I disagree. The suspension of habeas corpus didn't have much to do with public opinion. It had to do with the House and Senate approving the Military Commissions Act in 2006 (and during a time when public opinion of the administration was as low as it is now) and now the executive and judicial branches are now fighting it out as to whether the Act is constitutional or not. It's not a case of the government slipping one by us and the public going along with it, it's a case of government intervention into something constitutionally granted and regardless of whether you're an American citizen or not.
What you're saying here is largely true, DG, but evenwolf is also right in that many of Americans were so damn piss-scared by 9/11 that they'd almost consent to a dictatorship (which is virtually what we have now) to keep them 'safe' from anthrax scares and people flying large objects into buildings. The special-interest owned media helped fuel these fears and spin them way out of proportion -- far beyond what CIA specialists were saying -- to the point that rational thought was in the minority.
Yes, but what you're saying implies that public opinion is what drove the suspension of habeas corpus, which isn't the case. The suspension happened in late 2006 (5 years after Sept 11, 2001) when support for the Republicans was at a low point (and a month before the 2006 congressional elections where the Democrats achieved a majority in the House of Reps and the Senate). Likewise, opinion polling for the Bush administration was pretty low at this time. If public opinion drove the suspension of habeas corpus, then logically wouldn't people see it at a right move by the Bush administration and raise the support for the Republican party? I checked Bush's polling numbers and he didn't receive and significant bump after signing the 2006 Military Commissions Act (which included the habeas corpus suspension). I mean, if that particular piece of legislation is proof of Bush and Co's commitment to the War on Terror, and if people were as scared in 2006 as you suggest, wouldn't the public support for Bush improve? Likewise, the Republicans lost seats in the 2006 election, and if you think a frightened public supported the Military Commissions Act, they'd support the Republicans.
I don't think you can say the government suspended habeas corpus because the public wanted it. In fact, I don't think the average American at the time knew what habeas corpus was, which is all the more frightening. I mean, which is scarier: the government suspending a right because people are afraid, or the government suspending a right that people won't notice is gone because they don't know what it is?
Just to elaborate a little further, what I'm talking about goes beyond fear of terrorism. What the suspension of habeas corpus means is if the Bush administration says "You are an enemy of the state", you can get locked away without the right to challenge why you're in Guantanamo Bay. It's like a king having a dungeon to lock dissenters. American democracy was created as a means of escaping oppressive monarchy. Habeas corpus a right that seems so much more fundamental to democracy than the right to bear arms. Here's a good video to demonstrate why: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQcnJ5i0pxA
But just to go back to my original point, the main reason why gun owners are against a ban on guns is because they're a part of the foundation of the US, i.e. 2nd amendment right to bear arms. But if they're that concerned about protecting the foundation of the country, you'd think they'd do more to protect something like habeas corpus too. (And if they created a militia to storm the White House and uphold habeas corpus, the government can say, "You guys are enemies of the state!" and lock them up.)
That's part of the reason why I don't buy the arguments that people wanted a suspension of habeas corpus specifically. I think they just didn't know what is was, why it was important, or care less about it in any case. If they knew that it was as important as how much they felt about guns, I think the backlash would be bigger, similar to the NSA wiretap backlash. (And regardless, I think the government would have suspended habeas corpus anyway).
Just to blow your minds further consider this: if people from the US do consent to a dictatorship and the US government wants to protect them then, logically, if the US government suspends habaes corpus, shouldn't they also ban guns for fear terrorists will sneak into the country and form a secret army? And shouldn't the American public accept this too?