The Hoover Institution has published a very troubling article titled 'America's New Security State'. It examines the way in which the 'security establishment' now dominates the US government, and is trying to do the same to every aspect of US society. Its author, Prof. Angelo M. Codevilla, introduces the topic as follows.
After 9/11 our ruling class came together on the proposition that, at home as well as abroad, America is at war against enemies so evil that there must be no limit to fighting them, whose identity we must always seek but can never know; that to focus on, to “profile,” the kinds of persons who have committed terrorist acts, is racist and provocative; that any American is as likely as any other to be a terrorist, and hence that all must submit to being sifted, screened, restricted—forever. Childhood in the “land of the free, the home of the brave” must now include learning to spread-eagle and be still as government employees run their hands over you. Patriotism is now supposed to mean obeisance to the security establishment, accepting that the authorities may impose martial law on whole cities, keep track of all phone calls, or take whatever action they choose against any person for the sake of “homeland security,” and that theirs alone is the choice whether to disclose the basis for whatever they do.
While the Obama administration ceased to use its predecessor’s term “war on terror” to describe its actions abroad, it redoubled commitment to “homeland security,” reorienting it to home-grown “extremism” defined ad hoc. The result seems less compatible with words such as “peace,” than with “Oceania,” the country in which George Orwell’s novel, 1984, is set.
There's more at the link. Troubling indeed - and something of which we all need to be aware.
One of the things that worries me most about this over-emphasis on 'homeland security' and the 'security establishment' is that the latter appears to have no idea of how vulnerable it is to countermeasures. I've seen in four nations, over three decades, how the employees and officers of military and law enforcement bodies could be (and were) targeted by dissidents, guerrillas and terrorists. In particular, if the agents of the State could not be targeted at work due to their security precautions, then their families became targets at home. I saw literally hundreds of cases where their wives and children were assaulted, burned out of their homes, raped, and murdered. It took a terrible toll on the agents of the State and on their colleagues, because none of them could predict when the same might not happen to their family. Some left their jobs as a result; others became even more hard-line, arrogant, authoritarian and domineering (which, of course, only made the problem worse). Attempts to house their dependents in safe areas where they could be provided with additional security failed to solve the problem, because sooner or later they would need to leave the protected area for some reason - and at that point they became vulnerable again.
I hope and pray I never see the day when an overreaching US security establishment causes that sort of reaction among those it oppresses . . . but I'm a student of history, and I've seen too much in a sometimes unpleasantly adventurous life. It may well happen here too, if people are pushed too far; and that may cause a cycle of repression, reaction, counter-repression, counter-reaction and so on ad nauseam that might disrupt (if not destroy) many lives. As I've said, it's happened before. There's no reason whatsoever why it should not happen here as well.