Debbye at Being American in T.O. posted a letter that appeared in yesterday’s Toronto Sun. In short, the writer was upset by the fact that, while crossing into the United States from Canada with a friend in a van loaded with kids toys and clothes, the US border agents wouldn’t let them pass. The agents suspected that they were sneaking into the US to work illegally.
We were then told that we had to have our fingerprints and picture taken with their new electronic system. “Blame the criminals that could have been caught if this system was implemented years ago,” was his reasoning.
When is this violation of people’s rights going to end? I am no criminal, I have a perfect record, and now I am in the mass U.S. database. How long can things like this continue under the guise of “War on Terrorism” and “Homeland Security”? Will they not be happy until the entire world is tagged and catalogued and under surveillance?
The Toronto Sun responded with
(Unfortunate, but even before 9/11 U.S. officials took a dim view of anyone who crossed the border with a load of belongings, while claiming they weren’t planning to stay. That’s their job)
Sir, you and your friend (clearly not a US citizen) do not now nor have you ever had the “right” to go to the United States just because you are citizens of Canada or any other nation except the United States. You do not now nor have you ever enjoyed any “freedom” to pass the border into the United States unless you are a citizen, and anyone who took it for granted that non-citizens had the right to cross the border, as the letter writer says he did, took for granted something that never existed and, in fact, never pretended to exist.
(Emphasis in the original.) Go read the whole thing.
I don’t think that anyone enjoys tighter security. I don’t think anyone enjoys watching New Years Eve in Times Square or the Super Bowl with that nagging idea in the back of their mind that someone sure could hurt a lot of people all at once if they tried.
The fact is that WE ARE AT WAR.
A lot of people pretend that we aren’t, of course. And they seem to get a lot of satisfaction out of pooh-poohing those who claim we are.
“If we let security and surveillance interfere with our daily lives then they’ve already won,” is a favorite of theirs.
Well, when the people in 1940 London turned off their lights at night so German bombers couldn’t see their targets so easily, did that mean the Germans had already won?
Why is it that so many of the same people who are mad that the CIA didn’t do more before 9/11 are mad today when the government tries to do more? Not that I’m defending the Patriot Act in toto, but most would agree that something has to be done, no?
Then when something is done, they bitch and moan about how their freedoms are disappearing. Often they go onto television to discuss how they’ve lost the right of free speech. Whatever sense that makes.
On 9/11/01 everyone said nothing would ever be the same again. Now everyone is mad that nothing is the same as it was before.
This is the Fourth World War. It’s going to last a long time.
In the comments to that post, someone wrote (in part)
More to the point:
“We are resolved to do what we can to stop the use of terrorism as a tactic and, in too many case, a strategy and even a principle.”
This is a mistruth. The clearly stated truth should read “Americans are concerned with acts of terrorism inflicted on Americans”. Let’s be clear–the US isn’t losing any sleep over the regular acts of terrorism that happen throughout, say, Africa.
That reminded me of a comment to this post which indicated that we should not focus on stopping harm being done to Americans but on stopping harm being done to anyone.
That is wrong.
My response is
The US government’s responsibility is to the people of the United States. If/when those interests are served by protecting the people of another nation, we will do it. But not for the express purpose of protecting those people. We will do it because it serves us.
Mad that Canada isn’t doing as much to protect Canadians as the US is doing to protect Americans? Don’t cry to the US. Happy that Canada isn’t doing as much? Well, there you go.
But if Canada isn’t doing enough on ITS side to make the US feel secure on ITS side, the US will make up the difference.
Anything else would be dereliction of duty.
The American government is there for the American people. We must be sure that we don’t do good at the expense of others if we can help it, but the fact is that the American government exists to serve American interests.
That means, more than anything right now, winning the war.