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Bush, defending his use of eavesdropping on U.S. citizens.
"I was elected to protect the American people from harm. And on Sept. 11, 2001, our nation was attacked. And after that day, I vowed to use all the resources at my disposal, within the law, to protect the American people, which is what I have been doing and will continue to do."
Bush supporters would still defend their dear leader even if they were blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs.
"Its for our own good" They'd say even as they were being marched off to detention.
Most of the people that still blindly defend the president's overreach are those that feel that they have a special, secure place in society. When they say "we" they mean "people like me". When they talk about "americans" its a very defined demographic, consisting of people of their same class, ethnicity, cultural background and ideology.
And sure, there is a nice secure segment of American society that has the most to gain and the least to lose by the president's policies. They'll get the lion's share of the tax relief, they'll never have to deal with the wrong end of the law, and if things go sour they'll be the ones that get protected.
So when Bush says "American People", there are some of us that think "hey, that's me!" and some of us that think "Um.. that's not me."
I'm an American Person as well. I just count less in the eyes of policy makers. I don't do enough to make them rich and secure in their careers.
I look at 9-11 a little differently. One of my first thoughts after that event occurred was "wow, all that military didn't matter one bit. Surely we'll see the insanity of building up conventional weapons!"
Didn't happen, because we are still in the mindset that equates military might with security. But if you think about it rationally, and you accept that terrorism is a result of extreme power differentials, then you come to the logical conclusion that spending ourselves into oblivion building tanks and helicopters is going about it exactly backwards.
There is a limit to what traditional weaponry can accomplish. As a deterrent it has worked well for us. Its has kept other nations from launching a state sponsored conventional strike on the United States. But it has lead to what I see as predictable consequences, namely, terrorism and the increased desire for weapons of mass destruction.
The question thus becomes, why do we keep on doing what we are doing, spending half a trillion dollars and year on what would appear to be an ineffective way of dealing with new threats?
And why do we think that means protection when spending trillions on weaponry didn't do a thing to stop 9-11?
Its clear that we have an entrenched interest in keeping the established business going as usual. Its a combination of institutional inertia and money that keeps change from happening. Part of the reason we felt is was so necessary to invade Iraq was to justify a system that was becoming irrelevant in the wake of the 9-11 hijackings.
We keep on spending this money because its important to that same group of people that say "hey that's me" when the president talks about "americans". Its important because that money keeps lots of people in their lifestyles. We transfer over 500 billions dollars a year from tax revenues into military related expenses. Now with the latest tax rebates to the wealthy for their republican investment we'll see more of that money coming from working americans than ever before. The benefits will still accrue in the hands of the well connected. That has not changed. What HAS changed is the nature of the threat to ALL americans. But in the interest of keeping the well connected bank accounts padded with green we continue down the same path.
I don't feel protected. But I'm sure some "americans" feel "protected".
For the record, I DO think that some military is necessary. But the arbitrary goal of fighting two wars at once is insane. We spend more than the next five nations combined, and we do so because its a way for the lawmakers to filter money to their sponsors under the guise of "security". I think we owe it to ourselves to look at the situation as it stands and ask the hard questions. Do we really need to spend so much considering the crisis facing health in America? Is there a better way of dealing with the new threats of terrorism and WMD that we are not addressing for fear of upsetting a few rich people invested in an old system?
That's all I ask.
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