The New Alarmism

Chuck Murcko
Fri, 21 Dec 2001 18:28:00 -0500

Let's compare & contrast a few things:

In WW2, we put 400,000 Nisei into internment camps in Utah/Wyoming/Idaho 
and other points west of the Mississippi for the duration. I believe we 
also picked up a number of German- and Italian-descent folks too, but a 
much smaller number.

In 911, we've picked up 5,000 Middle Eastern men and released about 
4,000 already.

In WW2 we had all the security tightening we've seen so far, and then 
some. Amateur radio operators were forbidden to transmit for the 
duration. There was no 'net. Americans were cut off from other countries 
except for censored mail. Travel was restricted and fuel was rationed as 
a national priority. Guns were being voluntarily collected and sent to 
Britain, which had banned them, for defense against a planned German 

In 911 we've got select military tribunals, and a bunch of vaguely 
"peace of mind" legislation (some proposed, some already adopted), 
homeland defense, and ideas like national IDs being bandied about. IMHO 
anyone who gets peace of mind from a national ID has no clue what the 
term means. Amateur radio is still on the air, and the 'net is still up. 
PGP is the rifle over the mantlepiece. So is the rifle over the 
mantlepiece, still. No mail censorship yet either, unless you're mailing 
powdered sugar around, perhaps. Britain has once again banned guns, but 
owns Smith & Wesson now, so they can kiss my @$$ if they think they're 
getting any of mine.

In WW2 Congress declared war on Germany, Italy, and Japan.

In 911 Congress declared war on no one. This one's running like Vietnam, 
on executive order (with a resolution of Congressional support similar 
to the Gulf of Tonkin resolution), and we might all agree on what a 
total political cockup that was. This is what worries me the most, this 
being an executive order war.

In WW2 when the war ended, the sanctions and restrictions were lifted. 
Treaties of unconditional surrender (BTW that was the great gaffe of 
Roosevelt at Potsdam, that term) were signed by the vanquished so it was 
clear things were over.

In 911 the Federal government will decide when the war's over. No one's 
defined that point yet, and that's quite bothersome to me.

In WW2 we capitalistically deified the Chief Executive (on the US 10 
cent piece, eventually). The country was run by a Democratic 
administration which had also gotten the country out of an economic 
disaster blamed on the Republicans, no matter how you view their methods.

In 911 we've watched a supposed stooge Republican President give us all 
a lesson in character and rising to the occasion during crisis. The 
Democrats are still whining about Florida, for God's sake. The economic 
woes now occurring began during a Democratic administration, though they 
have mightily striven to pin the blame on the current one.

One last observation: the most repressive places I've visited in the 
last 10 years aren't Dubai or the UAE, they're our own schools here in 
the US. Voices of dissent are regularly suppressed, even booed off the 
stage, in these supposed sanctuaries of openness. Even K-12 reminds me 
more of a concentration camp than an educational institution with some 
of the downright ridiculous "zero tolerance" (at least they're honest 
about the fascism) policies in place. My son's not even allowed to carry 
aspirin for a headache, for crying out loud. I've long since grown tired 
of insisting on being referred to as a Czecho-Slovakian-American by some 
faculty party PC @$$hole insisting on being referred to as a 
whatever-American. Frankly it's a relief to see people refer to 
themselves as plain American once again. And get whacked upside the head 
enough to think about what it is we have here in the US that's actually 
good. Maybe a few will even learn we are *not* a democracy after all. 8^)

It seems to me that many of the people complaining now were just fine 
when political correctness was the order of the day; it's pretty clear 
they loved to dish repression of ideas out (as well as slamming other 
people's values when they were different) but can't take the heat when 
the worm has turned and things have tightened up in a crisis. Whiners. 
And setters of the stage for further repression, taking no 
responsibility for that or anything else. You know, the "Sicherheit uber 
alles" (safety above all else) crowd. The ones with armed bodyguards, if 
they can afford them.

That said, I'll either be relieved to see a declared end to this 
undeclared war and its restrictions on personal freedom, or I'll be 
helping wage a real war to take them back. Those wishing peace of mind 
by national ID or repressive law will no doubt still be cowering in the 
urban canyons and suburban sprawl either way. Good luck to them, either 

All just my $0.02, please try to remember. Have a great holiday. We now 
return you to the regularly scheduled FoRK debate...