October 28, 2006

U.S. Monitors Antiwar Protesters

If you have studied history (or are old enough), you remember hearing about the war protests in America over Vietnam. You probably also remember hearing about how the American government monitored anti-war groups, considering them serious threats to national security.

Since Vietnam, attitudes have changed so that most Americans believe these actions by the government were wrong. In other words, most of us now believe that a democratically elected government has no business spying on its own citizens simply because such citizens are engaged in peaceful protests against government policy. Monitoring the activities of peaceful protest groups simply because they disagree with certain government policies is something we'd expect to find in a totalitarian regime but not a democracy, right?

Evidently, the Bush administration does not agree with what I have just said. Military documents released this month reveal that the Defense Department has been gathering information of peaceful groups of student war protesters. I thought that expressing dissent without fear of reprisal was supposed to be among the cherished liberties enjoyed by Americans. I am happy to see that the ACLU is mobilizing to oppose these surveilance efforts, but the cynic in me is starting to wonder if this whole "war on terror" thing has just become a ploy to exercising greater control over the American people.

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