I have to say that I am tickled to death over what young Edward Snowdon has done in regard to his leaking of the NSA PRISM project. Funding and compelling otherwise well intentioned civil servants to sift through the transmissions of US citizens and allies under the false idol of “national security” represents a sort of cancer of civil society. The future is not for the faint hearted. Unfortunately, the faint hearted are in charge.

The assertion that X number of terrorist attacks were prevented by internal espionage activity is patronizing rhetoric uttered by functionaries who are powerless to actually prove it. Obviously we have enemies. We’ve earned it. The US is not a target simply because “we love freedom”, a slogan so infantile that it is a wonder that Bush II was able to utter it with a straight face. We are a target because of decades of foreign policy overreach.

The US federal government and allied corporations are so brain addled over Middle Eastern politics and security that congress is deadlocked over what amounts to a new form of the guns v. butter problem.  Congressional members, I’ll say Republicans in particular, live in another world distorted by wealthy patrons.  In their view, civilization is something that markets do rather than the other way around. This is a natural viewpoint if you control a lot of wealth- or hope to.

Simplistically, we input defense dollars into the military machine and privately owned petroleum comes out the other side. So, the stockholders of Exxon, Chevron, etc., are protected from risk on foreign territories by the US armed forces. US taxpayers pay for this but petroleum companies seem to carry little of the burden.

What we have gotten in return for our foreign petroleum adventures is pushback in the form of guerrilla warfare, commonly called terrorism. The term “terrorist” has been transmogrified into some form of supernatural evil. Really, a terrorist is a criminal. Killing people and destroying property is a crime and it is immoral. It is not evil incarnate. We are not in a supernatural battle between good and evil or God and Satan.

If Snowdon’s action was to shine a little light on how the government commits espionage on its citizens, then I say good for him. In doing so he broke the law. He violated contractual agreements on disclosure and should pay a price for that. But in regard to accusations of treason based on what facts are available, I cannot agree with that charge.

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