At some point, the various anti-war-ok-we're-really-just-on-the-other-side folks are going to realize that the more they cry wolf when there aren't any wolves, the less effect their cries are going to have. Everyone likes free speech, and when people complain of government intimidation I get concerned... at first... but after a while, the complaints themselves become evidence that there's no oppression going on. If the kids were smart, they'd try to build some credibility just in case there ever is a wolf.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has collected extensive information on the tactics, training and organization of antiwar demonstrators and has advised local law enforcement officials to report any suspicious activity at protests to its counterterrorism squads, according to interviews and a confidential bureau memorandum.Uh oh! "Suspicious activity"! Like what?
F.B.I. officials said in interviews that the intelligence-gathering effort was aimed at identifying anarchists and "extremist elements" plotting violence, not at monitoring the political speech of law-abiding protesters.Oh, violence. Please, like that ever happens at peace protests.
The initiative has won the support of some local police, who view it as a critical way to maintain order at large-scale demonstrations. Indeed, some law enforcement officials said they believed the F.B.I.'s approach had helped to ensure that nationwide antiwar demonstrations in recent months, drawing hundreds of thousands of protesters, remained largely free of violence and disruption.It sounds like the FBI's plan is proceeding exactly as they claim to intend: preventing violence, while allowing patriotic, America-loving dissent.
Nevertheless, the ACLU is concerned.
"The F.B.I. is dangerously targeting Americans who are engaged in nothing more than lawful protest and dissent," said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "The line between terrorism and legitimate civil disobedience is blurred, and I have a serious concern about whether we're going back to the days of Hoover."The line between terrorism and legitimate civil disobedience is blurred? Gee, I wonder how that came about? It wouldn't have anything to do with the American Civil Liberties Union getting involved in terror issues, would it? Not that there aren't real concerns, but this type of nonsense eliminates the credibility of serious warnings.
Furthermore, the executive director of the ACLU should know that although civil disobedience for a just cause may be morally acceptable, many forms of disobedience are illegal, and thus perfectly legitimate concerns for law enforcement officers.
The article closes with another non-point by the ACLU mouthpiece:
Critics said they remained worried. "What the F.B.I. regards as potential terrorism," Mr. Romero of the A.C.L.U. said, "strikes me as civil disobedience."So... is Mr. Romero saying that no civil disobedience is potential terrorism? The key word here is potential, and Mr. Romero has already claimed that the line is terribly blurred.
You know what, I just thought of something scary. What if the left sounds shrill and idiotic because the government has already abducted all the smart dissenters?