There’s been quite a bit of criticism of President Bush’s Citizen Corps initiative from the blogosphere. Both Stacy Tabb and Lean Left believe that this program would be a major violation of basic civil liberties. This program is too Orwellian, even for our current circumstanced. Even more than that, the signal to noise ratio for this kind of intelligence would make it essentially worthless.
I don’t necessarily feel that these kinds of programs are designed to make the US into a police state. The idea that people should be trained for basic civil defense procedures and first aid is a very good one. Nor do I think the Citizen Corps would be rounding up people just for saying "John Ashcroft is a bad man." It’s more about "Omar, my Saudi Arabian neighbor seems to enjoy taking pictures of nuclear power plants and calls my dog a dirty Zionist infidel." However, the potential for abuse is so great that this kind of program isn’t worth the risks. Instead, ensuring that federal officials take terrorist threats more seriously so the next time Crazy Muhammad shows up for his federal loan and threatens to blow up landmarks he gets reported should be the priority. Believe me, we know what terrorists look like, and we don’t need a government program designed to spot them.
Those of you who don’t get the reference in the title need to watch more Babylon 5.