In his 2014 book, author William M. Arkin postulates how a paranoid government has, since pre-WWII, rocketed off on a course where today’s continual intrusions by the federal agencies and defense have eroded the US Constitution in the name of domestic security. Today the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and even the military are increasingly posturing for threats within the United States as much as those from the outside.
Central to the author’s analysis is the view that if the US Constitution provides lawmakers with the ABC’s to American laws and civil rights, then the continual pressures from antiquated US Contingency Operations dictate the XYZ’s. It is these XYZ’s that have established an effective shadow government which is secretly neither accountable to the American public or even loosely monitored by the government. Examining such events as the federal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Arkin traces back America’s dual system to the Truman Administration and how it’s continual evolution through to the Obama Administration has only been advanced by both the Left and Right – but always in the name of “national security” amid any disaster that provided for federal expansion of authority.
Personally, I found the analysis of Arkin’s views very well founded in his cited examples. When compared to other recent instances of government intrusion, such as NSA domestic surveillance and drone usage, his hypothesis is well founded. However, what was surprising for me was the level and depth to which American contingency planning has advanced and undermines civil liberties. It’s no surprise with as many as over 60% of Americans polling in a mid-January 2014 Rasmussen survey as the country was headed in the WRONG direction (and even less faith in Congress) because of the government current actions. Given what the future holds I wonder just how much sooner our nation will move from its current Surveillance State to Police.
William M. Arkin is an active political pundit, blogger, and military veteran who has also authored similar books, such as Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State and S.I.O.P.: The Secret U.S. Plan for Nuclear War.