We have seen the future, and it sucks.

The Panopticon State

16th March 2013

Mark Steyn.

Afghanistan is winding down, at best, to join the long list of America’s unwon wars, in which, 48 hours after departure, there will be no trace that we were ever there. The guys with drones are losing to the guys with fertilizer — because they mean it, and we don’t. The drone thus has come to symbolize the central defect of America’s “war on terror,” which is that it’s all means and no end: We’re fighting the symptoms rather than the cause.

Ain’t that the truth. But we can’t do what needs to be done, because that would mean recognizing that Islam is as much an existential threat to American civilization as Communism ever was, and the limp dicks that run our government are deathly afraid of the truth.

For a war without strategic purpose, a drone’ll do. Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen born in New Mexico, was whacked by a Predator not on a battlefield but after an apparently convivial lunch at a favorite Yemeni restaurant. Two weeks later, al-Awlaki’s son Abdulrahman was dining on the terrace of another local eatery when the CIA served him the old Hellfire Special and he wound up splattered all over the patio. Abdulrahman was 16, and born in Denver. As I understand it, the Supreme Court has ruled that American minors, convicted of the most heinous crimes, cannot be executed. But you can gaily atomize them halfway round the planet. My brief experience of Yemeni restaurants was not a happy one but, granted that, I couldn’t honestly say they met any recognized definition of a “battlefield.”

No American casualties (tell the truth: however much these slugs may have been ‘American citizens’, they weren’t Americans in any significant sense), no ACLU ankle-biter involvement, no evening news. Win-win!

Al-Awlaki Junior seems to have been your average anti-American teen. Al-Awlaki Senior was an al-Qaeda ideologue, and a supposed “spiritual mentor” to everyone from the 9/11 murderers to the Fort Hood killer and the thwarted Pantybomber. On the other hand, after September 11, he was invited to lunch at the Pentagon, became the first imam to conduct a prayer service at the U.S. Congress, and was hailed by NPR as an exemplar of an American “Muslim leader who could help build bridges between Islam and the West.”

Hey – anti-Americans of a feather flock together. I’d be happy to argue that nobody at NPR is American, in any significant sense of the word, either.

The same bureaucracy that booked Samira Ibrahim for an audience with the first lady and Anwar al-Awlaki to host prayers at the Capitol now assures you that it’s entirely capable of determining who needs to be zapped by a drone between the sea bass and the tiramisu at Ahmed’s Bar and Grill. But it’s precisely because the government is too craven to stray beyond technological warfare and take on its enemies ideologically that it winds up booking the first lady to hand out awards to a Jew-loathing, Hitler-quoting, terrorist-supporting America-hater.

What may appear to be an inconsistency really isn’t. The Crust is all about power, government power, and the surest way for government to hold power is for the populace to have enemies. If this means that the Crust needs to grow their own, then that’s what they’ll do.

America takes an ever more expansive view of police power, and, while the notion of unmanned drones patrolling the heartland may seem absurd, lots of things that seemed absurd a mere 15 years ago are now a routine feature of life. Not so long ago, it would have seemed not just absurd but repugnant and un-American to suggest that the state ought to have the power to fondle the crotch of a seven-year-old boy without probable cause before permitting him to board an airplane. Yet it happened, and became accepted, and is unlikely ever to be reversed.

Unless people just stop using airplanes, which is what I recommend.

With paperwork comes regulation, and with regulation comes enforcement.

The sad truth of modern life.

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