DVD Talk
Too much paranoia or not enough? [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
 
Best Sellers
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
The Longest Day
Buy: $54.99 $24.99
9.
10.
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.

PDA
DVD Reviews

View Full Version : Too much paranoia or not enough?


nemein
08-10-06, 02:44 PM
I've tried several times over the last couple of days to start this thread but I always delete it instead of hitting submit. I'm not really sure how to phrase what I'm thinking so I think that's part of the problem. Maybe explaining how I "got here" will help. This "feeling" has been brewing for awhile what w/ all the conspiracy theories about 9/11 and the "real" reason for the Iraq war, but it finally reached a tipping point when watching the special features on V for Vendetta. In those several of the cast/crew went on about the "culture of fear" in the movie and how that parallels what's going on in the real world. I've heard other people use this phrase/mind set too, esp when listening to the morning call in program on CSPAN. For example this morning when talking about the UK/plane thing one lady mentioned something about not believing anything in the news and this was all just a distraction from the war in the ME (which of course the US is behind), which in turn is just a distraction from the war in Iraq. I'm listening to some anti-nuclear weapon meeting/conference on CSPAN now in which they are also using fear as a motivation.

Have we reached the point where fear is the only thing that'll get people going? Are people in general becoming overly paranoid or are people just not paying attention and need to "wake up" (a phrase I personally hate since it seems to be used mainly in the sense of you don't agree w/ me so you must not see what I'm seeing because you couldn't possible have another legit pov on the same subject)? Do you feel ruled by fear? Do you think the country is ruled by fear? Is there a predominate source or are there different "focuses" of fear from different sources?

I'm still not really sure I've gotten the point across I'm trying to make, but hopefully this will be enough to get a conversation going...

bhk
08-10-06, 02:48 PM
My feeling is that many don't want to believe that there are people all over the world that we don't know personally that want to kill us. It isn't a comforting thought and therefore despite the evidence, people are in a type of denial.
I don't feel fear as such in the sense that it rules what I do but it is something that is at the back of my mind.

VinVega
08-10-06, 02:54 PM
You have to listen to Oprah.

Whatever you fear most has no power - it is your fear that has the power. - Oprah Winfrey (1954 - ), O Magazine

Duran
08-10-06, 02:55 PM
In my opinion, the government has squandered the "capital" it received in the aftermath of 9/11. There was a tremendous amount of support for the President, and instead of results, we have the same security problems we had before, a senseless and expensive war, secret domestic spying programs, sanctioned torture, and American citizens captured on American soil indefinitely imprisoned. I supported Bush after 9/11. I supported attacking Afghanistan. After that, the Administration has repeatedly shown it is not worthy of my support or trust. Government should always be treated with skepticism, but this Administration has managed to inspire hostility.

So, when something potentially serious happens like today's terrorist arrests, naturally some people are skeptical and no longer take it at face value.

VinVega
08-10-06, 02:57 PM
I don't know if there's a culture of fear out there, but our enemies are different than we traditionally faced. They don't fight the same way armies have fought forever. The fact that they target civilians certainly makes you more fearful because you can't point to a map and say, "Well, the war is over there." It's everywhere. Eventually, you get numb to it I think or you go completely insane.

elperdido
08-10-06, 02:59 PM
I hope my actions are not driven by fear but I think the country is ruled by fear--bush won the last election because of fear. Fear is a very powerful and dangerous weapon.

Obey The D
08-10-06, 03:05 PM
You have to listen to Oprah. Quote:
Whatever you fear most has no power - it is your fear that has the power. - Oprah Winfrey (1954 - ), O Magazine

Oprah,
I respect your opinion, but I'd still shit my pants if I woke up with one of these on my chest:

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40378000/jpg/_40378481_wanderingspider203.jpg

Sincerely,
Dave

classicman2
08-10-06, 03:11 PM
Much of the hoopla over today's announcement serves 2 purposes:

1. It shows Americans that we're (HS & other federal agencies) not asleep at the wheel. We're looking out for the enemies of this country.

2. It's meant to show potential enemies that we're going to stop you before you even get started.

I don't really know just how much fear this engenders among Americans.

BTW: Whether intended or not, this serves as a distraction from the issue of the War in Iraq. So is the Israeli-Lebanon mess.

JasonF
08-10-06, 03:19 PM
1. It shows Americans that we're (HS & other federal agencies) not asleep at the wheel.

In some sense, it has the opposite affect on me. All of a sudden, we're not allowing people to bring liquids on planes. Why start now? Nitro glycerine isn't something the terrorists just invented, but now that they tried to use it once, all of a sudden we're watching for it. Why weren't we watching for it last week?

Right now, there are probably parents and kids bringing Play-Do on planes. One of these days, we're going to foil a plot involving plastique. Then we'll ban Play-Do and modeling clay from planes and pat ourselves on the back. It would almost be farcical if it weren't so serious.

General Zod
08-10-06, 03:20 PM
Great topic Nemein :up:

It's interesting. Both parties use fear to try and get people to vote for them, right? Right now Republicans talk up they are doing what needs to be done to secure the country and if you vote the other way you're basically putting yourself at risk... Democrats are saying Republicans are actually making things more dangerous, we aren't safer, etc.. Other things like they are trying to take away your social security, they will raise taxes and we all get less, they will lower taxes and the federal deficit will go sky high, etc.. around and around it goes. Trying to scare people into behaving a certain way - the truth may or may not be included.

Has not fear always been the main motivator? Was not religion origionally conceived, at least in part, to control masses of people? Do as God says or else suffer his wrath?

People have been at war with each other since the model first came out. People war because of a mixture of greed and fear. While mankind has made huge advances in technology - one has to wonder how far they have advanced mentally. Until fear and greed are no longer the main motivators, I can't see how man can advance. And I don't see it changing.

Just my thoughts on your topic.

Red Dog
08-10-06, 03:27 PM
The television media (liberal, conservative, whatever) doesn't help things. They drive up the frenzy even more and feeds off it. I can't imagine what the American reaction to Pearl Harbor or the Cuban Missle Crisis would have been with today's television media.

General Zod
08-10-06, 03:28 PM
The television media (liberal, conservative, whatever) doesn't help things. They drive up the frenzy even more and feeds off it. I can't imagine what the American reaction to Pearl Harbor or the Cuban Missle Crisis would have been with today's television media.
Agreed. Plus the internet and "instant information". It used to be the information was parsed and verified a bit before being broadcast, but in todays world they basically just throw it all at us before anyone knows what's going on. I think that has a big impact as well. People jump to conclusions before knowing what's going on.

classicman2
08-10-06, 03:28 PM
In some sense, it has the opposite affect on me. All of a sudden, we're not allowing people to bring liquids on planes. Why start now? Nitro glycerine isn't something the terrorists just invented, but now that they tried to use it once, all of a sudden we're watching for it. Why weren't we watching for it last week?

But you and I, to use Red Dog's favorite expression, are not carbon blobs. ;)

Ranger
08-10-06, 03:43 PM
hate to say it but it's too much paranoia.

look at it this way, you're waiting in line for 10 hours at the airport, eventually, you will say, screw it, just let everybody through and i'll take care of the terrorists myself.

VinVega
08-10-06, 03:49 PM
But you and I, to use Red Dog's favorite expression, are not carbon blobs. ;)
So you think. ;)

In reality, Red Dog turns to his friends, points at the screen and says, "Look at what these carbon blobs on the internet are writing!" :lol:

Josh H
08-10-06, 04:01 PM
Too much. The current restictions on liquids, gel etc at the airport is a great example of going overboard.

Many times I travel I only have a carry as it's a short business trip and I want to have my clothes and toiletries with me so I dont' have to worry about it get lost in plane transfers etc. Not to mention the pressure int he luggage compartment isn't kind to toiletries.

Not to mention the use of fear to push policies like the Patriot Act, use in campaigns etc. I don't like it at all. Far to "V for Vendetta" for my liking.

Flynn
08-10-06, 04:50 PM
Far to "V for Vendetta" for my liking.


Wow...

That's the first time I've seen this phrase. Usually you would see something like 'Orwelian' or '1984'. Looks like 'V' is indeed going to invade our lexicon. Cool.

Nesbit
08-10-06, 04:58 PM
Wow...

That's the first time I've seen this phrase. Usually you would see something like 'Orwelian' or '1984'. Looks like 'V' is indeed going to invade our lexicon. Cool.

It might be because the OP mentioned that they got the idea while watching the 'V for Vendetta' disc.

nodeerforamonth
08-10-06, 05:01 PM
In my opinion, the government has squandered the "capital" it received in the aftermath of 9/11. There was a tremendous amount of support for the President, and instead of results, we have the same security problems we had before,

Really? Have we been attacked on American soil by Muslim extremists since 9/11?

a senseless and expensive war

I'll give you expensive, but senseless? 17 ignored UN resolutions not enough for you? What number would be enough? I agree that Bush was a little too optimistic regarind what would happen after Saddam was captured, and I agree that we can't tame savages, but we didn't know that going in. We just knew that Saddam was hinting that he had WMDs (and they were found), he had used them in the past before, and he was posturing himself as though he had them. Should we have let him ignored even more UN resolutions? I can see why one would not want to go in there, but you can't really call it "senseless".

, secret domestic spying programs

ON TERRORISTS! In order to capture them! Not everyone in the country! Just "persons of interest". And if there were no "secret domestic spying programs" in the UK, they certainly wouldn't have captured the 24 "people" who were going to blow up airplanes today.

, sanctioned torture,

WHAT?!?! You mean putting underwear on people's heads?!?!?

and American citizens captured on American soil indefinitely imprisoned.

WTF are you talking about here? Are you talking about people who shoot up Jewish temples? Or snipers in AZ and DC?

Government should always be treated with skepticism

Of course!

but this Administration has managed to inspire hostility.

Only because people are failing to see the whole picture.

nodeerforamonth
08-10-06, 05:03 PM
The current restictions on liquids, gel etc at the airport is a great example of going overboard.

When you can have flammable/expolosive liquid ingredients hidden in mouthwash bottles or shaving cream canisters, it's a concern!

Red Dog
08-10-06, 05:06 PM
When you can have flammable/expolosive liquid ingredients hidden in mouthwash bottles or shaving cream canisters, it's a concern!


Hasn't that always been a concern though?

Red Dog
08-10-06, 05:06 PM
Really? Have we been attacked on American soil by Muslim extremists since 9/11?




I've heard many Bush-backers calling the Muslim extremist nut in Seattle a terrorist (and I agree with that assessment), therefore, the answer must be yes.

Josh H
08-10-06, 05:07 PM
It might be because the OP mentioned that they got the idea while watching the 'V for Vendetta' disc.

I actually missed that part of the post, it was just in my head as I just rewatched the movie over the weekend--and I've never read 1984. :D

Ky-Fi
08-10-06, 05:24 PM
Well, I've tried to steer off the "V for Vendetta" threads in the movie forum, as I don't want to threadcrap, but let me just state that I thought the movie was the stupidest piece of shit masquerading as political commentary that I can recall seeing. Yes, the venom spewing villains were the white male Christians, and the noble heroes were the artists, liberals, gays and Muslims. (and I think that movie illustrated clearly that for many, George Orwell's 1984 is the ONLY politically influenced work they're familar with.) It's a rigid idealogical worldview that many on the left have, and that's why you're seeing the huge problems developing in Europe and the UK in regards to the Muslim immigration. For many on the left, the idea that a non-Western, non-Christian culture could actually be RESPONSIBLE for a murderous, intolerant ideology simply does not fit---and thus it can't be acknowledged. It's Bush and Blair's fault, it's Western foreign policy, it's the Jews---but to actually hold Islam in any way accountable----out of the realm of possibility for many. While other religions or peoples might have their flaws, the SUPREME source of all evil is white Christian capitalist males (read GW Bush). It's a fanaticism like any other, in that it explains the world clearly in black and white, and just requires you to fit the pieces in their respective slots rather than dealing with facts and reality and shades of gray. I should add I didn't vote for Bush, and I'm not a big Bush supporter, but this blind hatred of him from the left---to the point of giving the benefit of the doubt to Islamofascists or consipiracy theories over Bush---is really outrageous to me.

Anyways, yes Orwell had a point that restriction of civil liberties can be the beginning of a slide into dictatorship. But it's equally true that democracies do, from time to time, face REAL threats from REAL fascist, murderous enemies, and sometimes civil liberties have to be curtailed somewhat to deal with that. It certainly happened during the Civil war, WWI and WWII. Even when democracies go too far and curtail civil liberties too much, it's still VERY different from what fascist countries do. When the Japanese civilians were rounded up in WWII, the government said they would be held until the war was over, and then released. Even though in hindsight it was wrong, that's what happened--it wasn't part of a sinsister plot to exterminate the Japanese in America. That's quite different from what happened to the Jews in Germany.

In a nutshell, I guess I'm saying it's good to be a bit paranoid over the government gaining too much power, but when it gets to the point that we're in now, when many have made GW Bush the villain and they're offering apoliges and excuses for the pure evil that is Islamofascism, then it's going overboard, to the point of being traitorous, IMO.

atlantamoi
08-10-06, 05:25 PM
I don't know anyone who walks around afraid. So I'd say no to fear. Certainly possible it could have been a reason Bush was voted back into office, but I reluctantly voted for him a 2nd time because I think the other side is even more clueless in how we deal with this mess.

Nesbit
08-10-06, 05:31 PM
I actually missed that part of the post, it was just in my head as I just rewatched the movie over the weekend--and I've never read 1984. :D

That's what I figured :) I've never read 1984 either. Animal Farm is one of my favorite books and I love some of Orwell's other work but I've never been able to get into 1984.

NearysEpiphany
08-10-06, 05:46 PM
The problem with 1984, is that too many stupid people have read it and all of a sudden they think they know everything.

nemein
08-10-06, 06:17 PM
I've tried to steer off the "V for Vendetta" threads in the movie forum, as I don't want to threadcrap, but let me just state that I thought the movie was the stupidest piece of shit masquerading as political commentary that I can recall seeing.

As an allegory it was lame. As political commentary it was about what I would expect from the people making it. As a popcorn flix it was good fun IMHO.

Back to the thread at hand though :D

Ky-Fi
08-10-06, 06:23 PM
As an allegory it was lame. As political commentary it was about what I would expect from the people making it. As a popcorn flix it was good fun IMHO.

Back to the thread at hand though :D

I guess I'm just more of a silver-age guy---I'll stick with my Daredevil and Spiderman, thank you. :)

nodeerforamonth
08-10-06, 06:49 PM
I've heard many Bush-backers calling the Muslim extremist nut in Seattle a terrorist (and I agree with that assessment), therefore, the answer must be yes.

I have to agree. One guy. I'll call that the exception to the rule. :-)

Josh H
08-10-06, 06:58 PM
Hasn't that always been a concern though?

Exactly. There is always going to be risks for things like that, they're just no large enough to inconvenience everyone who flies but not allow common toiletry items etc. on carryons, when one of the main points in taking a care on is to have those with you if you lose your bag or to only have a carry on bag.

nemein
08-10-06, 07:03 PM
Hasn't that always been a concern though?


It's called risk management. When the risk of a specific incident occuring is rather low, the countermeasures you put into place are also generally low when those countermeasures will cause an undo/unwarranted effect on normal operations. When the risk of a specific incident increases though, the countermeasures become more important and the effect on normal operations is just dealt w/.

Josh H
08-10-06, 07:11 PM
The risk is still too low for the measures to be in place even on domestic flights IMO. I'd rather take the miniscule risk of getting blown up with one of these liquid/gel bombs than have to deal with this bullshit carryon restriction.

grundle
08-10-06, 07:13 PM
Too much paranoia or not enough?

I can't find the poll thingee to click on.

grundle
08-10-06, 07:15 PM
The problem with 1984, is that too many stupid people have read it and all of a sudden they think they know everything.


I think the problem with 1984 is that it portrays the government as being smart, functional, and efficient.

I think Brazil is much more realistic, because it portrays the government as being stupid, incompetent, and bureaucratic.

Nutter
08-10-06, 07:21 PM
Well for those that haven't read it, 1984 portrays a society in which the following points have all come to pass.

The state is engaged in constant war against an evil enemy.
That enemy and history itself can and do change from day to day.
Any criticism of the government or questioning of policy is treason.
The government manipulates language to convey it's own ideas. (e.g. newspeak, "Victory Mansions", "Victory Gin", etc.)
Individual rights do not exist, and the government can and does capture and re-educate people for thinking wrongly.
The state uses torture.
The state interferes with every aspect of people’s lives, even sex.
Society is stratified along political lines and personal property is abolished.
The population is under constant surveillance, both by "Big Brother" through cameras, and by their own peers and even children.
The state leader is almost god-like, and is practically worshipped.
The state makes heavy use of propaganda
The philosophy of the state is that truth is not important, but that lies are believed so that they become truth.
People come to distrust the state to the point where it is plausible that the state commits acts of violence against it's own people to generate fear.

Obviously the society depicted in 1984 is a nightmare. It was based heavily upon elements of both Nazi Germany and Stalinist U.S.S.R.. It's a sort of blending of the worst aspects of totalitarian states, both fascist and communist. Just for the heck of it, let's see if these points have any parallels in the U.S. today.

The U.S. does have a culture of warfare, and has spent a significant portion of the last century in a state of war. Since Bush invaded Afghanistan the U.S. has been in a constant state of war and this shows no sign of changing with possible wars with North Korea and Iran on the horizon. However, the state of war is not nearly so total as it is in 1984. Unlike the book, every day U.S. life is not totally dedicated to defeating the U.S.'s enemies.
Obviously, history is not nearly so malleable in the U.S. as it was in 1984. Actually changing history is completely impractical. Historical education would have to be completely suppressed and taken over by the state for this to happen. This would require complete control over all media. The U.S. government does show definite tendencies towards minor liberties with the truth though. The official story for why the U.S. invaded Iraq has changed several times, and the abrupt change from treating the Taliban as the main enemy to Saddam was very reminiscent of the change of enemies in 1984.
Criticizing the government is obviously not legally considered treason in the U.S., or pretty much every news agency would have lost most of their staff to prison long ago. The spirit that either you're with us or against us is, however, is clearly present in popular opinion. However, it is private citizens, like Ann Coulter, rather than the government who label those who aren't in line with Republican ideology as anti-American.
"Collateral damage from precision air-strikes", the redefinition of torture to include only the infliction of pain on the level of death or vital organ failure, etc.. Bush's administration definitely redefines language as it sees fit. While the administration's lingo is not nearly so complex and well established as newspeak, audiences from even just 20 years ago would have difficulty understanding some white house releases.
Individual rights are still very much well and alive in the U.S., although the Bush administration has made a few dents in them. Some individuals are held without being charged, but the practice is nowhere near as widespread as it is in 1984. The practice is also mostly confined to foreign citizens.
The torture portrayed in 1984 that relies on detention over time, continual beatings, gradual psychological erosion, and the exploitation of an individuals fears is probably much closer to the sort of "aggressive questioning" sanctioned by the U.S. than the sort of torture most U.S. citizens think of when they hear the word. (i.e. Spanish inquisition, racks, hooks, whips, etc.)
The state does not interfere with individual lives to nearly the same extent. While gay marriage is of questionable legality in the U.S., individuals are almost never prosecuted for sexual acts between consenting adults, no matter how perverse. The U.S. has also taken a pro-censorship stance towards extreme forms of pornography, but I'm not sure if Orwell would have considered any of this bad. Given the society he was raised in, he may well have been a prudish homophobe!
Personal property is most certainly alive and well in the U.S., and is perhaps the closest thing to an axis of social stratification extant in U.S. society. Money is as important as political ideas when obtaining power in the U.S., which is completely different than the society in 1984.
Big Brother and universal surveillance remain primarily fictitious nightmares in the U.S.. However, their eventual existence is not precluded. Advances in biometrics and the fact that some police forces are starting to use security cameras extensively are indicative that this sort of surveillance may be the future. Current popular opinion is certainly not opposed to trading privacy away for security.
Some Americans do worship Bush, others hate him, but most seem to view him as a fallible, human, political leader, not a god.
The U.S. does use a certain amount of propaganda, but it isn't drilled into people on a daily basis in quite the same way. The daily recitement of the pledge of allegiance in schools is somewhat vaguely orwellian, but its practice probably predates Orwell himself. State propaganda intended for foreign citizens is used quite a bit, but has occasionally proved mildly inconvenient for the administration since global media have made it possible for that propaganda to reach U.S. citizens. The closest thing to propaganda in U.S. society comes from the media, not the administration.
The philosophy of state-defined truth does seem to be something Bush buys into. When the time came to invade Iraq, there is evidence that the truth was manipulated to support the invasion or, at the very least, was creatively interpreted. However, most Americans are still very interested in the truth.
Only the most unstable wing-nut conspiracy theorists have dared suggest that terrorist incidents like 9/11 might have been committed by the U.S. to instil fear in its own citizens. The administration does make use of fear by playing up selected threats and downplaying others, but there is no evidence indicating that they have committed acts of violence against their own citizens.

In summary, the U.S. is a long way from becoming the sort of society depicted in 1984. The abolition of personal property is particularly unlikely to ever come to pass. However, there are certainly some orwellian tendencies of both American society in general and the Bush administration that bear watching.

elperdido
08-10-06, 08:16 PM
:thumbsup:

JohnB34
08-11-06, 04:22 AM
I've thought about this alot. I think we absolutely live in a culture of fear. We fear everything.

Bird flu. Hackers. The identity theives. The murderer on the eleven o'clock news is going to get you. Your social security number is out on the internet. The data thefts. The terrorists are going to get you. Anthrax (remember that, where did that go?). Y2k bug. It's anything.

There's been an explosion of competition in the media, and the way they sell their product is through fear (if it bleeds it leads). The more competition, the more sensationalistic the stories get. This morning I read about "airport chaos".

There's no chaos at airports. C'mon guys. Inconveniencing people isn't chaos.

I take every story in the media with a grain of salt. I know there's a large amount of sensationalism, showmanship, and stories can get covered in very poor taste (all the networks branding these wars, with the theme music and everything).

The average person in good health shouldn't be fearing much of anything when they walk outside.

mphtrilogy
08-11-06, 07:44 AM
This species of ours really has to stop killing each other.

nemein
08-11-06, 08:17 AM
The risk is still too low for the measures to be in place even on domestic flights IMO. I'd rather take the miniscule risk of getting blown up with one of these liquid/gel bombs than have to deal with this bullshit carryon restriction.

Actually I agree w/ you on that one but a lot of security is perception. If the admin wasn't doing anything then I'm sure people would be complaining about that too ;)

Duran
08-11-06, 08:39 AM
Really? Have we been attacked on American soil by Muslim extremists since 9/11?


Are you denying the incompetence of the TSA or the ineffectiveness of the Border Patrol?


I'll give you expensive, but senseless? 17 ignored UN resolutions not enough for you? What number would be enough? I agree that Bush was a little too optimistic regarind what would happen after Saddam was captured, and I agree that we can't tame savages, but we didn't know that going in. We just knew that Saddam was hinting that he had WMDs (and they were found), he had used them in the past before, and he was posturing himself as though he had them. Should we have let him ignored even more UN resolutions? I can see why one would not want to go in there, but you can't really call it "senseless".


Sure I can. It's senseless. See? The war had nothing to do with violated UN resolutions, which are irrelevant. The Administration was attempting to change the culture of the Middle East by introducing democracy. Shockingly, it didn't work. In addition, it was incredibly poorly planned and executed.


ON TERRORISTS! In order to capture them! Not everyone in the country! Just "persons of interest". And if there were no "secret domestic spying programs" in the UK, they certainly wouldn't have captured the 24 "people" who were going to blow up airplanes today.


You don't question giving the government this kind of power? Even if this Administration doesn't abuse it, what makes you think future administrations won't?

You have no idea how the Brits uncovered the plot. You have no idea whether it was an illegal domestic spying program that was responsible.


WHAT?!?! You mean putting underwear on people's heads?!?!?


Sure, that was the worst we did.


WTF are you talking about here? Are you talking about people who shoot up Jewish temples? Or snipers in AZ and DC?


Wow. You think it's okay to hold criminals indefinitely without trial? Have you read the Constitution, or do you just go what feels right in your gut?

Jose Padilla. American citizen, arrested on American soil, classified as an "enemy combatant" and thrown in a military detention facility. He was charged 3 years later with unrelated crimes in an apparent Administration effort to avoid Supreme Court review of its actions. Still hasn't gone to trial.

jmj713
08-11-06, 10:37 AM
Well for those that haven't read it, 1984 portrays a society in which the following points have all come to pass.

The state is engaged in constant war against an evil enemy.
That enemy and history itself can and do change from day to day.
Any criticism of the government or questioning of policy is treason.
The government manipulates language to convey it's own ideas. (e.g. newspeak, "Victory Mansions", "Victory Gin", etc.)
Individual rights do not exist, and the government can and does capture and re-educate people for thinking wrongly.
The state uses torture.
The state interferes with every aspect of people’s lives, even sex.
Society is stratified along political lines and personal property is abolished.
The population is under constant surveillance, both by "Big Brother" through cameras, and by their own peers and even children.
The state leader is almost god-like, and is practically worshipped.
The state makes heavy use of propaganda
The philosophy of the state is that truth is not important, but that lies are believed so that they become truth.
People come to distrust the state to the point where it is plausible that the state commits acts of violence against it's own people to generate fear.

Sounds in part like present day Russia.

As far as the paranoia level, I think it's just right. People should be concerned with current events, which are rather alarming at the moment, and have been for a while now.

Josh-da-man
08-11-06, 02:01 PM
I read 1984 when I was ten years old and thought it was the stupidest thing I'd ever read.

The idea that some guy sitting at a desk could rewrite history at the behest of the government [and] have the population eagerly lap it seemed impossible. That the state of Oceana could be at war with Eastasia one day, then be at with Eurasia the next day, was a ridiculous notion.

But now, two decades later, I'm wiser and more cynical. And I don't think about that old picture of Donald Rumsfeld shaking Saddam Hussein's hand too much.

nodeerforamonth
08-11-06, 04:38 PM
However, there are certainly some orwellian tendencies of both American society in general and the Bush administration that bear watching.

Or ANY administration.

elperdido
08-11-06, 04:51 PM
Or ANY administration.

This is true but in my opinion you have to be blind as a bat to avoid seeing a considerable increase in orwellian tendencies by THIS administration.

GreenMonkey
08-12-06, 04:52 AM
Well for those that haven't read it, 1984 portrays a society in which the following points have all come to pass......[excised]

In summary, the U.S. is a long way from becoming the sort of society depicted in 1984. The abolition of personal property is particularly unlikely to ever come to pass. However, there are certainly some orwellian tendencies of both American society in general and the Bush administration that bear watching.

:thumbsup:

Goldblum
08-12-06, 08:43 AM
1. The state is engaged in constant war against an evil enemy.
2. That enemy and history itself can and do change from day to day.
3. Any criticism of the government or questioning of policy is treason.
4. The government manipulates language to convey it's own ideas. (e.g. newspeak, "Victory Mansions", "Victory Gin", etc.)
5. Individual rights do not exist, and the government can and does capture and re-educate people for thinking wrongly.
6. The state uses torture.
7. The state interferes with every aspect of people’s lives, even sex.
8. Society is stratified along political lines and personal property is abolished.
9. The population is under constant surveillance, both by "Big Brother" through cameras, and by their own peers and even children.
10. The state leader is almost god-like, and is practically worshipped.
11. The state makes heavy use of propaganda
12. The philosophy of the state is that truth is not important, but that lies are believed so that they become truth.
13. People come to distrust the state to the point where it is plausible that the state commits acts of violence against it's own people to generate fear.

1. Yep.

2. The enemy has always been Islamic fascists. In 1984, it was not a section of a religion that impenetrated countries but rather the countries themselves. Presently, we are not at war with any countries.

3. You later admit yourself that this hasn't come to pass.

4. The government has no control over the press. You have to be kidding. The press is vehemently anti-government.

5. People have individual rights. The first amendment still exists, and the fact that there are countless people questioning the administration shows this point is out of whack.

6. Our state doesn't sanction torture. In 1984, Winston was beaten to a bloody pulp, had his teeth ripped out and then was about to be eaten alive by rats. A far cry from panties on the head. Psychological "torture" as defined by you is a far cry from the above as well.

7. The government stays out of the bedroom. Or did I miss the memo stating otherwise.

8. You also admit this has not come to pass.

9. Yes, people who make phone calls to terrorist countries have their numbers recorded. This is quite different from "Big Brother."

10. Bush worshipped? :lol: Riiiight, that explains his 30 something approval rating.

11. Yes, I will give you this one. But every country in existance makes use of this.

12. Truth is important, but the government will try to spin that truth in the light that makes it look best. Again, every country is guilty of this.

13. The government has not commited acts of violence against its own. This is ridiculous.


So let's tally, shall we? If I count all the points and give you the benefit of the doubt for the ones that have only partially come to pass, we get a whopping total of 4/13, 2 of which are common to all countries.

sracer
08-12-06, 08:46 AM
In a country of plenty... where even those living in "poverty" live a life that is better than at least 1/2 the world population... the most effective way to motivate people is fear. Fear of losing what you have. Fear of not getting any more. Fear of lifestyle change that you didn't have control over. Fear that the other guy is getting his, and you might not get yours. Fear that the other guy is getting away with something that you are not. and on and on it goes....

The less you have, the less you have to fear...when you have nothing, you have nothing to fear.

sracer
08-12-06, 08:49 AM
4. The government has no control over the press. You have to be kidding. The press is vehemently anti-government.

Huh? The Bush administration uses terms like "insurgents", "homicide bombers", "axis of evil", "coalition of the willing", "pre-emptive defense", and other euphemistic phrases to spin a situation.

(added) -------
At the very beginning of the "war on terrorism," a reporter asked Donald Rumsfeld, "Sir, what constitutes a victory in this new environment? I mean, Cap Weinberger in 1987 laid down some pretty clear rules for engaging U.S. forces. One was, clear goals that are militarily achievable, that you can explain that there's an endgame. What's some of your early thinking here in terms of what constitutes victory?"
"That's a good question, as to what constitutes victory," Rumsfeld replied. "Now, what is victory? I say that victory is persuading the American people and the rest of the world that this is not a quick matter that's going to be over in a month or a year or even five years. It is something that we need to do so that we can continue to live in a world with powerful weapons and with people who are willing to use those powerful weapons. And we can do that as a country. And that would be a victory, in my view."
So Rumsfeld believes that the conditions of victory on the war on terror is simply convincing the American people that ultimate victory over terrorists is impossible. Talk about double-speak?!

Given that metric... "War on Terror": Victory! :rolleyes: :lol:

nodeerforamonth
08-12-06, 09:35 AM
This is true but in my opinion you have to be blind as a bat to avoid seeing a considerable increase in orwellian tendencies by THIS administration.

Or gullible.

People are trying to KILL you. They want YOU dead. Believe it or not, THIS administration is trying to stop THEM from doing that.

If you were in the UK and the laws that you are against were not in effect, 20 airplanes would've been exploded in the coming week.

nodeerforamonth
08-12-06, 09:42 AM
Wow. You think it's okay to hold criminals indefinitely without trial? Have you read the Constitution, or do you just go what feels right in your gut?

Jose Padilla. American citizen, arrested on American soil, classified as an "enemy combatant" and thrown in a military detention facility. He was charged 3 years later with unrelated crimes in an apparent Administration effort to avoid Supreme Court review of its actions. Still hasn't gone to trial.

The guy was trying to get a fucking dirty bomb into the US! He should be executed. If you are an "enemy combantant" (which it seems he is), you don't have the same rights as a citizen.

You didn't seem to print the whole story here. (from CNN, no less!)

http://archives.cnn.com/2002/LAW/06/27/dirty.bomb.suspect/

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Federal prosecutors responded on Wednesday to a defense attorney's claim that the U.S. government is holding alleged "dirty bomb" suspect Jose Padilla illegally and that he should be released from custody.

In a document filed with the U.S. District Court in Lower Manhattan, prosecutors said Padilla's status as an "enemy combatant" -- which the government has cited as a constitutional reason to detain him -- is not diminished by the fact that he is a U.S. citizen.

"Citizens who associate themselves with the enemy and with its aid, guidance and direction, enter this country bent on hostile acts, are enemy belligerents," the document said.

The prosecutors said Padilla, 31, was trying to infiltrate the United States covertly for the al Qaeda terrorist network, which remains a "serious threat" to the United States. As such, he qualifies as an enemy combatant who is being held consistent with the laws of war.

"The authority of the United States to seize and detain enemy combatants is well settled -- and vital to our core military objectives," the document said. Unlawful combatants, it said, are "those who, during time of war, pass surreptitiously from enemy territory into our own for the commission of hostile acts involving destruction of life or property," according to case law.

Padilla was arrested May 8 in Chicago on a material witness warrant and then detained in a federal jail in New York before being declared a "military combatant" and whisked away to a Charleston, South Carolina, military brig in the middle of the night on June 9.

The Justice Department alleges Padilla flew to the United States on an al Qaeda scouting mission to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" -- a conventional bomb laced with radioactive material, in the United States.

Padilla -- who also goes by the name of Abdullah Al Muhajir -- was arrested at O'Hare International Airport after arriving from Pakistan on a connecting flight through Zurich. A Muslim convert with a violent criminal past in the United States, Padilla had spent recent years in the Middle East.

Padilla's court-appointed defense attorney, Donna Newman, called for Padilla's release in a document known as a petition for habeas corpus. In her petition, Newman noted that Padilla has not been formally charged with any criminal activity.

"There is insufficient evidence for the government to obtain an indictment," she wrote.

"Among the rights which the government has violated are: his right to due process, his right to be free from unreasonable seizure, his right to counsel and his right to a grand jury," she continued.

Newman asked U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mukasey, who had signed the material witness warrant, that Padilla be returned to the jurisdiction of the federal court in Manhattan and that Padilla be released. She has not been able to meet or communicate with Padilla since he was transferred from Department of Justice to Department of Defense custody.

Though the prosecutors cited case law in defining "unlawful combatants," Newman has pointed out the term is not defined under the U.S. Code or the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Justice Department lawyers have told staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee that the United States would hold Padilla indefinitely, and that the executive branch alone has the power to decide when a person qualifies as an enemy combatant.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said the primary interest in Padilla right now is to figure out what he may know to help prevent a future attack rather than trying him in a court.

An alleged associate of Padilla is in custody in Pakistan, U.S. officials familiar with the investigation have said.

nodeerforamonth
08-12-06, 09:44 AM
Huh? The Bush administration uses terms like "insurgents", "homicide bombers", "axis of evil", "coalition of the willing", "pre-emptive defense", and other euphemistic phrases to spin a situation.

How is this related to Bush having "control over the press"?!!??

huzefa
08-12-06, 09:48 AM
The guy was trying to get a fucking dirty bomb into the US! He should be executed. If you are an "enemy combantant" (which it seems he is), you don't have the same rights as a citizen.

You didn't seem to print the whole story here. (from CNN, no less!)


So... you would execute him without a trial or conviction, based solely on a document filed from the Prosecutor's office and the information you have received from CNN's website.

Take a step back and think to yourself whether the terrorists have truly managed to change America and its values.

classicman2
08-12-06, 09:58 AM
The guy was trying to get a fucking dirty bomb into the US! He should be executed. If you are an "enemy combantant" (which it seems he is), you don't have the same rights as a citizen.

If he was so guilty, why wasn't he charged with the crime?

I assume you believe he should be executed without benefit of a trial.

Generally - U.S. citizens are entitled to due process of law. Do you have a problem with that also?

Nazgul
08-12-06, 11:15 AM
Generally - U.S. citizens are entitled to due process of law. Do you have a problem with that also?

That's easy. Strip him of citizenship. Problem solved. :)

His association or attempt at association (for our terrorist defenders) seems treasonuos enough to me.

sracer
08-12-06, 12:34 PM
How is this related to Bush having "control over the press"?!!??
4. The government manipulates language to convey it's own ideas. (e.g. newspeak, "Victory Mansions", "Victory Gin", etc.)

It isn't "control over the press" (that was Goldblum's twist on that item)... but control of the language... the dialog. When President Bush and members of his cabinet use these euphemisms and codespeak, it is reported by the media. Outlets sympathetic to this administration, like FoxNews will parrot those phrases and make them part of the mainstream dialog.

Who coined the phrase, "war on terror"? Who is using it today?

sracer
08-12-06, 01:17 PM
Let's say there is a country where the government doesn't "control the language and dialogue". In that case, how does the government communicate with the people?
Can't you see the difference between "calling a spade a spade" and "carefully selecting words to sway public opinion"? :shrug:

nemein
08-12-06, 02:46 PM
4. The government manipulates language to convey it's own ideas. (e.g. newspeak, "Victory Mansions", "Victory Gin", etc.)

It isn't "control over the press" (that was Goldblum's twist on that item)... but control of the language... the dialog. When President Bush and members of his cabinet use these euphemisms and codespeak, it is reported by the media. Outlets sympathetic to this administration, like FoxNews will parrot those phrases and make them part of the mainstream dialog.

Who coined the phrase, "war on terror"? Who is using it today?

Yes because after all switching everyone over to the term "homicide bomber" was a resounding success ;) Both sides have their catch phrases they use ("culture of corruption" come to mind?) and the media's use of it is just reflective of that. Some times the media/public adopts it as their own other times it doesn't.

nemein
08-12-06, 02:49 PM
Can't you see the difference between "calling a spade a spade" and "carefully selecting words to sway public opinion"? :shrug:

Yep, but the "carefully selecting words to sway public opinion" is hardly limited to the admin, or even to politicians come to think of it. That's what advertising and PR is all about.

sracer
08-12-06, 04:12 PM
But of course, one person's swaying is another's spade. It seems you're upset because the current administration doesn't share your particular viewpoint. To me, they're doing the right thing, and no, that opinion is not the result of government coercion.
No. I'm not upset with the current administration. I know exactly the type of people they are and I expect nothing different from them.

I was offering an explanation as to why Goldblum was incorrect in stating that item #4 was not happening now.

nemein
08-12-06, 05:09 PM
I was offering an explanation as to why Goldblum was incorrect in stating that item #4 was not happening now.

I also think #4 is happening now, but I don't think it's limited to just the current admin (ala 1984) EVERYONE who has a message to get across is doing it.

GreenMonkey
08-12-06, 06:14 PM
That's easy. Strip him of citizenship. Problem solved. :)

His association or attempt at association (for our terrorist defenders) seems treasonuos enough to me.

The guy was trying to get a fucking dirty bomb into the US! He should be executed. If you are an "enemy combantant" (which it seems he is), you don't have the same rights as a citizen.

It's exactly this kind of attitude that frightens me. Government says he was in a plot with Al Queda. People think that because of that we can ignore an American citizen's rights and execute him or imprison him indefinitely. No "innocent until proven guilty". No trial, nor even a formal charge of a crime. Just toss 'em in jail and lock away the key, for the SUSPICION. What the hell kind of country is this again?

THIS IS DESTROYING AMERICA. Not a couple hundred fucking people dying on a plane or a some thousands being killed with bombs or whatever. Stripping Americans of their rights. People bitch about terrorists supposedly hating our freedom. America IS our freedom. Congratulations, start removing freedoms and rights out of paranoia. -ohbfrank-

hmmm...let's see...wait...Terrorists hate our freedom so they try to kill us. So our response is...reduce freedoms ...hmmm....wait a minute...something doesn't seem right there...who's winning again?

You can kill Americans by fucking boatload and it's still the United States of America. But some terrorists kill some Americans, and then the government starts stripping precisely these rights and freedoms away that make it America.

Goldblum
08-12-06, 07:01 PM
How is this related to Bush having "control over the press"?!!??
I was wondering the same thing. Wasn't "Newspeak" the press in 1984?

Goldblum
08-12-06, 07:08 PM
It's exactly this kind of attitude that frightens me. Government says he was in a plot with Al Queda. People think that because of that we can ignore an American citizen's rights and execute him or imprison him indefinitely. No "innocent until proven guilty". No trial, nor even a formal charge of a crime. Just toss 'em in jail and lock away the key, for the SUSPICION. What the hell kind of country is this again?

THIS IS DESTROYING AMERICA. Not a couple hundred fucking people dying on a plane or a some thousands being killed with bombs or whatever. Stripping Americans of their rights. People bitch about terrorists supposedly hating our freedom. America IS our freedom. Congratulations, start removing freedoms and rights out of paranoia. -ohbfrank-

hmmm...let's see...wait...Terrorists hate our freedom so they try to kill us. So our response is...reduce freedoms ...hmmm....wait a minute...something doesn't seem right there...who's winning again?

You can kill Americans by fucking boatload and it's still the United States of America. But some terrorists kill some Americans, and then the government starts stripping precisely these rights and freedoms away that make it America.
You're exaggerating to such a degree, it's hard to have a reasonable discussion. The loss of freedoms you are speaking of what exactly...and who are they affecting? Padilla? His incarceration may or may not be justified. But have your freedoms been limited in any way? Your friends? Your family?

Let's be realistic. Jose Padilla does not represent the average American. Dissenters of the administration are not being rounded up to be executed. You and everyone else will have the opportunity to vote in a new administration in 2 years.

Try not to get carried away. I think the danger of a terrorist attack killing thousands is a much greater possibility than Uncle Sam busting down the door of Joe Sixpack, guns blazin' (or even the door of Joe Sixpack's "evil" anti-American cousin).

GreenMonkey
08-12-06, 08:15 PM
You're exaggerating to such a degree, it's hard to have a reasonable discussion. The loss of freedoms you are speaking of what exactly...and who are they affecting? Padilla? His incarceration may or may not be justified. But have your freedoms been limited in any way? Your friends? Your family?

Let's be realistic. Jose Padilla does not represent the average American. Dissenters of the administration are not being rounded up to be executed. You and everyone else will have the opportunity to vote in a new administration in 2 years.

Try not to get carried away. I think the danger of a terrorist attack killing thousands is a much greater possibility than Uncle Sam busting down the door of Joe Sixpack, guns blazin' (or even the door of Joe Sixpack's "evil" anti-American cousin).

Aah, the old "no reason to fear if you aren't doing anything wrong" argument. I believe in freedom and civil rights for ALL americans, not just me and my family.

elperdido
08-12-06, 10:06 PM
Or gullible.

People are trying to KILL you. They want YOU dead. Believe it or not, THIS administration is trying to stop THEM from doing that.

If you were in the UK and the laws that you are against were not in effect, 20 airplanes would've been exploded in the coming week.


I agree with the statement that this administration is trying to stop terrorists. I might not agree with the way things are being handled but I understand the administration is trying to stop terrorists and terrorist acts. Nonetheless, I have a hard time believing propaganda for which I have to give up rights in order to preserve my security. If we have to give up our rights in order to combat terrorism, if we have to become evil in order to combat terrorism, terrorists have won already.

----

I made a comment about how in my opinion you have to be blind as a bat to avoid seeing a considerable increase in orwellian tendencies by THIS administration. Keyword here THIS, not Tony Blair's but our administration-- not the UK but the USA. What relation has 'THIS' administration or my comment with the recently uncovered terrorist attacks in the UK?

Goldblum
08-13-06, 10:41 AM
Aah, the old "no reason to fear if you aren't doing anything wrong" argument. I believe in freedom and civil rights for ALL americans, not just me and my family.
That's not what I wrote. I said, the only person who has anything to fear is Jose Padilla. And you are blowing it out of proportion as if this is happening to all of us.

The worst case scenario is that Jose Padilla is completely innocent and has been held wrongly. In that case, Padilla's civil rights have been violated. But is that isolated incident really different from those who have been wrongfully accused in the past? (The accused 1996 Olympic bomber for one.) No, it's a shame and an isolated tragedy. But it doesn't mean the country is turining into Nineteen Eighty Fucking Four. Get back to me when you have a few thousand more examples.

wildcatlh
08-13-06, 03:39 PM
Try not to get carried away. I think the danger of a terrorist attack killing thousands is a much greater possibility than Uncle Sam busting down the door of Joe Sixpack, guns blazin' (or even the door of Joe Sixpack's "evil" anti-American cousin).

Why not? They do that all the time, and screw up a bunch as well.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6476

wildcatlh
08-13-06, 03:40 PM
That's not what I wrote. I said, the only person who has anything to fear is Jose Padilla. And you are blowing it out of proportion as if this is happening to all of us.

The worst case scenario is that Jose Padilla is completely innocent and has been held wrongly. In that case, Padilla's civil rights have been violated. But is that isolated incident really different from those who have been wrongfully accused in the past? (The accused 1996 Olympic bomber for one.) No, it's a shame and an isolated tragedy. But it doesn't mean the country is turining into Nineteen Eighty Fucking Four. Get back to me when you have a few thousand more examples.

Except that's not the point. The point is that many people find it frightening that, on the President's say so, an American citizen can be incarcerated without trial or access to an attorney, or any of the freedoms we enjoy. It doesn't matter that it's only happened to one person. The point is that it happens, and it's the direct antithesis to everything this country is about.

GreenMonkey
08-13-06, 06:05 PM
Except that's not the point. The point is that many people find it frightening that, on the President's say so, an American citizen can be incarcerated without trial or access to an attorney, or any of the freedoms we enjoy. It doesn't matter that it's only happened to one person. The point is that it happens, and it's the direct antithesis to everything this country is about.

:thumbsup:

Nutter
08-13-06, 07:20 PM
This, I think is the big question. It seems that many people trust Bush with the power to ignore the constitution to do a variety of things, just one of which is to detain without due legal process. However, are these people willing to say that they implicitly trust every future president with those same powers? If you don't oppose Bush now that's precisely what you're saying.

wildcatlh
08-13-06, 07:36 PM
Why do you think they do it? Do you really believe either they are utterly ignorant of the most cherished principles that make up America, or seek to hoard power for the sake of it?

Yeah, pretty much.

nodeerforamonth
08-14-06, 11:33 AM
Here's an interesting article.

The British Way
They say "reasonable suspicion," we say "probable cause."

BY DAVID B. RIVKIN JR. AND LEE A. CASEY
Monday, August 14, 2006 12:01 a.m.

Britain's successful pre-emption of an Islamicist plot to destroy up to 10 civilian airliners over the Atlantic Ocean proves that surveillance and other forms of information-gathering remain an essential weapon in prosecuting the war on terror. There was never any real doubt of this, of course. Al Qaeda's preferred targets are civilians, and civilians have a right to be protected from such deliberate and calculated attacks. Denying the terrorists funding, striking at their bases and training camps, holding accountable governments that promote terror and harbor terrorists, and building democracy around the world are all necessary measures in winning the war. None of these, however, can substitute for anticipating and thwarting terror operations as the British have done. This requires the development and exploitation of intelligence.

Despite this self-evident truth, critics of President Bush and the war on terror have relentlessly opposed virtually every effort to expand and improve the government's ability to gather the type of information needed to detect and prevent terrorist attacks, whether in the form of the Patriot Act's "national security" letters and delayed notification warrants (derisively described by pseudo-civil-libertarians as "sneak and peak" warrants), the NSA's once-secret program to intercept al Qaeda communications into and out of the United States, and the Treasury Department's efforts to monitor financial transactions through the Swift system. These, and similar measures, are among the tools that we will need to finish the job.

In celebrating the British victory--which was achieved with assistance from American and Pakistani intelligence services--it is worth considering some of the aspects in which the U.S. and U.K. antiterrorism systems differ, and what lessons can be learned. Of course, we begin with the proposition that the U.S. and Britain share a common-law heritage, with its emphasis on individual rights and limitations on state power, and many of same basic political values. That said, British law, political culture and sensibilities appear to be far more attuned to the practical needs of preventing terrorist attacks than do their American counterparts. Some examples include the following:

• Criminal investigations. British law-enforcement officials clearly have a more robust ability to investigate suspected terrorist activity than do U.S. police agencies. This is true in a range of areas. For example, traditionally there has been much more direct cooperation between British intelligence and police services; there was never the sort of "wall" between foreign intelligence and law enforcement functions that the U.S. maintained before Sept. 11. Similarly, British officials need not meet the very strict requirement of "probable cause" to obtain warrants that U.S. investigative bodies must satisfy under the Bill of Rights. In Britain, a warrant can generally issue on a showing of "reasonable suspicion."

In addition, the British police have certain extraordinary tools designed specifically to fight terrorism. These include "control orders" issued by the Home Secretary that not only allow the police to monitor terror suspects, but also--although the more stringent ones are the subject of continuing legal challenges--permit the police at the minimum to monitor and restrict terror suspect movements. These orders also enable law-enforcement authorities to identify more easily the overall pool of potential terror operatives, since the close supervision of some suspects requires their undiscovered colleagues to assume more active roles.

• Profiling. Ironically, although today's Britain leans far more to the left than does the U.S., British attitudes toward ethnic and religious profiling appear to be far more pragmatic. In the U.S., the subject of profiling--even as a means of allocating and concentrating investigative resources--is highly controversial, if not taboo. In Britain, law enforcement and intelligence officials clearly target their resources on the communities most likely to produce terror recruits, and further on the most radicalized segments of those communities. They are also able directly to infiltrate extremist mosques, community centers and Islamicist gatherings, instead of relying almost entirely on informants.

• Privacy. Although the British virtually invented the notion of personal privacy--the saying "an Englishman's home is his castle" can be traced at least to the 16th century--the concept is not as broadly defined in law or politics as in contemporary America. For example, virtually all public spaces in Britain are surveilled round the clock by cameras, and the government engages in extensive data-mining operations. By contrast, in the U.S., not only have the courts created broad rights to privacy, above and beyond the Fourth Amendment's requirements, but our society has progressed to a point where individuals are considered by some to have a "privacy" interest in what can only be described as public actions--such as giving personal information to third parties who are not bound by any formal privacy agreement, or participating in widely used forums like the Internet. Indeed, judging by some of the more extreme criticism leveled against war-on-terror policies, there are those who consider as the purest tyranny any compromise of individual autonomy to meet the community's needs.

• Secrecy. Similarly, there is a substantial body of opinion in the U.S. that seems to consider any governmental effort to act secretly, or to punish the disclosure of sensitive information, to be illegitimate. Thus, for example, Bush critics persistently attacked the president's decision to intercept al Qaeda's international electronic communications without a warrant in part because of its secrecy, even though the relevant members of Congress had been informed of the NSA's program from the start. By contrast, there appears to be much less hostility in Britain toward government secrecy in general, and little or no tradition of "leaking" highly sensitive information as a regular part of bureaucratic infighting--perhaps because the perpetrators could far more easily be punished with criminal sanctions under the Official Secrets Act in the U.K. than under current U.S. law.

• International intelligence cooperation. The British national-security bureaucracy is smaller and more tightly knit, and appears to be much less affected by the intense institutional feuds that are commonplace in Washington. Having an intelligence service operate for years in a state of virtual rebellion against its political masters--as has been the case with the CIA during the Bush administration--would be unthinkable in Britain.

Britain also takes a much more pragmatic attitude toward the need to cooperate with regimes, or their intelligence services, that have poor human-rights records. This has periodically been an issue in both countries. The U.S. has cooperated, and does cooperate, with numerous less-than-savory intelligence services. Working with foreign intelligence services (like Pakistan's) with similar interests but questionable practices will continue to be a necessary part of the war on terror.

• Experience. There is, of course, no substitute for experience and there is no doubt that Britain benefits (if that is the right word) from its experience in fighting Irish Republican Army terror. Although the IRA was arguably a less dangerous threat than al Qaeda and its allies--if only because the IRA eventually concluded that minimizing civilian casualties was in its political interests--it was nevertheless well-organized, ideologically committed and vicious. For 30 years, Britain's military and law-enforcement forces investigated, infiltrated, surveilled and openly fought the IRA and won, deriving two important advantages in the process. First, Britain's armed forces and police have been thoroughly schooled in the most advanced techniques of surveillance and counterterrorism. Second, its political establishment and population (obviously, with some exceptions) have become accustomed to the measures, sometimes intrusive and burdensome, necessary to prevent terrorist attacks.

American antiterror and intelligence capabilities have, of course, developed enormously since Sept. 11--and can boast a number of important successes in thwarting potential terror attacks. These include the 2002 arrests of six young men, later convicted for attending al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan; the 2003 arrests of members of the "Virginia Jihad Network" for undergoing paramilitary training; and the recent arrests of seven Miami men accused, among other things, of plotting to blow up the Sears Tower. Moreover, the existence of the NSA and Swift surveillance and monitoring programs indicates that the Bush administration, at least, is fully aware of the intelligence imperatives presented by the Islamicist threat.

The United States cannot, of course, adopt all aspects of the British system; our constitutional systems are really quite different. Nevertheless, there are clear lessons that can be drawn from the British experience--especially in affording the police greater investigative latitude and in accepting some compromise of privacy in exchange for a greater security. Bush administration critics often misquote Benjamin Franklin as having said that "those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither." What Franklin actually proposed was a balancing test: "They that would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." In fighting terrorism, the British appear to have been striking that balance successfully.

nemein
08-14-06, 12:04 PM
In fighting terrorism, the British appear to have been striking that balance successfully.

I would hope so by now as they have been fighting domestic terrorists a lot longer than we have.

classicman2
08-14-06, 12:15 PM
I see on the news that an Alaskan airlines plane is being 'examined' by the police in LA. A flight attendant reported seeing a 'suspicious package.'

bhk
08-14-06, 12:23 PM
http://opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008794
The link for the article posted above.
Interesting that Howard Dean stated that Meet the Depressed that we should be more like the British in fighting terrorism yet his party has fought tooth and nail to prevent us from implementing exactly those type of changes.

classicman2
08-14-06, 12:34 PM
I think a bunch of folks - not just Democrats - have fought the implementation of policies like the Patriot Act.

bhk
08-14-06, 12:36 PM
It's been primarily dems and their allies. Certainly, Harry Reid prematurely preened to his supporters that he had helped "kill" (renewal of) the Patriot Act.

classicman2
08-14-06, 12:45 PM
Speaking of paranoia - MSNBC reported that bird flu was suspected in some swans in Michigan.

Not 5 minutes before, a spokesman for the Agriculture Dept., said on the same network that it was not the deadly strain that we associate with bird flu.

nemein
08-14-06, 01:01 PM
I think a bunch of folks - not just Democrats - have fought the implementation of policies like the Patriot Act.

Between the two parties/sides though from which would you say most of the opposition has come from?

Gallant Pig
08-14-06, 01:32 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060814/ap_on_re_us/flight_evacuated

I'd like to know what this suspicious item was.

GreenMonkey
08-14-06, 11:44 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060814/ap_on_re_us/flight_evacuated

I'd like to know what this suspicious item was.

I'd bet it was a cellphone like the British plane with the similar event. Like my thread about guys being arrested in Michigan for cellphones, apparently, the cellphone is the newest thing to be frightened of.

I'm still falling on the "too much paranoia" side.

bhk
08-15-06, 01:55 PM
http://lucianne.com/routine/images/08-15-06.jpg

DVD Polizei
08-15-06, 07:25 PM
It's paranoia but at the same time, you have blame mixed with it. Something happens. Everybody throws their arms up in the air. Two seconds later, the fingers start pointing.

bhk
08-16-06, 10:01 AM
http://conservativehome.blogs.com/./photos/uncategorized/matt.gif

GreenMonkey
08-18-06, 02:53 AM
It's paranoia but at the same time, you have blame mixed with it. Something happens. Everybody throws their arms up in the air. Two seconds later, the fingers start pointing.

Good point.

Still, we'll be jumping at every single possibly suspicious thing from now to eternity if we keep give in to the paranoia. You can't live life afraid of everything that could be dangerous.