We are hearing more and more talk of instituting a domestic war on terror. Glen Greenwald says he has seen all of this before. Some calling for new domestic police powers against “terrorists” admit they are using a model from the first war on terror nearly two decades ago.
Politicians and pundits even suggest that we think about creating a 9/11 type of commission for domestic extremism. That would obviously be modeled on the 9/11 Commission established in 2002. Perhaps, they argue, some of the lessons from the fight against Islamic terrorism can be applied to the threat here at home. Sure, let’s just take the various weapons we used on foreign battlefields and import them onto domestic soil against our fellow Americans.
Glen Greenwald reminds us of the many abuses that surfaced due to the threat of Islamic terrorism. The Authorization to Use Military Force has been responsible for two decades of war. The Patriot Act, which “radically expanded government surveillance powers,” was enacted on the promise it would be temporary and “sunset” in four years.
He also asks why we would need new terrorism laws in a country that already imprisons more of its citizens than nearly every other country in the world. What acts should be criminalized under these new “domestic terrorism” laws? We can assume that what will be criminalized will be anything the party in power dislikes. Their justification for a domestic war on terror came after the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.
Let me end with some needed common sense. If you attack a police officer, you go to jail (whether you are carrying a Trump flag or an Antifa flag). If you trespass on federal property (whether a federal courthouse in Portland or the Capitol in Washington), you go to jail.
We don’t need new domestic terror laws. We need to enforce the laws we have.