Once, to pass a contemptuously fake NSA “reform,” and again, to declare that, despite 13 years of utter failure, we’re still all in with the “war” we (sort of) declared in 2001. Cynics would say these votes aren’t unrelated. Worse cynics, like myself, would say that the terrorists definitely have won.
Back when the now-eternal AUMF passed, while the World Trade Center still smoldered, it was plausible enough to surmise that, surely, such a nakedly authoritarian and belligerent gesture was just that: a convenient sop to that all-American revenge instinct that invariably guides our worst impulses. And when the oily and despicable Ari Fleischer stepped up to the podium and hissed that henceforth we peasants needed to “watch what we say,” he didn’t mean someone else would if we failed in this worthy endeavor.
But both of those assumptions, thirteen dreadful years later, have proven utterly false. I mean, if we’d really been hit because we were hated for our freedoms, to me it seems that that little matter has been well and truly settled; “they” must love us now.
But as I suspected at the time, and as Michael Moore memorably quoted Orwell in Fahrenheit 911, the war wasn’t meant to be won; it was meant to be permanent.
Without hordes of enemies threatening our very existence, Americans might begin to object to a repressive and grasping government that takes much for little in return. Worse, they might want a slice of the rapidly disappearing American Pie for themselves. And you know how that sort of crazy talk goes over at Halliburton or Blackwater, much less Goldman Sachs.
So, our Representatives (!) in Congress, with a few honorable but ineffective exceptions, just told those who value their privacy and those who at least want to know who the f*ck we are at war against before we continue, were not very subtly told to take a long walk on a short pier.
Yes, you smell something, but freedom it ain’t.