At last. The left is angry at Obama because his administration has overbuilt the national security state, and the right is mad because Obama is Obama, still, and still president, so whatever will do. Too aggressive, not aggressive enough, too much war, not enough war, which way IS the wind blowing today?
The size of the national security state is an argument that is overdue in any case. The problem here is that too many people secretly WANT an overblown national security apparatus. Exhibit A? Airports. Need an example of Americans’ willingness to submit to truly bovine-like humiliation for some peace of mind that is unrelated in any way to risk probabilities? Americans are funny in their fears, as they shuffle forward with their removed shoes in the plastic bins. They will gladly stroll into a medical system that regularly mis-diagnoses and mis-treats and kills tens of thousands of them each and every year (see Monday’s blog), but the vanishingly remote possibility that a TERRORIST might do them in, and that’s a death worse than fate itself.
But anyway, why did Obama change up his promised restraint on national security? Guessing time! Here’s MY guess! He saw some pretty alarming intelligence when he took office. He might have also run the political calculation. How would Americans respond to ANY kind of lapse in security? (Hint: BENGHAZI!) Conclusion? Little downside in the direction of too much security. And again, what do a LOT of Americans secretly want? Government intercepting EVERY call, EVERY email, EVERY group activity (except tea party ones) so as to reduce the terror risk down to zero. As long as “the FIRST job of a president is to protect the safety of the American people” is an applause line, that’s the direction we’ll be going. If Obama falters here, Americans already have their shoes off ready to throw at him.