Source: The washington Post
Washington Post Columnist Eugene Robinson's article An Easy Call: Lying, is right on point. Yes, Mr. Robinson, at least now Americans know the Bush administration's name for spying on Americans without first seeking court approval — the "terrorist surveillance program" — isn't an exercise in Orwellian doublespeak after all. It's just a bald-faced lie.When I read Mr. Robinson's article I was reminded of an article I read in Newsweek back in December 2005, Phone Spying: Why Aren’t Americans Outraged,? the article was written by Arlene Getz. In the article Ms. Getz noted that "Back in the 1980s, when she was living in Johannesburg and reporting on apartheid
South Africa, a white neighbor proffered a tasteless confession. She was "quite relieved," she told me, that new media restrictions prohibited our reporting on government repression. No matter that
Pretoria was detaining tens of thousands of people without real evidence of wrongdoing. No matter that many of them, including children, were being tortured—sometimes to death. No matter that government hit squads were killing political opponents. No matter that police were shooting into crowds of black civilians protesting against their disenfranchisement. "It's so nice," confided my neighbor, "not to open the papers and read all that bad news."
She wrote, "I thought about that neighbor this week, as reports dribbled out about President George W. Bush's sanctioning of warrant less eavesdropping on American conversations. For anyone who has lived under an authoritarian regime, phone tapping—or at least the threat of it—is always a given. But
U.S. citizens have always been lucky enough to believe themselves protected from such government intrusion. So why have they reacted so insipidly to yet another post-9/11 erosion of
U.S. civil liberties”?
She also wrote, "I'm sure there are many well-meaning Americans who agree with their president's explanation that it's all a necessary evil (and that patriotic citizens will not be spied on unless they dial up Osama bin Laden). But the nasty echoes of apartheid
South Africa should at least give them pause. While Bush uses the rhetoric of "evildoers" and the "global war on terror,"
Pretoria talked of "total onslaught." This was the catchphrase of P. W. Botha,
South Africa's head of state from 1978 to 1989. Botha was hardly the first white South African leader to ride roughshod over civil liberties for all races, but he did it more effectively than many of his predecessors. Botha liked to tell South Africans that the country was under "total onslaught" from forces both within and without, and that this global assault was his rationale for allowing opponents to be jailed, beaten or killed. Likewise, the Bush administration has adopted the argument that anything is justified in the name of national security." Like Arlene Getz wrote back in December, It's not fair, of course, to suggest that all citizens are indifferent to violations of their privacy and their rights to free speech. Yet, Like Arlene Getz, as I've watched this debate play out, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that Arlene Getz reached, "that not enough Americans really care." Like her
Johannesburg neighbor, they seem to hope that unpleasant news will disappear if you just ignore it.It didn't then, and it won't now. Thank You Mr. Eugene Robinson for your editorial today.
I agree with you and Sen. Patrick Leahy, "Shame on us, in being so far behind and so willing to rubber-stamp anything this administration does." And shame on our congress and our entire nation for allowing this to happen.