Principalities & Powers

The Tyrant’s Lobby

As American wars go, President Bush’s crusade—excuse me, campaign—against terrorism doesn’t really make the big leagues.  So far, American military action in Afghanistan is not even comparable to the Gulf War of 1990-91, and put next to the Civil War, World War I, or World War II, the current adventure barely registers.  That doesn’t mean, however, that the war business is not proving useful to those ever on the alert to stamp out constitutional freedoms and those dissidents who exercise and enjoy them.

Almost from the very moment of last year’s terrorist attacks, an endless parade of experts, non-experts, wannabe experts, and used-to-be experts have strutted forth on TV, radio, and in the opinion pages of newspapers to explain to Americans how they are going to have to accustom themselves to less liberty; how they had better not complain about standing in line at airports for two hours or more and having their toenail clippers and bottle openers pocketed by an avaricious, largely untrained, and manifestly incompetent security staff; and how we all have to start pulling together to root out the terrorists amongst us.  Of course, as a result of the crackpot immigration policies of the federal government for the last three decades, there are, in fact, terrorists amongst us, and the Justice Department eventually admitted that there are some 250,000 aliens in the United States whom it...

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