From the Baltimore Sun:
If the people of this nation learned anything from 9/11, surely it’s the danger posed by an unthinking, emotional response to acts of terror. That’s what can cause a nation to nearly scrap its constitution, ignore due process and lose its very identity; to invade countries on trumped up evidence of a threat; to torture suspects; and run off-shore prisons that would make a dictator proud and serve mostly to help terrorists recruit new members. That’s what terrorists want — chest-thumping, outsized reactions to the danger they pose. They want democracies to act undemocratic, they want people to cower in fear, they want to draw others into their fight and unwittingly help destabilize the political structures they seek to topple. […]
The 2016 presidential race is in full swing so we can expect candidates to spout some pretty foolish things in the days ahead. The hawks will have their say and so will the anti-immigrant crowd as well as those who wish to draw us into a religious war. But let us not forget that at its heart, what happened in Paris was a crime that needs to be investigated. Its perpetrators need to be caught and given a fair trial. That will take time, as will determining the proper response to an evolving ISIS and a changing political landscape. The only thing that’s certain beyond the horror of what happened on Nov. 13 is the importance of not succumbing to our worst instincts, to not give in to the terrorists, to not simply lash out blindly and to take actions that will only make matters worse.
3 thoughts on “Well Said.”
I’m afraid it is to late to do the sensible thing. If we had prosecuted Dick Cheney et. al.
We might not be in the mess we are now in.
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It’s a small thing but I’m always reminded of a very specific incident of knee-jerk stupidity by the FBI a short time after 9/11. Someone at the Deming Library in Washington state found a handwritten note in a book about bin Laden. The FBI came in and asked for the names of all the people who’d checked out the book.
The librarians declined to hand over the information. Some people called them supporters of terrorism but the librarians realized it was a fishing expedition, and a poorly thought-out one at that. The FBI had no reason to think anyone who checked out the book was connected to anything illegal. And since it was a public library the person who wrote the note could have done so without checking it out.
All this was publicly reported and made the FBI look pretty stupid.
In the wake of this the so-called Patriot Act was passed. Among other things it gives the FBI the power to secretly seize library records and prosecute any library employee who publicly reports the seizure. Some libraries put out signs that say “The FBI has not requested records today. Watch for removal of this sign.” Removing the sign could potentially be a criminal act.
What’s really criminal is the law now says if you’re an ordinary citizen what you read could make you a suspect, and that protecting those who are supposed to enforce the law from looking stupid is more important than anything else.
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Thanks for your comment. I hadn’t been aware of this until now. What’s equally stupid is the state representative here in Texas who’s suddenly realized that immigrants could buy weapons because of our lax gun laws. Oops. They only intended for white, Christian nutjobs to be able to do that.