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 Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.  George Washington 

THE QUESTION

There has been a whirlwind of legislation in America over the past ten years; statutes which both add to and convolute our already oppressive society.  So, I figured a little insight into living under these laws might be timely.  There are so many, so I’ll just address what I think are the most pointed.

After September 11th, pretty much that hallmark date that the government chose to institute such sweeping change, the right to speak out against government pretty much equated to speaking for terrorism.  I mean come on now.  Don’t you see the nexus?  Homeland Security does!

Then with this Patriot Act (Can’t imagine why they chose that name!) privacy and the law to document ‘probable cause,’ that bare minimum of evidence of a crime, went right out the window.  Those Justice and Homeland Security officials know what they’re doing.  If they say they need to monitor all phone calls, e-mails, bank accounts and commercial travel, there must be a good reason.  And they really don’t need to be bothered with those pesky little rules designed to keep government honest.  Honestly, if your banker or grocery store clerk didn’t have any one looking over their shoulders or have to keep a ledger, you could trust them, right? 

And since the government’s dealing with all these nefarious types, the likes of which have been around since the beginning of time, like people who decide that they have the right to attack those who never attacked them (Iraq!), then what’s the big deal if we just put them in a prison and not allow them: to know what it is they’re being held for; face their accusers; seek counsel; have their day in court; or even let anyone see, let alone know they’re alive? 

Now that we’ve come that far, what’s wrong with letting the government, that body of fellow citizens which generally falls a few degrees south of the moral center, apply a little creative interrogation?  After all, how can you expect them to bring the proper charges if they don’t know what the guilty party did?  Just because we say we’re going to kill them, murder their wives or rape their daughters, it’s not as if we’re really going to go through with it! 

Oh OK, so a few died; what’s the big deal.  If they hadn’t been so strong willed they’d probably still be alive.  Besides, they were more than likely guilty of something anyway.  At least that’s what the CIA said after they destroyed the tapes, that is!

So, here’s my question: 

If you were to be approached by any number of our pervasive federal law-enforcement community today, be it FBI, CIA, DHS, NSA, DEA, ATF, IRS, CBP, INS, USMS, SS (Secret Service), EPA (Yeah, they carry guns!), Blackwater (Contractors count too!), etc., and were ‘requested’ to accompany them for reasons stated or not and you believed that you had done nothing to deserve such attention, then what would you do? 

Here’s a little something to consider before you answer:

Once in the custody of said supposed law-enforcement officers, you may not be afforded any opportunity to: know what it is you allegedly did or were thinking of doing; be allowed to face your accusers; have legal counsel; permitted a court; or even let anyone in the outside world know that you’re alive.  If you’re thinking that the odds of this are so miniscule as to not even rate, then I must inform you that where the odds may be in your favor, a number of fellow citizens whom have done nothing wrong either have suffered this precise fate.  Oh, that’s right, I forgot.  You probably didn’t hear about most of them because if they talked they would be subject to Part Deux. 

The Patriot Act permits the government to threaten and prosecute anyone who divulges anything that may pertain to national security.  Well, if you were the agents or Justice (Gulp!) officials who thought they could get away with prosecuting someone just because they looked like a bad guy, you’d invoke national security too.  They’re one in the same you know.  National Police = National Security!

And here’s the icing on the cake.  Once you’ve ‘consented’ to go along with these alleged law-enforcement officials, you have given up any and all rights that you thought you had; because, ignorance of the law is no excuse.  If you are a citizen of this nation today, then unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, then there is no plausible rational, let alone excuse, for not knowing what the law of the land is.  What with all the press and hype regarding rendition (unlawful kidnapping or extradition), denial of due-process and torture, not to mention, summary executions, or accidental death depending on how you look at it, no citizen today can say that they didn’t know that this could happen to them.  This takes us back to my question; which I’ll rephrase.

If you knew that you could lose all rights, to include the right to live, would you willfully, consent to accompany those who are not held to any standard of accountability or law?  Would you be willing to subject yourself to strip searches in front of others, to include the opposite sex?  Would you give up your right to counsel?  Would you give up the most basic of human decency, of being permitted to inform your loved ones of your whereabouts?  And quite naturally, your loved ones right to know your whereabouts?  Would you agree to being slapped silly for over thirty minutes and slammed into a wall?  Would you consent to be placed naked in a cell, have hypothermia induced and be sleep deprived?  Would you willfully consent to a mock drowning; which as it turns out, may become your last cognizant experience on this earth?  Only for those who subjected you to such inhumane treatment to be afforded all rights and protections, that you were denied?  We don’t see any of them being prosecuted now do we?

Or would you stand up as a free man, denounce these perversions of law, and fight for your very life?  Here’s a little hint.  It’s a trick question. 

You see, if you’re waiting for that knock at the door to answer the question, it’s too late.  You’ve already given your tacit consent; because while you stood silently when they took away your fellow man, your fellow countrymen even, you made such perversions of law, lawful!  By and through the removal of your First Amendment Right, which you have acquiesced to, you gave your tacit (silent) consent to such inhumane treatment by those you entrusted with your very freedoms; namely the federal government.  No?  Well, when all this came to light, did you write, do or document anything to apprise your government that these horrors were not only done contrary to the Supreme Law of the Land (Constitution), but that you demand that these crimes and criminals be prosecuted?  Well?  Because if you didn’t, then you did then and do now approve! 

Today, that’s the world most Americans have heretofore consented to. 

So, the question is:  What are you going to do now?

Brian Kilcullen

Enemies in War