The War on Terror is not over. The decision to close U.S. embassies throughout the Middle East and North Africa, while controversial, points to the fact that documented threats exist. They always will. Just look at the number of countries where the embassies will be closed for the entire week:
There is bipartisan support for this move, as both Democrats and Republicans have gone on record in favor of taking this precaution. On the conservative side, there are mixed reviews. Some see it as the fruit of failed policy, some think it’s overblown, and some believe it’s a lie to distract from Benghazi and put a good face on stepped-up security measures. Whatever the truth, this does come across to me as a sign of weakness and failure. What is accomplished by keeping embassies closed for one week? Will terrorists be foiled by this move, or will they merely wait until they open again? I doubt this move will achieve anything substantial.
All that said, I’m grateful for our ability to pick up on the “chatter” out there amongst the terrorists. The NSA, which is under fire for its massive data collection on all American citizens, is the agency tasked with locating terrorist threats. Its primary mission is fine; the controversy rests on the overreach:
Fears abound that we are no longer the land of the free:
As a constitutionalist, I recognize and empathize with those fears. It’s far too easy to slip into a high-security society that could eventually crush constitutional liberties. At the same time, I am not of the number who think the threats are unrealistic. I believe it’s necessary to have a superior skill at intercepting what enemies are saying and plotting—to protect our liberties.
A delicate balance must be found. Edward Snowden believed he was doing what was necessary to expose the NSA’s overreach. Many have dubbed him a whistleblower who should receive protection for the valuable service he rendered. Others go to great lengths to portray him as a hero. My view of Snowden is not going to please my libertarian readers, but here it is anyway.
First, a genuine whistleblower, of which there have been many, will go through the proper channels to blow his whistle. If he cannot trust those in authority over him in his agency, he has recourse to Congress. There are conscientious congressmen who will take his story seriously. While there are no guarantees that a whistleblower won’t suffer reprisals, someone who has the good of his country at heart will at least attempt to do it the right way. Snowden chose another path—to Russia, with a possible final resting place in such socialist/Marxist havens as Venezuela. Russia? Venezuela? Why would an American hero seek refuge at either of those places? Sorry, but I can’t see him as a hero.
I think Vladimir Putin loves what has transpired here. He gets to tweak America, which is something he seems to enjoy. Unfortunately, with Barack Obama calling the shots, he’s getting lots of opportunity to do so.
Why would an American hero find himself comfortable in Russia, which is rapidly returning to its totalitarian ways? Why would he consider finding refuge in a country that routinely practices the very actions he supposedly deplores?
Yes, the NSA must be reined in. Essential constitutional liberties must be protected. But Edward Snowden is no hero. In my opinion, he’s little more than an immature, immoral [check out his personal life sometime], foolish, and naive young man who has a lot to learn. Snowden may get quite an education during his stay in Russia. For his own benefit, I hope he learns those lessons well.