Two quick things: 1. "...learning that there is a war in Afghanistan, a war that's claiming the lives of Americans." Even more shocking to learn it's largely claiming the lives of Afghanis.
2. Thousands of US private military contractors are still in Iraq. They're in the country under the guise of "training Iraqi troops" and protecting the 11,000 embassy employees. Also, drones.
Now, why the alarm? It's because we've never had such clearcut evidence that the government is watching and storing all of our communications. All of us have sent a text or email that we would like to stay private, or made a phone call, had a Skype session or G-chat that we wouldn't want others to know about. We know for sure that our right to privacy has been completely violated.
Wiretappers passed around recordings of military personnel having phone sex as early as 2008 (http://firedoglake.com/2008/10/09/your-s…
). Imagine what they'll do with everyone else's stuff. Also, recordings of phone sex sessions have been played in open court more than once.