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United States Government Privacy

Lincoln's Surveillance State 343

Posted by Soulskill
from the abraham-lincoln-terrorist-hunter dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The N.S.A.'s program is indeed alarming — but not, from a historical perspective, unprecedented. And history suggests that we should worry less about the surveillance itself and more about when the war in whose name the surveillance is being conducted will end. In 1862, after President Abraham Lincoln appointed him secretary of war, Edwin M. Stanton penned a letter to the president requesting sweeping powers, which would include total control of the telegraph lines. By rerouting those lines through his office, Stanton would keep tabs on vast amounts of communication, journalistic, governmental and personal. On the back of Stanton's letter Lincoln scribbled his approval: 'The Secretary of War has my authority to exercise his discretion in the matter within mentioned.'"
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Lincoln's Surveillance State

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  • It was wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 06, 2013 @07:14PM (#44205915)

    It was just as wrong then as this is now. Of course, people back then couldn't even dream of having such advanced surveillance technology.

    • Re:It was wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gmuslera (3436) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @07:42PM (#44206059) Homepage Journal
      Today is different. Is not just surveillace on a small portion of the people of US. We are talking about basically everyone in US, plus most of the rest of the world population, intruding in places/people that have diplomatic immunity, and hacking/sabotaging foreing companies and institutions, while claiming that hacking are acts of war. But i suppose that i could compare the Everest with a pebble, saying that is just a bit bigger.
    • Re:It was wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by westlake (615356) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @08:05PM (#44206191)

      It was just as wrong then as this is now.

      It is 1862.

      Fort Sumter surrendered in 1861. Washington DC borders on Virgina facing off against the Confederate capital a bare 100 miles away. You are an idiot if you don't secure the only means of communication in the world that moves reliably at speeds greater than a normal walking pace,

      • Re:It was wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @08:20PM (#44206267) Journal

        It was just as wrong then as this is now.

        It is 1862.

        Fort Sumter surrendered in 1861. Washington DC borders on Virgina facing off against the Confederate capital a bare 100 miles away. You are an idiot if you don't secure the only means of communication in the world that moves reliably at speeds greater than a normal walking pace,

        That is, of course, the other pernicious implication of any civil war comparisons: from the perspective of the US Government, the civil war actually was most of the emergencies and exigencies that people like to invoke when demanding expanded powers. At no time since the revolutionary war(which actually might have ended fairly quietly, had the rebels lost, with a bunch of executions of notable rebels, followed by pragmatic write-off of the rest and a canada-like trajectory) had things looked nearly so dire. Even the world wars were basically Europe's problem, with us intervening at arm's length as our interests dictated, and the Cold War could have gone hot and really fucked up everybody's day; but unless it actually did, things were mostly quiet.

        Anybody who, implicitly or explicitly, asserts anything even close to contemporary threats of Civil War gravity needs a smack with the cluebat.

        • Re:It was wrong. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by dkleinsc (563838) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @11:00PM (#44206985) Homepage

          At no time since the Revolutionary War ... had things looked nearly so dire.

          I can think of a point when things looked nearly so dire: 1814, the British (Canadian mostly) Army invaded, captured Washington D.C., burned the White House and Congress's meeting buildings to the ground, leaving President James Madison on the run in the face of a vastly superior force desperately trying to round up militia units to repel them.

          But yes, anyone who doesn't think the Civil War was a serious threat to the US needs to have their head examined. Yes, the USA was in a superior strategic position to the CSA, but the CSA put about 10 times the troops in the field than the USA had ever faced before.

        • Anybody who, implicitly or explicitly, asserts anything even close to contemporary threats of Civil War gravity needs a smack with the cluebat.

          Except that Lincoln could have ended the war at any time by just letting the South go their own way. We have no "easy out" with Al Qaeda. Unlike the Confederacy, they want more than to be left alone.

          • Re:It was wrong. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @11:15PM (#44207051)

            Anybody who, implicitly or explicitly, asserts anything even close to contemporary threats of Civil War gravity needs a smack with the cluebat.

            Except that Lincoln could have ended the war at any time by just letting the South go their own way. We have no "easy out" with Al Qaeda. Unlike the Confederacy, they want more than to be left alone.

            But there are hardly any of them and they have no money and have never directly caused significant damage to any nation. They're like five hundred times less dangerous than the tobacco industry. We have no "easy out" with a few angry two year olds in Bermuda, either, but that doesn't really matter. Just put a reasonable amount of resources toward fixing the problem, and not through mass killings that just lead to another generation of Al Qaeda, and stop spending hundreds of billions every year to fight a few hicks with a budget ten thousand times smaller than that.

            • Re:It was wrong. (Score:4, Interesting)

              by The Grim Reefer (1162755) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @12:54AM (#44207369)

              But there are hardly any of them and they have no money and have never directly caused significant damage to any nation.

              Are you fucking kidding? They've probably cost the US (and other countries as well) more money than any other single entity. The stock market had to be shut down for three days following 9-11. Air traffic was halted and the nation was at a standstill for a week. After everyone finished shitting their pants we got the "Patriot Act", the Iraq war and the TSA. We've lost more freedoms than I could count, the TSA is a huge money sink. Not to mention that 9-11 was the single biggest loss of civilian lives in an attack on American soil in the history of the US.

              That being said, I do agree with you. Way too much money has been spent(wasted) in the name of "stopping terrorists". But I'm sure you're aware it has nothing to do with this any longer. It's just an excuse for a massive ongoing power-grab. Even so, they still dealt the US a more significant blow to the civilian population than Germany or Japan ever did on our own soil. And with considerably less resources. Don't ever trivialize that.

              • Re:It was wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @02:20AM (#44207565)

                All those things didn't happen because Al Quida attacked. They happened because people overreacted to the attack.

                Compare 9/11 to, for example, the July bombings in London. Look at what the UK government did: Grumbled, cleared up the wreckage that was obstructing roads, and got things back to normal. Within a couple of days the city was running as normal again. A criminal investigation was launched, the surviving conspirators charged, and the issue done with. That's the appropriate response to a terrorist attack: Clean up and get over it.

                The death toll from 9/11 was equal to approximately one month of traffic accident fatalities in the US. Even 9/11 just didn't manage to kill enough people to be statistically noticeable. It was the panic that did the real damage - overreaction cost far more in every way than the attack itsself.

                • Re:It was wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by oobayly (1056050) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:02AM (#44207793)

                  I think it needs to be said that cleaning up a few Tube stations and and exploded bus is a little bit easier than the mess left over after the Twin Towers collapsed (as well as the hole in the Pentagon).

                  However, you are absolutely correct - the overreaction has been insane (the UK hasn't been as bad, but then we started off with less rights in the first place).

                  Compare the most recent attacks in the US & UK:
                  US: Two (clearly sub-par intelligent) men decided to bomb the Boston Marathon - they managed to kill only 3 people because the set the bombs up right where all the medical staff were. Instead of the Government portraying them as a pair of bumbling loners, they cast them as Uber-Terrorists by leveling a WMD charge.

                  UK: Two men attack Lee Rigby in Woolwich. Their job is then completed for them by some people (who want their 15 minutes of fame) who ensure that the reasons for the attack are broadcast to the world*. The Government charges them with murder, plain and simple.

                  * Somebody asked "are you telling me nobody should be told why they did it", and my answer is "absolutely, yes". Why do people need to know the reason for the attack, what possible reason could they give that would make you think "yes, running a man over and then beheading him in the street was a rational thing to do?" The attack wouldn't have taken place if the two men knew that they would be arrested and charged with murder without anyone knowing their reasons - as far as I'm concerned, terrorism is a form of attention seeking, and the way to deal with attention seekers is to ignore them.

          • Except that Lincoln could have ended the war at any time by just letting the South go their own way.

            And then what happens if New York secedes. And do the slaves get to go their own way?

          • Except that Lincoln could have ended the war at any time by just letting the South go their own way.

            Establishing the precedent that any state that wanted to leave the Union could just walk away. As any state with a disagreement could threaten to secede, the eventual complete dissolution of the Union would become inevitable.

        • Who was Lincoln? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by emil (695) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @11:20PM (#44207063) Homepage

          Most people find this enlightening:

          http://www.nps.gov/liho/historyculture/debate1.htm [nps.gov]

          I will say here, while upon this subject, that I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and the black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary, but I hold that, notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. [Loud cheers.] I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many respects-certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to eat the bread, without the leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man. [Great applause.]

          Lincoln was a lawyer, and a politician. People attribute something profound to him. I have doubts.

        • Re:It was wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by kermidge (2221646) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @04:21AM (#44207833) Journal

          "Even the world wars were basically Europe's problem..."

          World War II cannot, I think, be fairly considered a basically European problem. Take a gander once at the parties involved, where they were involved, and the scope of that involvement. Factor in the economic interests in the several geographical areas. I believe it safe to say that WWII was the first truly global war in all aspects. While there were areas of relative quiet - South America, except for arms, ores, and espionage - and several nations claimed neutrality, that in no wise diminishes the scope of that war.

          One thing to keep in mind is that at the time the parties to our civil war expected that there would be some sort of resolution, an ending. Ditto for WWII.

          For decades, the only presumed end to the Cold War was a hot one. That it ended with such a marvelous whimper is a first in history given the extent of the global entanglements, and keeping always in mind the staggering level of forces arrayed. Even towards the end, with the hopes attending the various nuclear force restrictions and later reductions, for instance, a peaceful end to it was hardly a foregone conclusion. While most nowadays credit Reagan for outspending the Soviets, I suggest it was as much the close-run accidental loosing of the nukes on several occasions that sobered up the generals like nothing else, coupled with the simple fact that we were also bankrupting ourselves - we just were better able to cook the books using credit float.

          Even with the huge profits throughout the military-industrial complex, amidst planners' requirements to be able to fight 2 1/2 land wars, the bleakness of most forecast ends to the Cold War (including our own impending bankruptcy) forced the complex's acquiescence to that end. So other outlets were needed - the largest arms selling the world has seen, and, just in the nick of time, Sandbox I and II and the side jaunt into Afghan land.

          While our economic woes and structural weaknesses preclude Cold War-level spending, we do now at least have two wars without end: The War on Drugs, which has been a steady source for contracts and votes, and The War on Terror, which is a gold mine for many of the players. And, because the second especially is so serious, the requirements for intel are also serious - and so the latter day passing of all comms through NSA in lieu of Stanton's office.

          We have always been at war with Eastasia. For those in power, what's not to like?

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        You miss what the interception of communication was really all about. It was not about war it was all about politics. Just like the fake war on terrorism, it is all about political control, not just within the US but globally and has very little to do with keeping people safe from attacks by backward peasants hiding in caves and primitive villages.

        All about keeping the military industrial pig trough flowing and keeping those people who would protest against it silenced, not just the public but also elect

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Even then it was a huge amount of access. Ie, they had the capability of snooping on every single telegraph line. There may not have been that many of them but that meant that it was easier to snoop them all. Probably they had it easier than today's government.. Ie, have a team of 50 soldiers back then and you could monitor nearly every line, but today you have to filter things out because there is far too much activity.

      I think a lot of people forgot just how far the Lincoln administration went away fro

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by dreamchaser (49529)

        Lincoln was a despot who trampled the Constitution far more than any modern President has, and the changes he started led to the situation we have today where the Federal Government is all powerful compared to the States.

        Was he right or wrong? I really can't say, and it's a question I've struggled with. The fact remains that it's quite politically incorrect to talk about his despotism. Instead everyone seems to revere him.

        • Well, we revere all our military leaders...the more blood-thirsty, the higher the reverence. Perhaps it's not the type of reverence one wishes to be known for, but it is a form of reverence.

          The ultimate question will be, was allowing the federal government to become stronger, under his watch, a mistake? Was it always an inevitability that the federal government would begin using terror drones at home, and include the heavy use of propaganda as a way of life, or was this, purely, due to Lincoln's influence?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 06, 2013 @07:15PM (#44205919)

    With an actual conclusion eventually reached. An ambiguous war on terror doesn't really have any sort of end date, unless we can somehow wipe out terror on Earth.

    • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @07:40PM (#44206049)

      It's not hard to wipe out terror. I mean what, did you think people just sat down on a Friday afternoon and said, hey I'm bored, let's blow up a building? Let's strap a vest packed with fertiliser based explosives to our chests and go take a last ride on a bus?

      Terrorism is created when people are cornered and feel they have no other option, vastly outgunned and outmanned. Oh there's a great hue and cry that the dishonourable terrorists aren't standing there getting mown down on a field of battle like proper upstanding folk, but they chose to win rather that die. It was the same in Ireland, the same in the Middle East, the same in Vietnam, the same everywhere some farmer puts down his plough and picks up a sword after his last child steps on a mine. If you want to stop terrorism stop going out there fucking with other countries. Simples!

      This is not a type of war any advanced country can win. Find another way to live or accept the price. Leave them alone and let them stand or fall on their own merits.

      • by Motard (1553251)

        Unfortunately, it isn't quite that simple. We (the U.S.) left Afghanistan alone until they were invaded by the Soviet Union. Then we gave them weapons which would help them to get their country back. We they did, we left them alone to sort out the aftermath for themselves.

        We left Iraq alone (and even helped them in some ways). Then they invaded Kuwait and we had to kick him out. bin Laden hated us for this. Not because we were interfering, but because *he* wanted to do it (and to take over Iraq). Whe

        • True enough. Nonetheless look up what happened to Iran, or read Smedley Butler's famous speech. The US has been writing cheques it can't cash for a long time now. So have China, Russia, the UK, most European imperial-aspirant powers, and the bill has only just begun to come due; not my desire but the inevitable turn of the world. Even Joe six pack has to reap what he sows, in the end.

          They have my sympathy but not my pity.

          • by Motard (1553251)

            Smedley Butler has a famous speech?

            It would be a long slog to look at what happened in Iran. So many things have. Even if we just looked at the part from 1979 to present.

        • by causality (777677) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @09:16PM (#44206559)

          Unfortunately, it isn't quite that simple. We (the U.S.) left Afghanistan alone until they were invaded by the Soviet Union. Then we gave them weapons which would help them to get their country back. We they did, we left them alone to sort out the aftermath for themselves.

          Afghanistan is the perfect choice for an indefinite perpetual war. Look at the history. No one, and I mean no one, has ever been able to conquer those people. The Afghans simply will not surrender and it's impossible to annihilate them short of nuclear weapons. The Soviets couldn't do it and the USA couldn't do it. They have lots of experience at wearing down superior opponents.

          It's the perfect choice for a controlled war that doesn't touch your own home soil and lasts as long as you need to pass whatever legislation you want. After all, "Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia".

          • by Motard (1553251)

            Many nations have tried to conquer Afghanistan throughout history. The U.S. isn't one of them. They have the same books in Annapolis and aren't completely stupid. The initial phase of the war (taking Kabul) was accomplished, thanks in chief to the Northern Alliance, with fewer than 100 personnel on the ground.

            It has the lesser goal of establishing a stable indigenous government which will function within the context of the international community. Unfortunately Pakistan has played a not so helpful role.

      • by causality (777677)

        Terrorism is created when people are cornered and feel they have no other option, vastly outgunned and outmanned. Oh there's a great hue and cry that the dishonourable terrorists aren't standing there getting mown down on a field of battle like proper upstanding folk, but they chose to win rather that die. It was the same in Ireland, the same in the Middle East, the same in Vietnam, the same everywhere some farmer puts down his plough and picks up a sword after his last child steps on a mine. If you want to stop terrorism stop going out there fucking with other countries. Simples!

        Sun Tzu's Art of War, Chapter VII, # 36:

        When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.

        Some translations I have read word the second sentence like "desperate men will fight very hard".

        I believe our leaders (the ones you see on TV who run for office, and the powers behind the throne that actually get those into office) understand these things. They're despicable, sociopathic, without morals or ethics or qualms, and completely dehumanized, but they are not stu

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      And the war was a civil war. The enemy was Us, or related to Us by blood. Not so today.
    • Granting powers to someone at "his discretion" has nothing to do with limiting those powers to wartime.

    • With an actual conclusion eventually reached. An ambiguous war on terror doesn't really have any sort of end date, unless we can somehow wipe out terror on Earth.

      Let's check with Strategic Air Command... they aren't what they were in their heyday; but they might still be up to the task.

    • We're fighting them so we don't have to fight them over here, buying time for our scientists for complete their work on Prozium, which will make terror but a distant memory ...

    • So, let's shut it down. All people for the war on terror will be cut off from the power they so love. And like an uprooted weed, it will wither and die.

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @07:17PM (#44205933) Journal
    Do I really need to say anything more?
    • by amiga3D (567632)

      Kind of like when you found out there wasn't really a Santa Claus?

    • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @07:43PM (#44206061)

      That's why I'm a progressive. The America that the conservatives want never existed. But, the America that the progressives want at least is theoretically possible to some degree.

      • by AuMatar (183847) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @07:48PM (#44206095)

        If we're realistic, we'll never get there either. But we can push as far as we can in that direction, rest and recover, then push again. That's the history of the progressive movement- massive wins for a few years/a decade until society has had enough change, then a period where society pushes back. Happened in the 1910s, happened in the 1930s, happened in the 1960s. We're in the push phase now.

      • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @07:50PM (#44206103)

        Values shouldn't be chosen based on a pragmatic look at what's realistically possible - they should be derived from a conviction regarding what is right and just.

        • by artor3 (1344997)

          What if I think it's right and just to build the best society that's realistically possible?

      • Huh? Since "theoretically possible" doesn't mean desirable, surely this isn't the reason.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by russotto (537200)

        That's why I'm a progressive. The America that the conservatives want never existed. But, the America that the progressives want at least is theoretically possible to some degree.

        Yeah, but we already HAD the Soviet Union, and it was worse. Why would you ever want it?

        • by causality (777677)

          That's why I'm a progressive. The America that the conservatives want never existed. But, the America that the progressives want at least is theoretically possible to some degree.

          Yeah, but we already HAD the Soviet Union, and it was worse. Why would you ever want it?

          Because they've been sold this crazy idea that by destroying the middle class, you will somehow elevate the poor. The problem is, the middle class is the backbone of the economy. Without a functioning economy, people get desperate and rule of law is the first thing you lose. Hypothetically speaking, you just might find out that the "1%" you thought you were sticking it to are the ones with supplies, guns, guards, and contingency plans.

          If you really want to stick it to the 1%, stop believing the horse-

        • by dryeo (100693)

          Was the Soviet Union worse then Czarist Russia? From what I know it was mostly an improvement for the average person and if Stalin hadn't entered the equation the police state stuff would have been close to how things were under the Czars. Shit the Soviets went from a feudal based agricultural system to a space capable industrial system in less then 50 years with a war that killed 10s of millions of Russians in that period of time as well.
          Just as the Soviet Union reflected what came before, a progressive Am

      • And what, pray tell, do the progressives want to mold their America as? Have we not increasingly embraced progressive policies, as well as conservative ones, to our detriment?

    • Which America, exactly, did you believe in?

      The America I believe in matches close to Winston Churchill's description, "Americans always do the right thing, after all other possibilities are exhausted."

      It was an America built of immigrants who wanted to stick it to the man, or the king; but thought carefully about what a free government should look like.

      It is an America that says, "all men are created equal," but compromised and enshrined slavery in the constitution.

      It is an America founded by coward
      • by dmbasso (1052166)

        The America I believe in matches close to Winston Churchill's description, "Americans always do the right thing, after all other possibilities are exhausted."

        1. go to youtube
        2. search for any long presentation on politics by Noam Chomsky
        3. disregard any of his personal opinions, just listen to his history lecture
        4. come tell me with a straight face that "Americans always do the right thing, after all other possibilities are exhausted."

        Alternatively, for a quicker argument, replace 1 - 3 by "1. Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Obama".

    • by dmbasso (1052166)

      The cultures of a lot of countries support the brainwashing of children with blind patriotism, just as religion does with faith. To believe in a cause without good reason (or even fake reasons) makes it much more prone to succeed (as in maintaining itself, or growing). The problem is people that are trained to behave this way are susceptible to being mislead (how many Americans died because of Bush's lies about WMDs on Iraq? how many kids could have been saved from being molested if the Catholic church didn

    • Do I really need to say anything more?

      Yes. To say it's "not without precident" is just wrong. It's a stupid thing to say, and you should feel bad for saying it.We're in the information age, not some pre-industrial, largely agricultural-based society. It'd be like saying "Ghenghis Khan once gave an order to intercept carrier pidgeons of his enemies, so it's not without precident." And in terms of the amount of difference between the two societies... pre-industrial America was closer to Ghenghis Khan's world than ours is today.

      And what's this cra

  • by aitikin (909209) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @07:48PM (#44206089)
    He also suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus, which was later overturned. Lincoln was a great president, but he wasn't perfect (and anyone who says that anyone is perfect has more issues that I care to deal with). I'm sorry, but why should the attempted "wire-tapping" of the average citizen surprise anyone in this case?
  • by nadaou (535365) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @08:02PM (#44206163) Homepage

    And history suggests that we should worry less about the
    surveillance itself and more about when the war in whose name the
    surveillance is being conducted will end.

    In other words, the ends justify the means, and historical
    precedence makes it ok to do commit whatever crime you like.

    I wonder if the author feels the same about the WWII internment
    camps for Japanese? We won that war, so it's all ok, we can do that
    again, right?

    Or the way the Native Indians were treated? We eventually grew a
    great nation on the land so that was all ok too, and we are
    justified in doing the same in future for other lofty goals?

    We define our nation by the society that we create through our
    actions. Don't try to feed us this apologist bullshit two days after
    the 4th, we have it in our power to be better than this.

    • by causality (777677)
      You, sir, make me regret having already posted in this discussion.

      Someone, please mod this up. I get tired of the consequentialist mentality myself.
  • So Obama is like his hero, Lincoln, after all

    • So Obama is like his hero, Lincoln, after all

      Lincoln is infamous for jailing hundreds of his vocal critics, including the editors of any newspaper that was critical of his policies.

      Watch out, @ggreenwald, the next tyrant rises.

  • A little off topic, but pertinent all the same. The events as of late have had me wondering: if the majority of the American people are driven to revolt in similar fashion to the Arab spring type revolts (that our government overall praises), would our own military fire on us if ordered?

    A couple of years ago, I may have very well modded this question down.
    • I remember reading a post a while back to the effect that when a dictator wants his police and army to be willing to fire upon the people by his orders, he first will typically orchestrate events that cause the police and army to develop an "us vs them" mentality toward the civilian population.

      I've known a few people in the military who obviously think that they're better than a civilian by virtue of their status.

      • by wjcofkc (964165)
        I am glad I posed the question. These responses, especially yours, have been enlightening.
    • by iggymanz (596061)

      if a certain small percentage of the military refuse to attack civilians, the whole chain of command breaks down. But we have another group, the DHS, national police in training, who are being indoctrinated with "the people are the enemy" attitude and the local police are being conditioned to be subject to them.

    • by dryeo (100693)

      If the government can demonize the protesters the army will fire on them. In previous days just labeling the protesters as commies would have been enough. Now perhaps labeling them terrorists, especially if some acts of terrorism happen, whether committed by the protesters or agents provacator. The army is a captive audience for the propagandist.

  • Many nations have constitutional provisions to temporarily suspend laws when there is a threat like a war.

    Even a philosopher like Jean-Jacques Rousseau recognized the need for such temporary measure, which are legitimate because they in line with the general will of the People, who do not want the nation to be destroyed because of its own laws.

    But the key word is temporary: that should be short and to solve an identified problem.Todays US surveillance state is another beast. The war against a given terrori

  • Is there anyone here beside me getting the feeling that the submissions of late have a certain...smell(?). Perhaps it is honey I smell.

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