David A. Bandel
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They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Benjamin Franklin, Feb 1775.
The above, and a takeoff of this quote by President Ronald Reagan, always come to mind when I hear the term "Homeland Security". Even the name sends shivers down my spine and brings to mind visions of swastikas and jack-booted Nazis. Am I the only one that feels this way?
I spent 20 years in US Army because I believed in the "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave". Creating an agency that does little more than spy on its own citizens in the name of anti-terrorism, seems a bit ironic. I can't seem to find in the Constitution anything about permitting the government some of the leeway it has taken or that citizens have to abide this nonsense.
I find some of the powers given to this agency -- arrest powers with no due process -- to be unpatriotic and anti-american. I was taught that every man, woman, and child that steps onto the shores of the US of A has unalienable rights whether they were citizens or not. But regardless, it appears most Americans have forgotten their roots.
I took a read of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution of the United States again just the other day (for the umpteenth time). It appears to me that some of the powers given during the Bush administration to police agencies, particularly Homeland Security, have violated several of the amendments, namely the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments (though more may also have been fractured).
Has the US turned into the Land of the Losers and Home of the Cowards? And if so, why should the world's super power be so afraid of its own shadow that it has to cower behind agencies with so much power? I contend that the terrorists of the world have won. In the past decade more freedoms have been lost than the entire time since the Revolutionary War.
Americans should hang their heads in shame. But there's still time to set it right. And that time is now. President Obama needs to realize that America's strength has never come from cowering in a corner, but standing up to our enemies and not giving in. He needs to call for a reduction in the overreaching powers given to police agencies. They really don't need it to do their job. These powers are just used to harrass. And that's unnecessary. What's next?
What we need to do is strengthen our external collection efforts. Give the FBI the resources it needs to actually do the job it was chartered to do, rid ourselves of agencies like Homeland Security (just what do they add to the equation anyway -- nothing as far as I can see), reign in the far-reaching powers they've been given, and get back to the basics of intelligence collection and analysis, targetting known criminals wherever they may be.
Tell me I'm wrong -- but tell me why. I'll listen. I just see and hear too many things that convince me I'm right. And it saddens me.
David-The US -- a Police State
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