December 21, 2005

Returning to Normality?

David Ignatius, in the Washington Post, claims that the recent pushback against the Bush Administration's post-9/11 national security structure is a sign that the U.S. is returning to normal. As the sense of immediate crisis passes, and airplanes stop flying into skyscrapers, the nation looks to the rule of law, and tries to regain the 'center line' promulgated by the Founders (my paraphrasing of him).

My problem with this is that it seems to glance approvingly on this process. It tells us that this push back towards the center is adequate compensation for the wild and dizzy swing to the right after 9/11. I disagree vehemently. To take that position is to simply accept that the rule of law will drop into abeyance when drastic events occur - and I believe strongly that that is an improper position.

We should strive to ensure that the system does not swing out of line in response to catastrophic events. Allowing it to do so simply does, in fact, offer 'encouragement to our enemies,' Mr. President. All it takes is for one of them to decide that this constriction of our liberties, and hence damage to our way of life, is their objective, and you have created the ideal conditions for them.

I fail to understand how the Executive branch can think that this form of unilateral invasion of American citizens' privacy, arguably a flat violation of the Fourth Amendment to our Constitution, 'improves' our situation. I would argue that the damage done to our political system by that swing far outweighs the damage done in New York City - and I am a New Yorker.

Why? Think of the many times we have willingly spent lives and treasure to preserve our way of life - specifically, our political and civil philosophical ideals. Think of the resources marshalled to fight the threat du jour to those ideals (as well as, yes, to our prosperity - which may be linked). We seem to have decided, in each of those cases, that we were willing to risk, hazard, and ultimately spend the lives of Americans to preserve them.

Yet President Bush and his advisors decided, without consulting us, that even though we'd already paid the price to preserve those liberties and that Constitution, we wouldn't mind if they trampled them a bit for us.

Impeach them now.

Posted by jbz at December 21, 2005 11:56 AM | TrackBack

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