Government By Fraidy-Cats

So the FISA courts–the secret court that decides whether or not to grant warrants for anti-terrorism surveillance–have had some very interesting judges. Here’s one (boldface mine):

That fatigue is fueled, in part, by the disheartening details of terrorism investigations presented by authorities. “It has opened my eyes to the level of hatred that exists in the world,” Walton said.

Lamberth, a hulking Texan, began to cry as he described a secret briefing about a terrorist threat to the District that he received as a FISA judge. “My wife and friends live here,” he said.

After Sept. 11th 2001, by chance more than anything else, I found myself returning to Washington D.C. pretty frequently (I usually am there a few times every year anyway). Every time I returned, it seemed that something new security feature was added–by security measure I mean something like surface-to-air missiles installed on the grounds of the Washington Monument and by the Pentagon. You know, little things. While some measures were scaled back (and in the case of the Pentagon, a six-lane highway was moved), the hysteria–and that really is the appropriate phrase–was noticeable. I don’t think you can really understand why so much of official Washington is gung-ho about anti-terrorism without understanding the extent to which they have personalized this. When you consider how dangerous some parts of D.C. are on a regular basis, it’s ridiculous. But that’s the mindset we’re dealing with: “Keep calm and carry on” or “Boston Strong” it’s not. Officialdom is this scared.

So we end up invading Iraq on trumped-up evidence and having a security apparatus, the contours of which are unknown. Worse, those officials who seem to have some perspective, often leave or resign out of principle, leaving the worst among us in charge. I’ll give the final word to Digby:

This is exactly the kind of irrationality that’s turned this country into a bunch of pants-wetting little children who are willing to let “Daddy” do anything to make them feel safe. Well, except not enough to try to stop the epidemic of gun violence.

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2 Responses to Government By Fraidy-Cats

  1. Physicalist says:

    Yep, the United States of Cowardice. When you think about the dangers that previous generations faced down, it’s disgusting how much current politicians are willing to give away out of fear that a few dozen people might be killed.

    And, as always, the ones who act toughest are actually the most fearful.

  2. dr2chase says:

    If I may use technical language, what a bunch of innumerate fucking idiots. The most dangerous bomb is the one in my chest; if our government had brains, we would have food regulations (bans on antibiotics in agriculture, bans on artificial trans-fats) and anti-automobile legislation (i.e., pro-exercise legislation) and a serious look at infant mortality, and we would treat mental illness as a real disease that needed treatment, as well as single-payer universal health care.

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