"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."—Hermann Goering, German military commander and Hitler's designated successor
For those who remember the days and months that followed 9/11, there is an unnerving feeling of déjà vu about the Hamas attacks on Israel.
The same shocking images of carnage and grief dominating the news. The same disbelief that anyone could be so hateful, so monstrous, so evil as to do this to another human being. The same outpourings of support and unity from around the world. The same shared fear that this could easily have happened to us or our loved ones.
Now once again the drums of war are sounding on the world stage, not that they ever really stopped. Israel is preparing to invade Gaza, the Palestinians are nearing a humanitarian crisis, and the rest of the world is bracing for whatever blowback comes next.
Here in the United States, as we approach the 22nd anniversary of the USA Patriot Act on October 26, we're still grappling with the blowback that arises from allowing one's freedoms to be eviscerated in exchange for the phantom promise of security.
Here are a few lessons that we never learned or learned too late.
Mammoth legislation that expands the government's powers at the citizenry's expense will not make anyone safer. Rushed through Congress a mere 45 days after the 9/11 attacks, the USA Patriot Act drove a stake through the heart of the Bill of Rights, undermined civil liberties, expanded the government's powers and opened the door to far-reaching surveillance by the government on American citizens.