The National Security State’s Failure Isn’t the Point
The fact that the national security state failed in stopping the Monday bombing in Boston, while true, is not what those of us who oppose the same national security state should emphasize. Even the suggestion that the already immense security apparatus has failed gives the impression that there is a need for an even more immense security apparatus as the solution. By pointing out it’s failure, we ultimately (accidentally) end up supporting the existence and expansion of police powers which have already grown out of control. What those who oppose these powers should be doing now is trying to ensure this latest incident won’t be used to further curtail rights in the name of stopping terrorism.
Sure, the national security state failed being that it ostensibly is in place to prevent things like this from happening. But before the bombs went off many were rightfully furious over the state’s never ending drive to control our lives for the sake of “security” and we should be just as passionate about this issue now. The NSA’s recent expansion with a new giant office building (and accompanying staff) is just one of the more disturbing developments regarding the police state.
There are more instances though, and the trend has been completely favoring expanding this truly tyrannical feature even further as opposed to scaling it back. For anyone on the left or anyone with even a vague sense of social justice and suspicion of those in power, the government’s obsession with controlling people’s behavior and abusing their rights with intense and widespread surveillance should be a major concern.
We can’t help the side favoring such extensive monitoring and repression (particularly for political reasons) by assisting in building their narrative in the aftermath of a tragedy such as what occurred at the Boston Marathon. We have to fight that narrative and continue fighting and advocating on behalf of individual and political freedoms, so many of which have been decimated after decades of victories for the same side which is and will continue to push for more rights-infringing legislation resulting from this latest tragedy.
Though I’m sure Synoia meant no harm with the post “Boston Bombing Blame….Whom? Protecting us? Complete Failure.” the argument made in that post could be interpreted as one to strengthen the national security state. An argument that would be harmful to people’s rights in general. Again, I agree that the national security state failed, I just disagree strategically for anyone who opposes the national security state to highlight this fact now or ever with the expectation that it might somehow help curtail the police powers of the state. I can see how pointing this out could theoretically be a reason why we don’t need it, but history shows that not to be true. We have to be thinking strategically given what we know are the government’s intentions in this area.
If right-wing extremists are responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing, a likely possibility considering it happened on Tax Day, then we can certainly draw parallels between it and the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City, another tragedy. What made it even more tragic was the “anti-terrorism” legislation which resulted from it. The Clinton administration along with Congress passed a bill that substantially restricted people’s freedoms using the same common scare tactics we’ve become accustom to, and which have already begun to appear again.
For example, one provision of the previously mentioned law allows the prosecution of Americans, who through legal activities support foreign groups accused of terrorism. Leaving aside the fact that the list of groups deemed terrorist organizations by the U.S. is problematic in itself, this provison was part of the justification used to disrupt and intimidate international solidarity activists in 2010 and send a chilling message to the anti-war movement as a whole.
This law, like all other ones related to stopping terrorism, has been turned into another weapon the state can use to repress political beliefs and activities it find threaten it’s own interests regardless if any terrorism is involved. Then of course there was the Patriot Act passed after 9/11 of which most are surely aware. This isn’t to mention the other laws and expanded police-state measures at various levels of government implemented since the Oklahoma City bombing which have contributed to the climate of fear and security now composing the national security state.
The national security state failed. We should grieve for the victims and their families because what happened was truly sad. But we’re never going to get to a point where there is so much security in place that other attacks won’t occur. Even if we could, would we really want to live in a world like that? We should oppose the ones taking this opportunity to push for a more robust police-state. We don’t want rights taken away that are intended to protect us from tyrannical governments. We want an end to the national security state.