Sunday, March 08, 2009

And the Music's Breaking

Scott Horton:
The idea that the 9/11 attacks raised the prospect of domestic military operations “for the first time since the Civil War” is infantile nonsense.

Suddenly, all that duck and cover bullshit I remember makes more sense. I didn't imagine that! After the towers came down, I never bought for a moment that we faced an unprecedented threat. Dude, my fucking WOODEN DESK was supposed to protect me from nuclear holocaust, and I should be shaking in my shoes because four airliners killed a few thousand people? I'm no math genius but even I know my odds of being in the path of that disaster or another like it were truly close to fucking ZERO. But you know what I am afraid of? Avaricious, bed-wetting bureaucrats with dreams of goddamn empire and bloody-minded sychophantic lawyers to back 'em up.
Suppose al Qaeda branched out from crashing airliners into American cities. Using small arms, explosives, or biological, chemical or nuclear weapons they could seize control of apartment buildings, stadiums, ships, trains or buses. As in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, texting and mobile email would make it easy to coordinate simultaneous assaults in a single city.

In the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, strikes on New York City and Washington, D.C., these were hypotheticals no more. They became real scenarios for which responsible civilian and military leaders had to plan. The possibility of such attacks raised difficult, fundamental questions of constitutional law, because they might require domestic military operations against an enemy for the first time since the Civil War. Could our armed forces monitor traffic in a city where terrorists were preparing to strike, search for cells using surveillance technology, or use force against a hijacked vessel or building? In these extraordinary circumstances, while our military put al Qaeda on the run, it was the duty of the government to plan for worst-case scenarios–even if, thankfully, those circumstances never materialized.

I'm sure I'm not the first to say this but fuck Yoo and the horse he rode in on. We kids imagined ourselves en flambe every single day of primary school; we were always conscious of where the air raid shelters were. I handled the idea that thousands of people were in the path of a terrorist attack thirty-five miles from my address without making myself the Center of the Universe and there was no need to eviscerate my civil liberties, thank you. There was never any need to arm airports and subway stations. There was no need to put cameras at every intersection, nor is there any need now for an Orwellian Department of Homeland Security. There was no need to torture anyone. So fuck him, now and forever. Fuck him. Yoo doesn't deserve the company of civilized human beings. He deserves the Rudolf Hess Spandau treatment, and he may get it, as Horton notes:
...I’m delighted that Yoo has published a piece discussing the circumstances in which he prepared the memo. Now I expect to hear no invocations of privilege when he is called to testify about it under oath.

Let the prosecutions begin.



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