Call it treason

11 October 2008

Some people are taken aback at how I use the word treason in a political context. So let me explain. Here's the first definition of treason that one finds in the American Heritage Dictionary:

Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.

Note that the betrayal is of the country or of the sovereign, not of the state. As to the sovereign, in a republic, supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them; in a liberal republic, a fair amount of that supreme power is individualistic (rather than collectivist) in nature.

I'm just speaking goddamn'd English when I refer to violations of individual rights by state officials as treason.

With that in mind, I note some treason to which the Woman of Interest draws my attention:

U.S. tapped intimate calls from Americans overseas, 2 eavesdroppers say by George Miller of the Los Angeles Times
The linguists said that recordings of intimate conversations between citizens and their loved ones were sometimes passed around, out of prurient interest, among analysts at an electronic surveillance facility at Ft. Gordon, Ga.

I always assumed that my conversations with my ex-girlfriend while she was in Iraq were recorded. I wasn't particularly disturbed by that thought; one end of that conversation was in a fr_ggin' war zone. And I didn't have anything to say to her that would be of prurient interest anyway, unless the listener were quite oddly perverse.

But none of these personal conversations should have been circulated for purposes of entertainment, even in cases where the discourse weren't potentially embarassing.

And, when the next President fails to bring these analysts up on charges of treason, that failure will itself be treason.

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