Let’s put this threat in scope. The size of the “terrorist threat” is about the size of a (well funded) gang - not the size of an army. A gang of thugs can be a problem, but are not the same sort of problem as an attacking army. Declaring war on terrorists is like a lion declaring war on a rat. Yes, the rat has teeth and can bite. Certainly we don’t like to be bitten. But the rat cannot survive a direct confrontation. The rat can only survive by eluding us.

Yes, we do need to deal with the rat. This is more like pest control than war. We don’t need to turn to secret laws and the wholesale spying on citizens, just for pest control. That would be (and is) massive overkill.

The solution is too large for the problem. The creepy part is if you flip this around. Let’s assume the solution is the right size, rather it’s aimed at a different problem. What “problem” is large enough to need the “solution” we are being sold?

Now, I don’t really believe the politicians are trying to build any sort of authoritarian police state. I certainly don’t believe in any sort of vast, coordinated conspiracy. The creepy part is that we seem to be headed that way anyhow.

How can we turn back?

Bush Says Surveillance Legal and Necessary - Yahoo! News Speaking at Kansas State University, the president said the National Security Agency’s program to monitor phone calls and e-mails without a warrant was legal under laws passed by Congress, upheld by the Supreme Court and consistent with the actions of his predecessor. “Congress gave me additional powers to use force, but it didn’t prescribe the tactics,” Bush said.

The president dismissed accusations that the eavesdropping program is illegal, saying that only calls initiated from overseas from suspected al-Qaida affiliates to the United States are monitored.

“If I wanted to break the law,” Bush asked rhetorically, “why was I briefing Congress?”

Bush cited the law authorizing force after the Sept. 11 attacks as justification for the program and said decisions by the Supreme Court and the actions of his predecessors bolster the legal argument for his acctions.

The president also called on Congress to renew all aspects of the Patriot Act so that law enforcement will have the tools necessary to fight terrorists.

“The Patriot Act … may be set to expire, but the threats to the United states are not about to expire,” Bush said. He also said that there have been no documented abuses under the Patriot Act and that constant review of the program pays particular attention to civil liberties.

Bush said the said that those people seeking to attack the United States cannot be appeased and terrorists must be destroyed.

He said that the war on terror is an “ideological struggle” against an enemy that has a “view of the world that is the exact opposite of our view of the world.”