justify broad declarations about a "War on Terror" or even broad brush use of the word "terror," but it does justify serious consideration of whether the traditional "CSI" tools are adequate.

                I believe, along with President Obama, that we have a balance to strike between security and liberty. Those aren't extremes. They overlap.

                2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                by TRPChicago on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 11:28:10 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes I have always thought (0+ / 0-)

                  that shopping malls would make an easy target. That happens in places in the Middle East where terrorism is somewhat prevalent. The fact that we have never had an incident like that in the US leads me to conclude that terrorist as presently defined, are a very rare thing in this country. We have far far more to worry about from domestic gun nuts exercising their 2nd amendment rights.

                  •  Agreed as to guns and gun nuts. But ... (0+ / 0-)

                    ... planes flying into the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon hadn't happened before either. (Planes had flown into buildings, to be sure, but so far as I know, not by terrorists.)

                    How is a "terrorist" or a domestic terrorist to be defined? My online dictionary's first entries are as follows:

                    TERRORIST

                    A person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims.

                    [And terrorism is defined as "the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims."]

                    ORIGIN late 18th cent:  from French terroriste, from Latin terror ... The word was originally applied to supporters of the Jacobins in the French Revolution, who advocated repression and violence in pursuit of the principles of democracy and equality.

                    I personally do not believe the aims have to be "political" in any restrictive sense of the word. I think striking fear, for example, or advocating by asserting a right to violent arms or making a violent social protest are reasonable applications of the term "terrorist."

                    Terrorism is not "a very rare thing in the United States." I think Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were terrorists, as were Ted Kaczynski, Jared Loughner and the Tsarnaev brothers. I think those who threaten abortion doctors are edging very close to the notion of terrorists.

                    [In any event, not using the term "terrorist" may be like the Carter White House directing noted economist and "Inflation Czar" Alfred Kahn not to use the term "recession" because it scared the public. So the puckish Kahn announced he would use the word "banana" instead, changing it to "kumquat" when the banana interests objected.]

                    It is a reasonable question whether we need tools and mechanisms different from those employed by traditional law enforcement and criminal justice processes to meet the threat of dangerous kumquats. I think we do. I don't think the Patriot Act as written is necessary. But more than we are doing today? My answer is Yes.

                    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                    by TRPChicago on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 01:31:06 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  There is a simple explanation (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      YucatanMan

                      for the planes flying into the WTC - sloppy airline security. Once that was tightened up it hasn't happened again. It was supposed to have already been in place.

                      •  Ah, well that cares for our vulnerability? (0+ / 0-)

                        The only meaningful security airports have is when you're boarding. And ... How about shipping ports? Privately chartered aircraft? Home grown assembly of explosives? There's precedent for each of those.

                        Look, I'm not trying to call out that the sky is falling, but I am not at all sanguine about relying on laws that are encrusted with the notion that, "If the constable has blundered, the criminal must go free." Fine as far as it goes, but the modern criminal has modern tools some of us think the constable must not be allowed to use.

                        I read many commenters on Kos who suggest we obliterate any new form of data gathering because the old and established ways are just fine. Because everything can be handled by good police work and all the criminal justice learning that deals with post-commission of crimes. Heaven forbid that law enforcement use the same technology that empowers those who would do us harm, unless they have already identified their potential perp and the potential offense so as to justify a warrant.

                        These issues need airing. It should not be an open and shut point based solely on past learning, however suspicious we may be of that constable.

                        2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                        by TRPChicago on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 03:31:41 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  The military and security services like the FBI (0+ / 0-)

                      had long known about flying aircraft into buildings and the worry that "terrorists" might do it. It was no surprise to anyone except the ignorant, meaning most of the Bush administration.

                      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

                      by YucatanMan on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 03:51:34 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  The Fourth Amendment practically demands (0+ / 0-)

                  that police work be after the fact.

                  What would you have police do?  Arrest people for thinking bad thoughts?

                  Or should we encourage more of the FBI phony attacks where the FBI recruits a guy, provides him with a car, a fake bomb, a fake igniter and then sends him into a building the kid didn't even know existed until the FBI showed it to him?

                  That crap is just an absurd waste of our time and money.

                  Yes, good old-fashioned regular police work. Maybe better coordination between departments. Maybe more efficient communications in the field. Maybe better investigative tools and crime labs.  But yes, regular police work.

                  Perhaps, in a few, very rare cases -- very very rare cases -- the special forces or a drone might be needed for one very dangerous and real potential threat.  

                  But the vast majority of this stuff is just regular police work.  Even in the case of Boston, the FBI just failed miserably at looking into people whose names were handed to them on a silver platter.

                  What kind of technology or other solutions will ever come to the rescue when the FBI cannot even figure out what's going on with a couple guys whose names are handed to them with the "terrorist" label attached?

                  "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

                  by YucatanMan on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 03:50:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I just posted a diary on this point (0+ / 0-)

            "The Size of the Terrorist Threat":

            http://www.dailykos.com/...

      •  Or killed by "accidental" gun discharges (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OleHippieChick, Joieau

        during their "cleaning"

        There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. - Sun Tzu

        by OHeyeO on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 05:56:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And by overreacting we have lost much of... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick, Joieau, YucatanMan

      our goodwill and credibility in the world.

      There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. - Sun Tzu

      by OHeyeO on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 05:58:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here is what the President of Ecuador told (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan

        President Obama -

        "Don't come lecturing us about liberty. You need a reality check. Don't act like a spoiled rude child. Here you will only find dignity and sovereignty. Here we haven't invaded anyone. Here we don't torture like in Guantanamo. Here we don't have drones killing alleged terrorist without any due trial, killing also the women and children of those supposed terrorists. So don't come lecturing us about life, law, dignity, or liberty. You don't have the moral right to do so."

        ~ Rafael Correa, President of the Republic of Ecuador.

        Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

        by Truedelphi on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 01:44:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not only has it not been replicated since, but it (0+ / 0-)

      cannot be replicated, because the people who were able to perpetuate such a thing blew themselves up in the first attack.  We then killed all the trainers and the leader and about a thousand or so of the "#2 Al Qaeda leaders" and there is simply nothing left of them. Nothing.

      The enemy doesn't exist except in our budget entries.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 03:43:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tell that to the Vietnamese (5+ / 0-)
    ...essentially rendered mass warfare such as had occurred during WWII obsolete."

    Help me to be the best Wavy Gravy I can muster

    by BOHICA on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 06:10:25 AM PDT

  •  Economic security (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, jrooth, YucatanMan

    It used to be taken for granted that certain industries were vital for national security, such as cars and steel manufacturers and having a textile industry.

      But when that concept of national security got in the way of corporations making huge profits, the concept died.

    “Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.” ― Upton Sinclair

    by gjohnsit on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 10:20:23 AM PDT

    •  We are very vulnerable on an economic basis (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit

      today.  That is a far bigger threat to "national security" than a ramshackle group of malcontents.

      If we were forced to fight a protracted war today, where would we obtain the electronics, the steel, the clothing, on and on...?   Rely on shipments from China?

      Even without war, we're vulnerable to waking up and realizing that we simply don't have jobs for our people and won't ever have jobs.  Apparently many people don't realize  how we are threatened economically.  Nor do our leaders care, because their contributors are making plenty of money and stashing it overseas.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 03:56:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We have a choice between freedom and "safety" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon

    which will always be incomplete, imperfect and futile regardless of what kind of "safety" we demand.  

    As we were just discussing in another diary, the police can set up checkpoints and stop 100% of all the cars on a given street or highway, but there will be drunks on other roads.

    How to solve that problem?  Police on every corner?  On every block of every street?

    Or just address the issue with blind-drunk repeat offenders and stop them from driving?

    Either way, that's no guarantee of safety.  Sooner or later, a piano will fall from a window (again).

    Lightning strikes, even if rarely.

    There is no guarantee that foreign or domestic disturbed or fanatical people will not try to hurt other people.  Far too many groups decide those outside the group are lesser or evil and that human trait won't soon end.

    Do we swipe everyone's mail from their mailboxes?  Gather all the credit card receipts and library book lists and conversations in corner pubs?  Do we put the police in every home and on every computer?   And even then, Boston happened.

    Far better to treat fanaticism as a criminal problem. Do good police work.  Employ well-paid, well-trained, insightful detectives. Respect people's rights and abide by the Fourth Amendment as well as the First and all the rest.  

    Win the battle against fanaticism by being who we say we are and who we used to believe ourselves to be.

    There's no guarantee of perfect safety and never will be.  A free nation has to accept some risk.

    We should do all we can to provide as much safety as possible, but only within a set of rules and rights which all understand and none violate.  Especially the police.

    The police need to return to "protect and serve" rather than the thuggish behaviors we are seeing far too often in the security state era.  Little rural sheriff's departments having big SWAT teams and armored vehicles?  Really?  Hasn't this just gone too far?

    The nation needs to return to a normal bearing. Notice all  this can be talked about without using the word "terror."  We don't need to let fear affect our minds.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 03:21:25 PM PDT

    •  I do *not* feel safe. (0+ / 0-)

      Not even from your garden-variety terrorists.

      Look, the multi-billion dollar security state and surveillance dragnet was pwned by two unstable twenty-year-olds with a pressure cooker. After Russia tried to warn us about one of them.

      False choice. We shouldn't re-affirm it.

      Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 08:46:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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