On the Interrogation of John Brennan

The premises under which Brennan and his agency are operating are false.

First, there’s the presumption that the agents of government are tasked with preventing threats. It is frustrating that, in order to prioritize human rights, initial bad acts cannot be prevented. All that can logically be done is prevent a repetition. That means accepting that some bad acts will be perpetrated by some individuals. But, that’s the prize of valuing human rights above all else, which we have never actually done. It’s an ideal we are still aiming for. And it involves the acceptance of a certain amount of risk.

Secondly, there’s the assertion that national security is the preeminent concern before which all human rights must give way. Our Republican friends, in particular, have become so fixated on socialism that they ignore the real problem with national socialism was the elevation of the nation into the position of a supreme being/principle to which all men must subordinate themselves. We are in the process of substituting a secular supreme being for a spirit or God and that secular being, unlike the gods, actually has weapons to enforce its will here on earth. God’s judgement being delayed until after a person’s death is inconvenient from the perspective of people who want retribution in the here and now.

Bush’s “faith based” administration promised something he didn’t deliver. He and his gang were super keen to take action actions people who frightened them and mete out punishment in the here and now. Central to that endeavor was the AUMF, Congress’ determination that we should wage war against all individuals that frighten us/them. If we’re going to act on the basis of suspicion and fear, then due process and evidence are out the window. It’s not possible to take action first and credibly claim to be acting in response.

Well, they are responding, but what they are responding to is their own fears, not what someone else has actually done.

But, to be fair, that’s what Congress has demanded. Congress has created a boogie man to make themselves look important and powerful. It’s not very different from the abusive father who “protects” his daughters by keeping them locked away at home. In loco parentis is an attractive model because it lets people exercise authority without having to provide support.