Prior to 2002, anyone who suggested that the U.S. government create a TotalInformation Awareness database of personal information on tens of millions of Americans would have been considered an extremist. But federal spy agencies rushed forward with exactly such plans, and the feds have stockpiled far more data on citizens.
Prior to April 2004, anyone who asserted that the U.S. military was torturing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan was seen as an anti-American extremist. The leaking of the Abu Ghraib photos and official reports on abuses at Guantanamo and elsewhere proved that the extremists’ worst fear had become national policy. And when Congress effectively ratified Bush’s torture policies in the 2006 Military Commissions Act, “extremists”came to connote people who believed that American democracy had utterly disgraced itself.
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