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Letter: Assault on Constitution has been under way for 12 years

Assault on Constitution has been under way for 12 years

Those who express comfort with the National Security Agency’s broad surveillance sweep have, understandably, not taken into account the broad context of the agency’s snooping. The erosion of our sensitivities to this context has occurred in a long series of steps over a period of 12 years.

With indefinite detention, extraordinary rendition, torture, military tribunals, warrantless wiretapping, privatization of the military, destabilization of the Middle East and South Asia in endless wars, drone warfare and the resulting murders of thousands of civilians, unprecedented deportation of immigrants, detention in inhumane, private, for-profit jails and detention centers, violent raids against employers of immigrants, episodic raids against peace activists and unprecedented use of the Espionage Act in the silencing of dissent, the spirit of the nation’s laws has drowned.

The dragnet on our private communications, significant enough, is but a symptom of a larger assault on the Constitution arising from the so-called war on terror. It cannot be pointed out too often that a war against a tactic is an absurdity.

In the end, it provides an endless rationale for Big Brother, while stoking the hatred it professes to subdue. Constitutionally prosecuting terror, delegating terror investigations to law enforcement, ending the wars and restoring the Constitution in every particular provide the only possibility for the security we appear to crave.

Robert Sandgrund