Next level?

The question almost comes down to “why didn’t Bush go ahead and accept Cheney’s pleadings to deploy the military to make domestic arrests of the so-called “Lackawanna Six” terrorist suspects near Buffalo, NY in 2002? As usual, another crazy-ass idea was backed up with a memo written by the always obliging John Yoo (man, he must type like 3,000 words a minute) and Robert Delahunty… but evidently, in this case, for some reason, “cooler heads” prevailed and convinced Dubya not to do it.
Thing is, of course, that this was ultimately a political decision that had nothing to do with “legality”: our Holy and Sacred Homeland (TM) is either “the battlefield” or it isn’t. If it’s “the battlefield” for the purpose of detaining Jose Padilla and Saleh Al-Marri (or ultimately, you and me) as “enemy combatants” outside of the legal system, then it’s “the battlefield” for purposes of deploying the 82nd Airborne to swoop in and scoop up half a dozen Yemeni immigrants “who might be planning bad things.” Warrants? Probable cause? THIS IS WAR!
Given how jiggy the public was with the whole “War President (TM)” thing, one frankly wonders if the use of the military in some down-on-its-luck industrial backwater near the Canadian border would even have been noticed… it’s not like the Marines kicking in some gated community in the suburbs, now, is it?
While one is drawn to note the typically clinical tone of theTimes piece, the fact is, the real “leap” was in the ability to declare people, including lawful residents and citizens “beyond law.” The circumstances of just how they’re first picked up is neither here nor there. The FBI is just as capable of heavy-handed jack-booted thuggery as the military… although, obviously, for Dick Cheney, it would be more like the difference between the joy he got from stealing a child’s lolly-pop vs. the joy he got from kicking a puppy…which is why he favored the latter.
The ultimate idea, and we’ve pretty much let it happen, is “the seamless national security state.” Even now, the military, which has dramatically increased the use of civilian contractors in order to both evade accountability for their actions and politically stretch the ability to deploy our politically limited troop levels for everything from food service to VIP security service, in Afghanistan, the military is considering contracts for combat zone forward base security, as whatever “line” exists (which I suppose consists solely of wearing a uniform, carrying a rank, and not being paid very much)… continues to be eroded.
Symbols keep swallowing up reality; the reality is that we’re far closer to a national security state/military dictatorship than we’d care to admit, the symbolism of domestic deployment notwithstanding. As usual, while I see public outcries over that “health care reform” we’re not going to get and of course, over Gates-Gate… the fact that the Obama Administration is more embracing than dismantling its predecessor’s dictatorial prerogatives… should be getting a wee bit more concern. Just saying.