L. Neil Smith's
Anti-terrorist Laws Will Create New Terrorists
by John Bottoms
Special to TLE
To their credit, some media pundits, and even their federal masters, are talking openly about the unintended consequences, or "blowback" (www.commondreams.org/views/050400-103.htm) from the war on terrorism. For years our government has blundered like a blind man from one foreign policy debacle to another, justifying their irresponsible policies with cynical pragmatism. In this context, pragmatism means that today's actions have an unknowable effect on the future. It is an attempt to revoke the law of cause and effect in affairs of state.
Americans now understand blowback, as we all wait for the other shoe to drop. Will these Middle Eastern terrorists be able to pull off another stunning act of destruction? Will the Musharraf government in Pakistan be toppled by radical Muslims, providing them with nuclear bombs? Will the dispirited Saudi regime finally topple under the weight of its own corruption? Will Israel ignore its American handlers and pursue a "final solution" against its Palestinian tormentors?
Nobody knows the answers, though we do know it won't be pretty.
But Americans have yet to think through the blowback from our new USA PATRIOT Act (www.cga.state.ct.us/2001/rpt/olr/htm/2001-r-0851.htm), which empowers federal agents to tap your phone, intercept your emails and web browsing choices, clandestinely enter your home and copy your private information, snoop in your finances, and incarcerate for indefinite periods those they label "terror suspects". This new law only legalizes the piecemeal destruction of the Bill of Rights which has been going on for years. Not far off are National ID "smart cards" based on Larry Ellison's Oracle software (www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,48482,00.html), and travel permits if you choose to drive to avoid the indignities and inconveniences of air travel. Of course, in this new environment federal cops will have nearly unlimited de facto powers, for what judge is going to stop them? The same one who refused to put Lon Horiuchi (www.metnews.com/articles/hori091701.htm) on trial for the Ruby Ridge and Waco murders?
Thousands will refuse to be searched, numbered, dehumanized and treated as cattle or subjects of the state. These will be the ones who remember and value what it is to be an American, and refuse to submit. Increasingly brutal enforcement will drive them underground if they don't die in firefights or languish in the new gulags built to house them.
In short order, these people won't be able to fly, take a train or bus, get a driver's license, have bank accounts or credit cards, send their children to school, have telephone, power or water services, or legally own firearms. For support, they will form communities with others like themselves: refugee camps within America for this new class of American refuseniks in our war on terrorism.
Like Europe's gypsies, they will be blamed whenever crimes go unsolved, and in fact many will resort to petty crimes to survive. Politicians like Hillary Clinton will denigrate them as racist breeding grounds of hate and hotbeds of spouse and child abuse. Some of them will be the same stubborn, independent-minded people the paranoid liberals have hated all along, part of Hillary's "vast right-wing conspiracy", but most will be just folks who refuse to be debased by the state. There will be calls to clean up these camps "for the children." Eventually, these people, who just want to live free and be left alone, who are willing to endure poverty and social ostracism, will become objects of government-sponsored "social service" pogroms, sold to the voters as a kind of "clean up the slums" campaign.
From this environment will spring a new generation of home-grown American terrorists. These people will be hardened by poverty, filled with hatred for a country that turned on them, and prepared to die for their cause since they have little to lose. In short, they will be exactly like those men who destroyed the twin towers, and the war on terrorism will have truly come home.
It will be another horrible irony that the very steps we take to avert terrorism will bring it right down upon our heads. It would be funny if it wasn't so awful.
Should this scenario come to pass, we will doubtless hear the usual chorus of Imperial sycophants chime in unison, "They only hate us for our freedom and prosperity." Sound familiar?