WASHINGTON, September 9, 2014 — Public officials are getting nervous; every cop, intelligence operative, SWAT officer, and admiral is on high alert.
It’s going to be 9-11 again on Thursday.
Flash: September 11 happens every year. Our parents weren’t freaked every December 7; Belgians don’t get weird on May 10, the anniversary of the daring German raid on Eben Emael; the British and Germans don’t wait up late on Christmas night, fearing another rout at Trenton; and Egyptians don’t stay up all night each June 5, the anniversary of the Six Days’ War.
In Waco and Oklahoma City, no one sweats the coming of April 19, when the mass killings took place in 1993 and 1995, respectively.
Of course, September 11, 2001 is more-recent than these events, and the planners aren’t all dead. September 11, 2012 (Benghazi) is even more-recent, but, as Hillary and her apologists say, so long ago.
But a smart terrorist won’t attack on a symbolic day, to do the greatest damage. Maybe September 10, just to be rude; or the 12th, after everyone’s guard is down. Or some other day. With 365 days each year from which to pick, a terrorist has all the advantage.
Nevertheless, our myriad governments will pay a lot of overtime in the next few days for the TSA to fondle more toddlers and grandmas and for local police departments to make more traffic stops — being careful to stop ethnic-looking people in proportion to their ethnicities’ appearance in the general population; and pundits will lament how many of our freedoms have been lost, in the name of the War on Terror.
Which is the point: As President Obama’s first chief of staff, now Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel famously said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” He was right; when people run scared, they want to be saved, even if it means, in that moment, giving up rights they will never regain.
9-11 was a horrific event. Therefore, it presented a marvelous opportunity for governments to step on our rights. “If you are not with us, you’re against us,” President George W. Bush famously said as his “Patriot Act” unrolled, smothering large parts of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments and cowing civil libertarians.
“It’s difficult to imagine what more must happen,” President Clinton said, speaking in Oklahoma City during the summer of 1995, “to get Congress to pass this bill.” He was referring to the Counterterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, which set up true Star Chamber courts in which even the defendant’s lawyer may not be allowed to see evidence against him.
President Franklin Roosevelt started his Executive Order 9066, “Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities …” Every possible…? That’s what he said in early 1942; the only limit he placed on the military was their imagination.
The Constitution be damned, or at least pushed aside, in spite of Fred Korematsu’s best efforts. Reparations were delayed half a century, by which time most of the victims had passed on, and long after FDR was outside the reach of the impeachment trial he deserved.
So, the lesson for us, as the horrible anniversary comes and goes, is to stay vigilant. Watch for suspicious activity, on 9/11 and the rest of the year, but watch out also for governments that come bearing promises of safety, which they don’t deliver, at the price of liberty, which they are always trying to take.
Copyright ©2014 for CommDigiNews, by Tim Kern. All rights reserved.