Gen X at 40

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gerald berke -

There is something in 9/11 that rises to a threat level that affects the survival of the nation: George Bush.
It is time, now, to rise up and declare war against this false president and his administration.
It is this kind of destruction from within that Lincoln warned us about: "as a nation of free men, we must either live forever, or die by suicide".
Wake up my sleeping brothers and sisters. Save this nation for your children.

Alan -

Err...we are in Canada for the most part. Where can we sit to get the best view?<p>In an unrelated note, it is interesting to find this blog post already referenced back on the NYT Op-Ed page as some sort of manual trackback.

Alan -

And something called "The Huffington Post" has a long comments section triggered by this essay.

Arthur -

(eyes rolling)

OK, to entice David, 9/11 was the defining moment for live TV broadcasting.

David Janes -

That was in reference to the first commenter. As for the overall theme of this thread: "too early to tell".

Alan -

When will it be time?

David Janes -

At least a generation, I think -- there's so much to play out yet. It's pretty darn difficult to objectively (best effort) place something into the canons of historys when one has an emotional attachment to the event or its after effects.

GR -

I am not a paranoid type, but I worry that 9/11 was small potatoes compared to what may happen someday. I am not sure much can be done about it either. Religious fundamentalism is A) certain that its beliefs are correct and B) seems to hate the other guys' strongly held beliefs. It appears to me that attacking Iraq has the look of a crusade, and we will feel the backlash in the west. An Afghan warlord I heard interviewed said 'kill one terrorist and make 15 more'. Will there be an escalation?

Alan -

Oh dear, David. I hope that is not getting close to what has been described by others of a cruder disposition elsewhere as bedwettery. Remembering that terrorism did not start at 9/11 is a way of helping with the beast of fear's perception. Air India, Bologna train station, Oklahoma City, my own Parisian experience...you would be locked in a constant state. That was the nice thing about worrying over the 17 nuclear warheads the Soviets had aimed at Halifax. There was a certain definitiveness about them.

David Janes -

The issue that 9/11 is small potatoes to what may happen someday is exactly what has driven the response to that event -- that the 9/10 world of just letting things happen is not sufficient when we're almost certainly going to be facing a number of nuclear armed advesaries within a generation, some of who relish the idea of those weapons being used. Remember also OBL's comments about strong and weak horses and his belief that the US will take whatever his friends choose to dish out.

Obviously people having varying opinions on how best to deal with this stuff but I'm somewhat pleased by the current course of action, seeing that historically speaking weakness has only goaded monsters. Whether or not Iraq has the appearance of crusade is of little consequence IMHO; there will always be some post facto explanation to provide rationalization for the actions of countries, groups and individuals in the Middle East which appear more to me to be grounded in hatred, xenophobia and good old fashion racism.

I'm not sure what Al is getting at with the bedwettery stuff; I'm certainly not afraid for myself or my family about anything in particular. Perhaps I was not clear enough in my statement: the polarized reactions to GWB, some of which border on clinical insanity, was more of what I was thinking about.

Arthur -

That was the nice thing about worrying over the 17 nuclear warheads the Soviets had aimed at Halifax. There was a certain definitiveness about them.

Or a single missile hit anywhere in Europe, could have vapourized the Benelux and environs. From military training, I remember discussions about (combat) strategy: We had to imagine a large gathering USSR force breaking through frontlines, racing through Europe. As part of the ground based forces, our goal was to win as much time (by targetting command and control) as was required by NATO to have countries agree to counterstrike with nuclear missiles. (I was smart enough to question my drills about some of these issues, but I'm sure the whole platoon was aware that if there was a going to be war, our single effort on our 'mounted artillery' (this is a self-link, so you don't have to click it) wouldn't make a damn difference).

(end rant)

Alan -

Fair enough but I am not filtering my experience through GWB or in relation to his politics. But it's that idea of "9/10 thinking" which I suppose is the nub of it. You can go out in the world and kill people with rockets on suspicion that they are in a space with a baddie or kill more precisely in an JTF2-organized man hunt, with which I agree and I am not that concerned with ultimately as it, too, is not new at all. <p>You will remember the Gibralter IRA action, for example, as an indication of what the pre-9/11 world included. Millions also did die in my lifetime - Cambodia. Friends of friends died in IRA pub bombings. So it is the idea that there is something new in post-9/11 that I think is odd and it reminds me of pentecostalism and the perception that the personal experience of the present makes for a special cumulating time in history worth changing personal and national values over.

David Janes -

Well, this is another reason that I think we have to wait a generation to find out the place of 9/11. I'm reading Vengance by George Jonas right now and it's remarkable how commonplace terrorism was in the 1970s. Stuff that if it was happening today would be dominating the headlines ... and yet, quite frankly, I had no idea of the scale or scope.

Americans do tend to have a long cultural memory though for nasty things that have happened to them, so since everyone is going so far out there way to drag an opinion out of me :-) I think certainly 9/11 to Americans will be remember on the level of the Alamo or Pearl Harbour. The events, that is, not the car rental place or the Ben Affleck movie.

Alan -

Yet they forget what happened to McKinley just 105 years ago.<p>I suppose I was so much in tune with the terrorism of the 1970s because I was a BBC World Service nerd and also a US news radio geek as a teen. Hence my disdain for those who think the information era started with the web. I recall listening at 13 to news of the 1976 raid on Entebbe from a Philadelphia station as soon it was reported.

Flea -

"It is completely understandable that those who lost loved ones on that date will carry emotional scars for the remainder of their lives. But it defies reason and experience to make Sept. 11 the defining influence on our foreign and domestic policy."

The problem with this chap's argument is twofold. First, that seriousness is in any sense determined by the importance of emotional scars. The Titanic certainly left people scarred - arguably a whole civilization that still refers to the disaster as a touchstone for such - but was in no sense a threat to the Republic or its allies. This in no sense means the Titanic disaster and the massacres of September 11, 2001 call for a similar foreign policy. It is a matter of apples and oranges. Second, it is true that losing a city or two to nuclear armed NGOs like al Qaeda or a few dozen cities held to ransom by Iranian or North Korean nuclear weapons may not be comparable in scope to all out war with the Soviet Union or the loss of WWII to the Nazis. But neither is the threat of nuclear armed NGOs a trifling matter. To follow the Economist's metaphor: just because your basement has flooded does not mean you are wise to cancel your fire insurance.

Alan -

But the national nuclear threat is not new, only supposedly the terrorist nuclear threat. The chess game with nuclear proliferation nation to nation has been active since 1945. I think, further, that a survey of pop movies from the pre-9/11 era would confirm that the fear that a terrorist group would use weapons of mass destruction for evil ends. I am thinking of the entire James Bond movie series. <p>What is different is the introduction of that "Fear of Flying" aspect - not unrelated to the pentecostal self-absorption. We have a collective obligation to be more scared to ensure we are taking it seriously even though the threats are largely those that we have always faced and, according to the 9/11 Commission and other forms of objective analysis, that there has not been a wholesale shift in the success of how the West or the USA is responding to threats to urban centers. We are called to ernestly seriousness in the face of the same risks and not necessarily improved response strategies. What we fear is that as soon as we drop the general collective unproductive focus on our fear, the next terrorist event will occur despite the best efforts of our diligent civil and military officers whose efforts are preofessional and technological and not affected by the fact of our collective general unproductive focus on our fear.

ry -

Damn it. I spent about an hour on a reply, hit the post button, and it got eaten. Harrumph.

David Janes -

I think the left (and I'm going to put you in that bucket, in a non-judgemental sort of way) tend to be overly focused on _fear_ as the response to 9/11. Certainly it's been argued in the states by many Democrats is that fear drove voters into the arms of the Republicans. This has never made much sense to me. Is Bill-Joe in Alabama afraid that Al Qeada is going to blow up his favorite bait shack? Probably not (and in fact may relish the opportunity).

To me, it comes down to the core functions of government, namely, defence. Defence, policing and control of other violent related activites are what governments are _supposed_ to do. Perhaps _anger_ is a better word, which I'll ask you all not to confuse with _rage_, a somewhat different beast.

Ry: you probably could have pushed the back button to get it.

Alan -

Actually I see it as the right that use the fear and I think it is exactly that fear of fish shack crime. It is the Democrats who say (if you can find a voice in the incoherence) that there has been overly broad over-reaction in the retraction of liberties.<p>

I feel your pain, ry. We will sit quietly as you retype. David can use this time constructively to work on his glee club application.

David Janes -

Right: the left claims that the right is using fear. But if this was true (or effective, anyway) we'd be seeing right wing people being afraid of terrorist attacks and I don't know who they are or where they live. Afraid/fear is not the same thing as "worrying it could happen and taking a course of action to stop it from happening again".

Which liberties have gone missing?

Alan -

Are you kidding? While I deny the left/right as a clear distinction, read the right wing blogs on the state of security and all you read is about the end of the world coming via the next attack. The left frets about how far the right is prepared to go in eroding libery in reaction to their fears.<p>I think your last senence is glib and even you know it: the recent Patriot Act renewal and warrantless surveillance discussions are entirely about the loss of autonomous liberties.

David Janes -

That's not being afraid -- that's saying we should be prepared. Being afraid is:
- losing sleep (passim many leftish types after seeing _The Day After_)
- preparing to move to another country
- (etc)

I am not being glib: they are traditional wartime powers, as far as I know are the ongoing state of affairs in most European countries [*], and the affect in 99.99999% of the population is neglible. Demand showing of ID cards on the streets is a serious loss of liberty, detention of citizens without warrent is a serious loss of liberty, the RICO act is a serious loss of liberty. Computers monitoring transatlantic phone calls to specific countries or to specific people is not. Monitoring non-citizens from hostile countries is not.

[*] I'm correctable about Europe, I haven't done much research here.

Alan -

You have this weird pattern of calling people who disagree with you "the left" and not requiring any other real characterisitics for that label. I do actually think agreeing to the bargaining away of your internal autonomy is fear-based and denial of that is part of the fear.

David Janes -

How am I supposed to identify them? Do you think my characterization is wrong, in a "handgrenades and horseshoes" sort of way?

As for your latter sentence: absolute nonsense. If Joe Canadian was worried about loss of liberty and rights, he'd be much more concerned about this disgusting modern day subversion of our rights (as opposed to the traditional way for the state to penalize wrongdoing).

Alan -

I do think it is too broad and easy. We need to create an agreeable and universal lexicon for the belittling of others.

David Janes -

Well, the intention was certainly not to belittle, except maybe the Day After comment and that was more about losing sleep over a TV program than their politics. I just read through everything I wrote this morning and I really can't see anything particularly nasty.

Alan -

And merely by way of example of the loonie new triumphalism, you have to check out the nuttiness the good if dovetail challenged Nicholas R. quoted from this morning I am sure as an example of the unacceptable and extreme. Proof that tin foil is an equal opportunity form of head gear.

Flea -

The only fear I have encountered since September 11, 2001 is (pretended) fear of the current President and (pretended) fear of the PATRIOT Act. What I have not encountered is public concern about the actions - and failure to act - of our own Canadian government and any apparent understanding that Canada's civil liberties before, during and after the PATRIOT Act were, are and will be less extensive than those of our American cousins.

I quite agree the problem of WMD armed NGOs or asymmetrically inclined states existed prior to September 11, 2001. Of course it did. The trouble is almost nobody except Tom Clancy took these threats seriously. What has changed is that for many people in government, military and policy circles finally understood that handfuls of people were prepared to engage in acts of spectacular, non-rational evil and consequently decided to start imagining actual responses to actual contigencies. That we have been radically unsuccessful to my mind only suggests how unprepared we were, how devilish is the human capacity for harm and the bewildering fact that even after the massacre so many people (on the left and the socon right) cannot find it within themselves to take the problem seriously.

Alan -

While I sat out on the lawn when Gwyn Dyer's <i>War</i> had just concluded and was very much taking it seriously, I do take the point that Bond always sank the floating missile platform just before he made out with the babe. Yet I still am not clear, though I do take it seriously, on whether we have been radically unsuccessful or radically successful as terrorist acts post-9/11 have only been on the decidedly pre-9/11 scale, ie Bali roughly approximated Oklahoma City as London did Balogne. It is for that reason that I find the essay referenced way up top so interesting. As we are factless about the enemy in large part - certainly in relation to the capacity to perform operations in the West - how will we know when it is over and where we are in the path to that victory? Is it disloyal to discuss it?

David Janes -

Well, I 95% agree with what David Warren is saying in that particular quote so I guess I'll have to go get my tinfoil also. Is there some particular part you disagree with?

As for the issue of disloyalty, is there a specific accusation that's bothering you? I don't want to seem like I'm throwing everything back at you here, but it's hard to deal with the emotive accusation without the substantive backing.

Why don't you bring the "path to victory" topic up again on Friday -- this could take a while.

ry -

I could've used the back button, but the Wife needed to be driven to school(meaning I had to go too). Grrr.
Luckily, it's Mon so I can fart around, the joys of being a grad student.

1) The fear issue. Both sides use it, and they use it like ketchup on liver. They slaver it all over.
Look at the Patriot act and the bit about being able to get library records. Who ran around saying that it was a 'chilling effect' on free speech and that it would ultimately be used by gov't to stomp out dissent because it was all a conspiracy by the militaryindustrial complex? Would that be THE LEFT?
Who constantly uses 9/11, and that it changed everything(Sean Hannity), as an excuse for everything from ending Posse Commitatus to renaming stuff Freedom____? That would be the right.
Both sides rely so much on playing on its constituencies rational and irrational fears it's silly to see what I see as otherwise intelligent people playing hot potatoe on the issue.
This isn't meant to be faux centrism(because I'm not a centrist) or ecumenical. Just slapping people with a flounder to get them back to normal.
Both the political right and the political left rely heavily on fear. It's the best motivation. We see it every election cycle with 'This is what will happen if the opposition comes to power' type commercials and speeches.
9/11 is no different. Both sides have drawn the lines where they're most afraid and hit those points often and hard.
2) The definitiveness of nuclear war.
I've been looking at this since I grew disenchanted with Punk, Ska, Counterculture, and Anarchism(about 1988).
THe fear you felt over the Cold War ending with a bright flash and no world was an artifact of the paranoia that existed at the time. Rational study of the policies, and abilities(little known or talked about fact is that the Polaris SLBM didn't work. We based deterence by bluffing that the Ruskies would be afraid that the missile would work), of the time show we weren't gonna die. Fact: both NATO and the WARSAW PACT had defensive policies in relation to the use of nuclear arms. NATO would only use them if an invasion of Europe occured. WARSAW would only use theirs if struck first or if invaded(little chance of that since Containment was the policy, not Rollback).
What both sides wanted had a lot to do with it too. NATO wanted a world. The Sovs wanted a useable world for a world Soviet to exist in. Having 50 acres of arable land was not what they wanted.
But that didn't stop people from writing songs about it. Didn't stop people from writing articles in TIME in the most fearfilled prose.
So, as the Flea kinda alluded to: it's not what you feel(emotional scars) about something, it's the reasoned or provable threat.
THe idea of SPECTRE or some other NGO using a nuc in such a manner is not new(TOm Clancy and Sum of All Fears dates from the mid 80s). The ACTUAL threat is about 15 years old(the fall of the Sov Union and the possibility of cash strapped Russians selling warheards is from about 1991) or DPRK/Pakistan being able to sell a nuc is about a decade old(though there is alot of data to the effect that DPRK doesn't have a tested and viable weapon yet). It's like horror films/stories. We like to scare ourselves, but the comfort is that it's not real. This is now real and not just scary fiction we watch or read to give ourselves a thrill. That's a big difference, and carries a similar definitiveness as the idea of 3 nukes aimed for Nova Scotia or Reno, NV.
3) McKinley. Sigh. After seeing the response to the Rosenbergs and the plastic surgery Sacco and Vanzetti got you wonder why nobody remembers McKinley---he was shot by someone who would be right happy singing Le Internationale by the way. Given how the modern narrative is about flase reasons for the Spanish-American war you wonder why McKinley isn't well remembered or recieved? The Alamo hasn't been undone the same way 'Remember the Maine!' has.
History, or pop-history, hasn't been very kind to McKinley. That's unfortunate, because when he died the national outpouring was not to be matched until the death of JFK.
4) 'The Chaps argument'
How can you take anyone who's decrying buying propoganda seriously when he's spewing a narrative utterly steeped in propoganda(old, and accepted as truism propoganda, but propoganda non-the-less)? Doesn't that defy logic(if assumptions the argument is based on are false isn't the conclusion?)?
Neither Imperial Japan nor the Nazis had dreams of world domination. That's just false. Japan wanted to be dominate in Asia with its Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The US stood in its way. A different, less antagonistic policy would've obviated the need to attack the US. But at no time was the Republic of the US ever in danger from Japan as they had no plans, EVER, to invade CONUS. THe NAzis wanted Europe, or large sections of it for Liebensraum, but didn't have plans for North America. No threat to the Republic. But his central thesis is that what he put down as his top five all were threats to the existance and very survival of the US. His central thesis is BS. WW2 never was about the survival of the US. So right there he's gone astray, and the fact that he's a history prof ignoring this is a bit angering.
THe question of where to place 9/11 and whether things are being done out of unreasoned fear are decent questions, but this guy stole too many intellectual bases. His argument falls apart. But it's no surprise that something stressing civil liberties violations by a conservative ran in the NYT now is it?
5) Todays terrah ain't you daddies terrah(Bush speak)
It's true, it's changed over the last 20 years(even Munich was constrained to Israeli targets, the one cop was by product. THe real target was Israel and Israelis.).
It used to be constrained to a region or to a single issue.
ETAs attacks are limited to Spain and France(who occupy Basque land). FARC largely targeted only Columbians. The IRA, largely(though the Gibraltor episode shows the change in patterns), targeted only Brits and Oranges in either Britain or N. Ireland. PFLP, PLO, Hamas, Hezzbollah, etc., largely kept their violence in the west bank(and moving ops to Lebannon was a shift).
That's not true anymore.
Lockerbie was for why? The German disco was for why? Attacking non-combatants, non-participants to get political pressure placed on the actually involved party.
They've shifted the schwerpunkt from the minds of nations directly involved to nations tangentially involved. FARC wants something out of the Columbian gov't? They kidnap a westerner. Want to make Israel change policy? Attack a westerner. Want the Sauds to obey the Sharia according to Wahabi interpretation? Get their masters(the US) out of the region so they have no support and have to become more fundementalist. Want the Brits to change policy about the 11? Attack them in a foreign country to get the second country to put pressure on the Brits.
The center of gravity has shifted. Once the Sov Union was gone, and they have admitted this and is backed up by KGB archives, and not funding terr groups anymore these groups were no longer directed to fight as simple proxies in part of a program of 'Wars of National Liberation'. They went off to figure out how they were going to bring their own visions to be, and the best way to get it(this isn't new. Jimmy Carter's administration wondered about the 'Arc of Instability' that ran from N. Africa thru the ME).
The new terrorism isn't going to be limited to regions or single issues. The targets are no longer gov'ts in the locales in question. It's the percieved seat of power: the West and the US in particular.
6) THe goals of the terrorists.
I get so sick of people assuming, left or right, that the goal of groups like aQ is to destroy the US or global domination. It's not. The strategy may involve attacking the US, but the goal is not the destruction of Liberty or the US(or Canada, or France, or...). For the Islamicists it is the rebirth of a Moslem Empire. Period. Full stop. Go no further.
Anything we do in terms of domestic politics is of no consequence to them(unless it offers them a security exploit or a PR coupe). The US could become a fascist state for all they care, but as long as it was an obstacle to their goal of a reborn Caliphate it'd remain a target. We could all become Moslems, and they wouldn't care as long as we impedded a Mohamedian Empire in the ME. And they do see US action acrossed the world as an impediment.
They don't want to bring down the US. That isn't within their capabilities(though it would help achieve their goal of a reborn Caliphate if you think about it). All they want is for the US and the West to end its activities in the Levant and an Islamic Empire. Period. And they will keep attacking until they get that by making us scared enough, the general public that is, that our gov't cannot protect us that we'll give it to them. (So yet again one of the premises of the op-ed fails. Being a serious threat to the existance of Republic of the US is not one of the terrorists goals.).

The problem is the US cannot give them what they want. We don't have the power to give them al Andalusa back. We also don't have the strength of conscience to not go and preach about women's sufrage and private property. We just don't. We couldn't stop people from going over there to do it even if the gov't wanted to. But they will continue this flawed strategy(attack the US and Westerners to effect policy that will make the realization of their dreams of Empire happen) and that leaves us no choice to but take the offensive(we can't capitulate because we lack the ability to give them what they want).

And then there's what JoA would say: They farqin' started it, but we're gonna GD end it.
7) Like this response is out of character for the US.
how did we respond to Lockerbie and the discotecque bombing? Libya wound up getting out of the terrorism game after we bombed them.
How did the US respond to the Bonnie and Clyde, the Barker Gang, and Baby Face Nelson? It sent the FBI out to get them in very rabid, very bloody fashion.
How did the US respond to communists trying to use agents to alter US gov't and US pop culture response to global communism? With Joe McCarthy and a shifting of HUAC from its focus on the KKK to communism(he was an over zealous a$$, but he was proved right(Alger Hiss, a few of the Blackballed Hollywood writers admitted to putting pro-USSR themes into the movies---infowar, Alan.)).
How did the US respond to a mere telegram from the Kaiser to the gov't of Mexico? By declaring war.
I really don't know why the rest of the world is shocked by the US response. We are rabid when there's a percieved or actual threat to us. It's best to leave the bulldog sleeping. Someone made the mistake of waking him up.
8) Where to place 9/11 in historical terms?
I don't think any of us can do that. Not objectively. We're to close to it and the to attached to the eras we lived in and the events that shaped/act as mile markers in our lives. Those things are about our identity, and most of us(myself rather prominantly) are unable to move beyond our own identity. We can't properly place 9/11 because that would compromise ourselves(those growing up in the age of Nuclear Death AND those whose major historical event is 9/11). It's like BabyBoomers not being able to see that the Kennedy assassination was no more significant than the McKinley assassination. But they're so tied to it that it MUST be a big deal.
So, it'll probably have to be some kid born 30 years from now who properly places 9/11 in the record. Not for any of us to do.
(damn, the first one was better).

Alan -

That is fine to disagree - though I find the Warren bit as foolish as anything I have seen in the new triumphalism of the rural overlords. It is the height of the vacuous slander to be that absolutist without any regard for the helpful reality of actual example, with the supreme example of the telling use of scoffing quotation marks of no substance around "child-care facilities" - up there with "heh" as all that is needed the new logic. Thoughtless NuThought farce but readily lapped up. Each clause a void of moral majoritarianism of the new self-satisfied ruling minority.<p>I am aware, however, of the value of the joint performance art aspect to this as well, coming to accord through discordance. We are players working towards better understanding as always.

David Janes -

Fair enough about the "triumphalism" of Warren. For a counterpunch (antitriumphalism?), read any of John Barber's columns in the Globe and Mail during the last week, the point of which is "some day we will have enough population to put those hicks in their place and take their oil". <a href="
http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&tab=wn&ie=UTF-8&q=source:globe_and_mail+barber+west">read it for yourself</a>.

ry -

Alan, let me try and show you how I think about this NSA and PATRIOT act thing.
Is it a loss of autonomous freedom when a cop pulls me over because he thinks I'm driving erratically? No. He's got a profile he looks for. Though I'm not drunk('cause Ry's a teatotaler, sorry) I was doing something that caught his eye so he looks.
Same with the NSA. Something looks suspicious. So they look. If there's nothing there they go on their way and leave you alone(just like an erroneous traffic stop). If you're doing something wrong they notice it and act preventatively.
Checking out certain books that go hand in hand with a particular forensic psychological profile fits(and did you see Rammer's post about how that library search of internet files actually could've been useful in a bomb threat in Massachusettes last week?) as well.
'Hey look, that's odd. Let's look at it. Oops. It's nothing' That may be inconvenient, but it's not an errossion of freedom.
And my philosopher brother has lots of things to say about what you percieve to be liberties in the US and what actually is gauranteed liberty in the US(he leaves the Great White North alone).

Alan -

Ry - well done. David - are you and I not urban-based hicks?

David Janes -

I keep the turnip truck idling in the driveway, just in case.

Alan -

What about this .m3u formate audio report recently on NCPR, ry, on stopping US citizens within the North Country?<blockquote class="smalltext">there are also dozens of border patrol checkpoints on smaller roads across the North Country. The Border Patrol says they’re a critical second line of defense for stopping terrorism and smuggling. But some citizens and civil liberties groups say they’re an invasion of privacy and may not be very effective.</blockquote>

David Janes -

Internal passports -- very very bad. Passport to enter a country -- normal. However, I don't think it would be wrong to restop someone who has just crossed the border. Whether or not this is effective for anything is another question.

Alan -

Interesting visitor this morning:<p><center><img src="images/2006/holyoke.jpg" vspace="20"></center><p>Via the refer logs and a hit from the NYT trackback thingie I referenced here.

ry -

On the secondary checkpoints: how is this any different than sobriety checkpoints in the US? In arguments with other people, one of whom doubles as an immigration lawyer in Alaska, I've found that in the US any LEO has the right to demand ID at any time. So as to errosion of civil liberties I'm not to sure. Stomping on the perception that whatever you're doing in public is somehow actually private---absolutely. This went to the USSC because people in Oakland, CA didn't like that illegal immigrants were getting caught up at the sobriety check points---no drivers license and so were found out and deported. The whole drivers licenses to illegals takes on a whole different aspect when you remember that.
Somehow somewhen somebody got the idea into their head that driving around in public, because it was enclosed in a box with wheels, made it a private act and nobody can look into their car. Wrong.

Will secondary checkpoints help in the WOT? I don't know. Probably not. If someone has good enough papers to get thru Canadian customs it'll proll'y fool USBP too. If someone has snuck into Canada and using a fake Canadian passport it'll proll'y get thru USBP too. But, redundancy has never hurt.

Alan -

In our country the police have to have a reasonable grounds of some sort and the public have an expectation of some sort. Each context is different from the others and there are degrees of privacy including in a vehicle. The odd thing about this second line is that there is no "border zone" in law but one is being apparently assumed to exist.

David Janes -

Very interesting. I believe, and you can confirm this Al as it sounds like a law school sort of topic, that the reason checkpoints pass the muster here is that they stop all cars.

ry -

"The odd thing about this second line is that there is no "border zone" in law but one is being apparently assumed to exist." I'm not sure I get where you want me to go on this point. Care to explain?

Okay, I get the safe case. I kinda get the gf apartment case(similar stuff has happened her in the us, usually co-habitation stuff). But I don't get the locker case at all. Doesn't the smell emanating from the locker make it a plain sight issue? In the US if you're smoking it and the police can smell it from the side walk(totally different than using IR to note the use of grow lamps) it's enough to make it plain sight(or so I'm told). What logic or argument did the Justices use to get around that I wonder?

Alan -

The idea of a border is that it is not a thick line of many miles but a layer of heightened state right to ensure that you are acceptable or a citizen. Once you are established as a citizen you have a certain relationsip with the state that does not allow for arbitrary stopping or inquiries. I tihnk on the audio piece there was someone complaining about that idea of a feeling of a zone of reduced privacy to North Country NY residents.

I will try to find more search cases as I think it would be nteresting to compare perceptionso f privacy and liberty. My favorite line of cases is from Alaska where they have established the right to one's own appearance all starting with a hippy kid in early 70s high school having hair to long and the court told the school board that it was none of their damn business.