JOHN ASHCROFT,attorney general
(from today’s NYTimes headlines).
The question is, is he right? My gut reaction is to run away screaming ‘NOOOOO!’. My second reaction is to echo the mindless peacenik drones who say that limiting freedom means the terrorists are winning, without really thinking about the implications of that statement.
I’m really of two minds about this. One, the idea that having oceans between America and the ‘problems of the world’ will shield them is dumb – in which case increasing security across America is a good thing. Better Airport security? definitely. Properly guarded military targets such as power plants, etc? yes there too. Do I want to see gun turrets on top of financial centres and factories? No. Do I think the militarization of the justice system is right? in no way shape or form. Do i agree with the practice of racial profiling? No. Do I think the right to watch my electronic actions is right? Well, I expect everything I do ‘online’ to be visible to people. I have no expectation of privacy on either the phone or online. I do, however, think that it’s a monumental waste of time and money to watch for particular ‘keywords’. I just imagine people listening to Brishen and my ICQ conversations, and getting really, really frustrated as we trigger keyword alerts, only to turn out to be making sarcastic remarks.
Of course, I vehemently disagree with the idea that peace-loving people should love increased militarization. What is really meant by Ashcroft’s statement is that people who love peace IN AMERICA should learn to love the bomb, as it were. But people who love peace only in their country are pacifists; they’re deluded idiots. Everything leads to the next, and a war somewhere, no matter how remote-seeming, has repercussions across the globe. And do I think that world peace is possible? yes. Do I think it’s possible in the current geo-political makeup? No. What I do think is that banning the sale of weapons, of ANY KIND, to private owners would go a long way. Banning civilian-targeting weapons, such as landmines, handguns, chemical and biological weapons would go a long way too. Will elimination of these bring peace? No, but it would be a good start.