At What Cost America?

I will never forget my father’s provocative words, spoken to me while watching the news shortly after the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001. Father said, “Mark, they won.” Not knowing exactly what my father meant, I said, “what do you mean dad”? He simply replied, “the terrorists won.” In my anger, and disbelief, over what took place on 911, I replied to my father, “they [the terrorists] didn’t win a dam thing”! We are going to kick their freaking ****s! Besides the pain and grief of seeing those events unfold, over and over on T.V., and mourning the loss of nearly 3000 fellow citizens, my only concern was that we send our military over to Afghanistan, and used such an overwhelming amount of force that, these thugs would think twice before ever considering doing such a thing again. But, without re-litigating the pros and cons of our military response, and the subsequent military decisions, my father’s words still remain with me to this day:

In retrospect, my father was not saying that, the terrorists were going to somehow bring down the United States; or somehow conquer our country. What my father was inferring is that, the terrorists had succeeded at instilling enough fear into our citizenry that, cooler heads would not prevail; and, there would be a call for our Government to do whatever was necessary to see that such a thing did not happen again; all consequences be dammed! My father either had a very profound insight, in a time of great tragedy, or perhaps, having lived through Pearl Harbor and seeing the response, then, gave him some relative insights.

Indeed, as Americans, who watched completely innocent citizens ruthlessly attacked on 911, by cowardly thugs, it was completely justifiable to want revenge, and to have expected a military response by our Government. Not long after, however, we began seeing a plethora of policies being instituted, that, rightfully, gave pause to a large portion of our citizenry. For example:

The Patriot Act:
Which, as part of that legislation, allowed for Federal Agents to essentially write their own search warrants.

The TSA:
Which allows for Federal Agents to, intentionally or not, harass average citizens, who are merely exercising their rights as free citizens to travel, by air, throughout this country, and abroad. The implication being that, we are all “potential” terrorists now.

The National Defense Authorization Act:
Which is a federal law that allocates the spending etc. for our Defense Department; but, included in the 2012 NDAA was a provision that allowed for the indefinite detention of people who were merely “suspected” of a crime by our Federal Government.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (also referred to as CISPA):
Which is a proposed federal law, which would allow the Federal Government to access and monitor Internet-based traffic; and to share such information between themselves and Internet-based companies, manufacturers etc.

And, the list goes on!

All of the above, as well, are an egregious assault to The 4th Amendment of The United States Constitution, which says:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Sadly, we recently witnessed another attack on our citizenry, at The Boston Marathon. Our hearts, of course, go out to those who have been seriously injured by these attacks; and we mourn for the three citizens who died that day.

And, while the two men, who are are believed to have perpetrated this horrendous attack, thankfully, have been brought to justice, many of us are concerned by the Federal Government’s response to this attack. In order to find two men, our Government, essentially, declared Martial Law: demanding that thousands of Massachusetts citizens remain in their homes, while nearly “9000” Government agents ascended on Massachusetts. Many reports, as well, are beginning to surface, of egregious Government abuses of power, against average, law-abiding citizens. And, after all that, it was still an average citizen who located the second perpetrator and notified the police.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, we are now seeing a parade of fools, marching onto the cable network news programs, and preaching to us as to why we need more Government surveillance cameras, and need to forfeit even more of our Liberties. Mayor Bloomberg, which is not really a surprise, even went as far as saying that, the “Interpretation of the Constitution Will ‘Have to Change’ After the Boston Bombing.”

Naturally, we as citizens of this country, want to feel safe. And, it is a core duty of our Federal Government to provide for our Defense, from hostile and external forces. But, the question that every American needs to ask themselves is, at what cost? That, in a nutshell, is the question that I believe my father was inferring, back in 2001.

The brilliant men that brought this Constitutional Republic into existence, way back in 1787, understood that government, at all levels, were prone to abuse their powers. Benjamin Franklin was quoted as famously saying:

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

Indeed! If we allow our federal and state governments to incessantly breach our federal and state constitutions, the question that will remain, in the end, is, who is going to protect us from our own Government(s)?

I am utterly convinced that, if, one day, our Constitutional Republic is destroyed, it will be finished off from within, and not by some external force; which, I believe, has always been the plan of these terrorists. That is, to have our Government do what they, themselves, are unable to do!

In 1961, President Eisenhower, in his Farewell Speech, made a very astute and honest observation in regards to the growth of the military, and the military industry in this country:

”In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

President Eisenhower also made this astute point:

“We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.”

Both of these quotes are spot on! And, both apply as much to our emerging Police State as they do with our military. Our Founders, largely, believed that standing armies were dangerous to public liberty; and, with each passing year, it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between our local police, and the military. The creeping militarization of our police forces are of true concern to much of our citizenry – as it ought to be.

Indeed, we all, as citizens, want to be safe. The ultimate question we need to ask is, at what cost? As citizens, I truly believe that it is morally imperative that we make sure that “security and liberty may prosper together.” If we do not, then, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, we “will deserve neither and lose both.”

Posted, originally at, The Original Republican

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  1. I suspect that the emotions & thoughts expressed by both you & your father on 9/11 are shared by many. Your father is right, we now have a nation of paranoia…sadly much of it’s justified. My own anger was such that I’m glad I wasn’t in a position of power, as I, also might have REacted with some knee jerk idea. Even..IF….I said, IF the rush to war, patriot act etc were done with a good intent, it should have been obvious that all the band aids in the world will not protect this huge gapping sore we now have. Fear, desperation & poltical greed have been dumped on an entire nation….seemingly with little resistance. It is that apathy that scares me. I cannot understand how anyone can be publicly stripped naked of their rights & march towards what is surely slavery.

    I will keep beating the drum, with hopes that a leader will emerge from the wilderness & dance.

    I have to admit I’m caught up in some of this ‘green’ movement & am really working to Re-cycle Congress in 2014

    1. Hi Jan,
      Thank you for the comment!

      It is completely understandable that our citizenry was, after 911, and today even, frightened, and a bit paranoid about the potential for more terrorist attacks – even though, that is precisely what the terrorists want. But, we, as average citizens, have no real power over our fellow citizens. But, when the Government acts out of paranoia, or purely out of political expediency, then, the potential for real tyranny, and a rogue Government increases, exponentially.

      The key element, here, is to demand that our Federal Government provides for our security in a Constitutional way, so that we don’t lose our Liberties, altogether, in the vague search for absolute security.

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