Sunday, June 26, 2005

Reducing the Military-Security Complex

American democracy at work

Workers of the World Relax usually tries not comment on temporal, marginal sausage-making political debates in Washington, DC. To paraphrase the poet Dylan Thomas, its best not to soil one's life with politics. However, two Congressional actions of late are worth noting; these actions show how the American political system and its constitutional checks-and-balances can work.

The first action to be recognized is that of Representative Walter Jones (Republican, North Carolina), yes he of the "Freedom (nee French) Fries" fame. Mr. Jones has proposed requiring President Bush to declare victory in Iraq with a troop withdrawl to begin by October 2006. Yes this is a correct step towards deliminating the Administration's hegemonic tendancies, and an attempt at rationality for our declared 'pre-emptive strike' foreign policy by requiring a clearly-defined exit strategy.

The second positive step from Congress is that the USA PATRIOT Act ands its oft-cited over-regulation of the financial sector and its invasion of citizen privacy is being re-evaluated. The House of Representatives voted on June 15, 2005 to disallow previously authorized intrusions into individuals' private behavior from the Act's re-authorization; this is a start. Will the PATRIOT Act library and book purchase privacies now pass the Senate, and will the Act's financial sector over-reach (which increases banking paperwork and drives up costs for the poor, who dont use the less regulated overseas banks) be reduced as well?

Most of the mainstream news-magazines, from Time to The National Review are commenting on the USA PATRIOT Act's re-authorization, again a positive sign of the free press and America's democracy.

It should noted that the Department of Homeland Security (the largest non-military bureaucracy ever created), the PATRIOT Act and indeed our current military occupations are the result of the use of three or four "box-cutters" as weapons on commercial aircraft and that it was not even illegal to travel with boxcutters at the time.

Why did we not just outlaw these boxcutters and call it a day ?

Let's keep rolling-up the slippery-slope government reaction to the 9/11 "box-cutter" incidents. Most importantly we should rethink the politically-centered entangling alliances which triggered these incidents in the first place.