Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Fear Is a Man's Best Freedom

Why is it so easy to feel Bush rang as hollow and broken as the Liberty Bell when he went on and on about freedom with no context attached in his Inauguration speech? Let's run through four consecutive stories on NPR's All Thing Considered on Monday and discover exactly what freedoms we do have:

Story 1
Guantanamo Detainees Attempted Mass Suicide in 2003
"The U.S. military confirms that 23 terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay attempted a mass suicide in 2003. The detainees tried to hang or strangle themselves between Aug. 18 and Aug. 26 that year."

Our Freedom #1
When detained without charges and without hopes of a real trial, we are allowed to attempt suicide.

Do note that the Southern Military Command will then say "23 detainees demonstrated self-injurious behavior in a coordinated effort to disrupt camp operations and challenge a new group of security guards from the just-completed unit rotation." They will not say people despair. After all, those rounded-up are so guilty they will even try to kill themselves to cause problems for the rest of us. (Iknow I know--suicide bombers are terrorists. But they usually aren't jailed.)

Story 2
Supreme Court Upholds Dog Sniffs at Traffic Stops
"The Supreme Court rules that police may have drug-sniffing dogs check out motorists stopped for traffic offenses, even if police have no reason to suspect the driver is transporting drugs."

Freedom #2
You are free to prove to us you don't do drugs and never have had any drugs in your car. You are also free to carry no money, or a wallet that ever contained money. After all, some studies have shown that up to 80% of all U.S. currency contains traces of drugs.

Story 3
School Counselors Grapple with Military Recruitment
It turns out that the much heralded, much underfunded No Child Left Behind Act features a provision requiring public secondary schools to provide military recruiters not only with access to facilities, but also with contact information for every student, including names, addresses and phone numbers--or face a cutoff of all federal aid.

Freedom 3
You are free to get up to a high school education. We are free to get you to sign up and go to Iraq before you know any better.

Story 4
Pentagon Moves In on CIA Territory
Actually an editorial by Daniel Schorr commenting on the revelation that the Pentagon has deployed its own battlefield intelligence teams for tasks normally handled by the CIA, noting that this schism conflicts with the Sept. 11 Commission's recommendation for greater unification of intelligence operations.

Freedom 4
You are free to watch Donald Rumsfeld and Porter Goss battle out whose got the bigger swinging dick. You are free to die when different agencies don't communicate and thereby fail to prevent terorrist attacks. You are free to cry, privately in your homes, when the U.S. attacks Iran, hoping that a losing war on a new front will distract folks from the mess in Iraq.


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