Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Phony War on Terror

"My name is on a list of real and suspected enemies of the state and I can't find out what I'm accused of or why, let alone defend myself. And I'm guilty, says my government, not just until proven innocent or a victim of mistaken identity--but forever."

We are going to be inundated with stale exhortations to support the war on terror. The first response should be that the war on terror doesn't stop anyone from putting a bomb on a bus or a train. The London bombings are proof that this war is a phony one.

John Graham is a former State Department employee with the highest level security clearance. He found out that he is on the TSA "no fly" list and can't get an explanation about why he is on the list and has been told he will be on it forever. The list is clearly a joke that doesn't keep us any safer. If Mr. Graham is like other watch list victims he need only use his middle name or initial and voila, he will be deemed safe to fly. We are no safer and our freedoms are being taken away little by little.

The story about the frog in boiling water is an old one, but Graham is quite right to repeat it.

And don't forget that frog. You know that frog. Dropped into a pot of boiling water, he jumps out to safety. But put him into a pot of cold water over a steady flame, he won't realize the danger until it's too late to jump.

So how hot does the water have to get? When the feds can rifle through your library reading list? When they can intimidate journalists? When a government agency can keep you off airplanes without giving you a reason? When there's not even a pretense of due process? We're not talking about prisoners at Guantanamo; this is you and me. Well, after last week, it sure as hell is me and it could be you, next.