We find ourselves at a crossroad as a governed society, on one hand we demand our privacy and on the other require security of our persons. We want to be able to walk or drive the streets, live in our homes or conduct work at our employer without fear or harm by others. News stories carry the message forth; we live in a dangerous world where common criminals bear arms or covert terrorists plan or conduct their next attack.
We want the government to indemnify each citizen from, including but not limited to, physical attack, catastrophic weather, loss of health coverage, intellectual creative rights, disability, climate fluctuation, pollution, piracy, nefarious corporations and invasion by aliens. We also want this all done in a fair, objective and gentle way unless the protection is from villainous corporations which are genetically altering all edible plant life. In that case, some demand water boarding may be too soft a punishment.
Vice-President Cheney and DHS Secretary Ridge at the opening of the DHS Operations Center in Herndon, VA. – New York Times, 7/9/ 2004
The defense department budget is shrinking but not domestic surveillance and anti-terrorism programs throughout the U.S. As revealed by several recent whistle blowers, all our phone calls and email are now ‘surveilled‘ on a routine basis.
Since the events of 9/11, the U.S. has launched an entire new Department of Homeland Security, participated in policing and anti-terrorist activities, funded added police programs, conducted mock urban warfare scenarios and have built large strategically located disaster-recovery compounds throughout the nation. We have come to accept these incremental changes as good practice in order to protect us.
The U.S. government hasn’t been satisfied with merely spying on us. Indeed their technological tools have permitted them to spy on foreign dignitaries as well as political leaders in addition to more traditional targets. Recent revelations have shown Chancellor Anglela Merkel of Germany and President of France Francois Hollande are among 35 leaders who have had their phone conversations monitored by the U.S.
Many world leaders have come to the U.N. asking for a plan of intervention to block the U.S. from monitoring their calls and email. The 1st term trip Obama used to ingratiate himself as a leader of compassion and understanding of the sovereign rights of other nations appears to be completely undone by the revelations of the actions of the NSA & CIA.
At this crossroad one wonders what are the limits to these activities? Who determines what are the boundaries? So far, President Obama acts as if he’s not connected to this or other International events involving the U.S. including the controversial international & domestic drone programs.
If the leader of our nation doesn’t take an active role in setting limits, who is in charge? By what standard of ethics do we regulate any or all police & surveillance activity? It’s not appropriate for a leader of any country to just shrug their shoulders and suggest, “darned if you do or darned if you don’t“. At some point it’s necessary to accept responsibility.
Your comments are invited.