Beat Em' With Freedom
So,last week I'm catching bits and pieces from the mainstream media and a number of second-rate radio talk show hosts concerning mythical secret CIA prisons/encampments supposedly located abroad where we're allegedly gathering information via torture.
The standard, and my most anticipated responses from the "leaders" of our government were ones of denial. "We have no knowledge of...", "We are not aware of...", blah, blah, lie, blah, rhetoric, blah, blah (smile for the camera) blah, lie#2, blah, and "Thanks for coming to record what we have to say the sheeple of America. Blah."
My first reaction to the possibility of such secret encampments was "So what?" At first, it's easy to justify uncommon methods being used to extract information from enemies, the likes of which this country had never experienced until 2001. If a couple Osama-Bin-Atta-Mousaoui-Dinalshibhs get dragged out of their tents in the middle of the night with bags over their heads and whisked across Europe in a jet to some dank basement to be "encouraged" to speak up, and it prevents a bombing, why not.
Then history, and a little reality sets in.
What almighty being do we let decide who gets dragged out of their tents?
If it works for terrorism, what's to stop the government from using the same tactics in the future to curb, say, jaywalking?
If we are truly holding terrorists, I'm pretty sure their bomb-building buddies already know we have them, so what's the harm in releasing their identities to the public?
Where are the checks and balances to make sure we haven't become worse than what we're fighting? After all, if terrorists hate our culture, our freedom, and our way of life, give them one of the fundamental rights granted to us in our Bill of Rights:
to not be "deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." And before anyone asks, my answer is no, drafting of The Patriot Act is not "due process." Unless, of course, I didn't have my glasses on and missed the list of technical disclaimers the Founding Fathers put at the end of the Fifth Amendment.
By succumbing to panic, and acting erratically we lose part of the battle.
How close are we to putting tattooed numbers on the forearms of these terrorists?
Do we have canisters of Zyklon B and readied gas chambers in case one of these encampments gets a little overcrowded. You may think this is an extreme comparison, but history is full of abuses of power by originally well-meaning leaders. Not too long ago,a few fellow detectives investigating a case stumbled across a number of unregistered prisoners (many American citizens) being held and abused right here in the city with no official record of the incarceration, or even their existence.
How much of what we hold dear, what defines America, are we willing to shred in order to "win?" And when we "win", what, if any, principles and freedoms will be left for future generations to fight for?