I went through a brief period of being obsessed with the Bush administration’s transparent attempt to elevate so-called "eco-terrorism" to the status of Biggest, Baddest Domestic Bogey Man. (Honestly, what threat will these supposed tough guys not piss their pants about?)

But the Bushies are caught up in other struggles now, and the propaganda push seems to have receded into the background.

Still, it’s there.

Bush’s America: Who Needs It bill is thundering toward passage. It gives him the right to determine, solely at his own discretion, who is and is not an "enemy combatant" — and that includes for U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. It gives him the right to hold enemy combatants indefinitely, potentially for life, with no chance to hear or challenge the charges against them and no right to trial. Oh, and it gives him the right to torture them. (Yes, the federal government is taking a dump on centuries-old traditions that made this country great, and apparently that’s just fine with the American people.)

Now, on the subject of who is and isn’t an "enemy combatant," check out this Glenn Greenwald post about the recently released NIE on "Trends in Global Terrorism" (PDF):

[From the NIE:] "Anti-U.S. and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies. This could prompt some leftist, nationalist, or separatist groups to adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests. The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age, raising the likelihood of surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may be difficult to pinpoint." …

There have been scattered reports over the last several years that the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism programs have targeted domestic political groups solely because such groups espouse views contrary to the administration’s. That this claim about "leftist" terrorist groups made it into the NIE summary is particularly significant in light of the torture and detention bill that is likely soon to be enacted into law. That bill defines "enemy combatant" very broadly (and the definition may be even broader by the time it is enacted) and could easily encompass domestic groups perceived by the administration to be supporting a "terrorist agenda."

Consider, if you will:

  • Bush gets to decide who the bad guys are.
  • Bush gets to detain the bad guys indefinitely, without lawyers, trials, or public accusations.
  • Bush has said repeatedly that people who "support" the bad guys are also bad guys.

Then further consider:

  • Bush administration officials and their cronies in the media have repeatedly tried to tie animal-rights extremists to those who support direct action on the environment and lump the whole melange under the rubric "eco-terrorism."
  • The FBI says that "eco-terrorism" is "one of today’s most serious domestic terrorism threats."
  • Sen. James Inhofe is one of many Bush cronies to explicitly say that "mainstream activists" give aid and support to "eco-terrorists."

So … is it possible that one day in the not-so-distant future, federal agents will start snatching up environmental activists (who allegedly are or support terrorists) and locking them away indefinitely without trial?

Perhaps I’m being cynical, or paranoid. But let me ask you: is there enough paranoia and cynicism in even the blackest human heart with which to properly assess America’s current ruling party?