July 22, 2002 - Washington Times: A war on terror or on citizens?

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2002: 07 July 2002 Peace Corps Headlines: July 22, 2002 - Washington Times: A war on terror or on citizens?

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, July 22, 2002 - 8:15 pm: Edit Post

A war on terror or on citizens?

Read and comment on this story from the Washington Times on the Terrorist Information and Prevention System (TIPS), one of the sister organizations to the Peace Corps in the USA Freedom Corps at:

A war on terror or on citizens?*

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A war on terror or on citizens?

Paul Craig Roberts

During the Cold War, when the U.S. faced a really dangerous adversary capable of incinerating our entire country in 30 minutes, we kept to our principles, stressing the virtues of a free society over Soviet communism.

The Cold War must have sapped our strength. Now, faced with Muslim terrorists who are nothing in comparison to Soviet ICBMs, we reach for the methods of our former communist adversaries. The Bush administration wants to put into place the neighborhood informant system used by the infamous Stasi, the East German secret police.

President Bush's plan, known as TIPS, Terrorism Information and Prevention System, intends to turn one out of every 24 Americans into a government spy reporting on their fellow citizens. Fortunately, House Majority Leader Richard Armey last week added a legislative barrier to the president's plan.

If the White House approach ultimately prevails, the results in the United States will be the same as in East Germany. Jealousies, rivalries, misperceptions and inflamed imaginations will result in the reporting of many innocent people, who will be investigated, questioned, detained and, on occasion, framed.

Conservative gun owners would be likely targets of antigun liberals. Hunters will be reported by animal rights activists. Career rivals and rivals for the attention of a member of the opposite sex might be tempted to nudge each other out of contention with "suspicious activity" reports.

The irresponsible American media would make mountains out of molehills. As hysteria mounts, more people would feel a patriotic duty to report their neighbors. Jokes, protests, comparisons to the Stasi could all become evidence of disloyalty.

The war against terrorism has just begun, and already it has turned into a war against the American people. The U.S. government's fear of its own citizens first manifested itself in "airport security." Everyone is subject to warrantless and unreasonable searches. Regular air travelers observe that the vast majority of people searched could not possibly be terrorists, even if their lives depended on it.

Yet, the mass insult of American citizens by their own government continues unabated. Millions of man-hours are wasted standing in lines while the moronic policy of searching feeble elderly couples, young mothers with babies, and U.S. military officers wastes taxpayers' dollars.

The Bush administration's assumption is: Every citizen a potential terrorist. An entire new federal bureaucracy exists for the purpose of violating the Constitution's prohibition against unreasonable search.

The government's fear of the American people exceeds the ability of bureaucrats to control us. To make sure we are properly watched, the Bush administration wants to recruit 12 million Americans to report on their fellows.

What's going on here? Why are 12 million Americans, in addition to thousands of government police agents with unprecedented eavesdropping powers, needed to ferret out the suspected 5,000 terrorists in the United States?

The best complexion that can be put on this is that the U.S. government has realized the insanity of the multicultural diversity, open borders, visas to all, immigrants from everywhere mindset that has turned the United States into a sanctuary for terrorists and illegal aliens. Too cowardly to deal with the immigration issue, the government instead has adopted police state methods to watch the population.

It is amazing to watch conservatives and patriots cheer on the advent of the Orwellian state. A new bureaucracy will be formed to record suspicious activity reports from the 12 million citizen informants. Once the police state bureaucracy is in place, it will never be dismantled. As Hoover Institution scholar Martin Anderson has pointed out, not even the fearsome Nixon White House was able to abolish a tiny bureaucracy of tea tasters.

Milton Friedman said a country cannot have open borders and a welfare state. Even less can a country welcome multicultural immigrants whose loyalties reside elsewhere. Open borders for terrorists means a police state for citizens.

Rome fell when Romans came to view their government's predations as worse than those of the invaders. Will this be America's fate? Will our government do us more harm than the terrorists?

Paul Craig Roberts is a nationaly syndicated columnist.

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Special Reports - TIPS; Speaking Out



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