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Rights relinqished

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Is the global war on terror also an assault on personal liberty and the U.S. Constitution?

Keen observers of history will note that our leaders in government have with great success at various times of crisis convinced the American people that in order to stay “safe” and have a certain level of security and piece of mind, their individual rights must be sacrificed. In those cases the Constitution is completely ignored or trampled upon. Some poignant examples come to mind, Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War and FDR’s internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War.

The pattern is the same. A flagrant disregard for the rights of the individual citizen and usurpation of power or authority usually proceeded by some great tragedy or perceived threat. In the 21st century we are told the war on terror provides justification for these violations and require us to re-think the law for our own good to “protect” us from the grave dangers we face.

Some examples:

  •  NSA warrantless intercepted electronic and telephone communications….direct violation of the 4th Amendment 
  •  Targeted assassinations of US citizens identified as “Terrorists” overseas…direct violation of the 5th &  6th Amendments
  • Drones obtrusively observing citizens from above our cities…..direct violation of the 4th Amendment
  • Indefinite detentions without trial…. direct violation of the 5th Amendment
  • Illegal searches of homes and property for entire city blocks as in the case of the Boston bombing….direct violation of the 4th Amendment. 

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The danger lies in this. We have placed our trust in representative government to do its job and put people by election in positions of power and authority that will not subvert the process for their own personal gain. We have placed our faith in that they know what they are doing and have respect for the Constitution and will when the crisis has been averted resume the role of guardians of the system and restore the rights of American citizens. In today’s modern bureaucrat’s mind however, he believes he knows what is best for the country and its citizens and will not give up any new found powers granted to him. Once power or authority is co-opted or willingly surrendered to the State it is rarely relinquished without a fight. A fight that usually ends up very bloody.


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