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  •  "We don't really need it" is not a simple call. (1+ / 0-)
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    ovals49

    We live in a dangerous world.  We have enemies.  If the charge that the public gives the intelligence agencies and the politicians is "Keep us safe, so that an attack on the level of 9/11 never happens again," then extreme levels of surveillance will naturally result.  

    What we need is for the public to give the agencies and the politicians a different charge:  "Keep us as safe as you can consistent with remaining a democratic state under the US Constitution."

    You say, "Our fear is what terrorizes us."  True.  It would help if we had a few leaders who would come out and say, "Yes, Americans are going to die from terrorist attacks.  We can keep the toll low, but not end it.  But you get up every morning and drive to work even though there's risk in that.  Mature people accept risk in order to do things that matter.  We have to live with a certain level of risk in order to retain some personal privacy and a non-totalitarian level of government spying. Because those things matter."

    The US public is certainly capable of rallying to that kind of call for realism.  But primarily, since 9/11, political leaders have been focused on stoking fear and making unrealistic promises.

    --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

    by Fiona West on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 09:58:16 AM PDT

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    •  Our obsession with terrorism makes no sense at all (2+ / 0-)
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      LakeSuperior, elwior

      when compared with other risks to the lives of American citizens.  The hugely disproportionate allocation of resources given to the GWOT is starving the country from spending our tax dollars on far more pressing issues with far more lives at stake.

      The clamor from the public to "keep us safe at any cost" is supported by, perhaps even created by, the alliance of politicians, defense industries and the military.  It is not based on any rational risk analysis.  Our national shock at the 9-11 attacks was quickly used and manipulated to benefit, not the general public, but the fortunes of those in positions of power.  

      I agree very much with you that

      The US public is certainly capable of rallying to that kind of call for realism.  But primarily, since 9/11, political leaders have been focused on stoking fear and making unrealistic promises.
       Absent the steady stream of propaganda and the steady beat of the war drums from our leaders and our media we might be able to engage in a more rational approach.  I don't see that happening any time soon, perhaps ever.

      It has always seemed strange to me...The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. - John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

      by ovals49 on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 10:39:08 AM PDT

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    •  We don't need what we've currently got. (2+ / 0-)
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      LakeSuperior, elwior

      That's for damned sure.

      A little less spying on little old Quaker ladies who oppose war and anti-fracking activists who want clean water and a little more surveillance of people whom other nation-states warn us might be prone to throw bombs, please.

      The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 10:41:19 AM PDT

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