Saturday, December 17, 2005

Does Loss of Our Civil Liberties Mean The Terrorists Have Won?
Remember soon after 9-11 when President Bush advised us all to go about our business as usual? He said that if we allowed the terrorist to make us so afraid that we didn't travel, go shopping, go out and do all the things we normally do that the terrorists had won. All the things he advised American's to do were things that would stimulate the economy, which took as much of a blow as anything after 9-11. I find that advice ironic in view of revelations of abuse of the civil liberties of American citizens, and of torture the of Iraqi prisoners, and Guantanamo Bay detainees over the past year or so.

It was revealed yesterday that President Bush signed an order just after 9-11 to allow the NSA to eavesdrop on international phone calls and email of American citizens without a warrant or any cause. The president is also pushing to make most of the provisions of the Patriot Act permanent. An act which threatens many of the freedoms and civil liberties we are supposed to cherish as Americans. The President speaks of bringing democracy to Iraq, yet we are guilty torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. The fact that Senator John McCain, who endured for 5 years, as a POW in Vietnam, and who knows what effect torture can have on a human being, has to propose legislation to prevent our country from practicing torture is unbelievable. The fact that when Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice travels to Europe she is dogged at every turn by questions about whether our government condones or practices torture, is an international embarrassment.

I would ask the president why continuing to go to the mall and travel by airplane and any of those other activities he advised us to continue doing after 9-11 are any more important than the freedoms and civil liberties our nation is supposed to guarantee? Last time I looked, going to the mall was not in the constitution. Protecting Americans from illegal search and seizure, violation of our rights to privacy and other freedoms are. How is it that continuing to go about our business usual does not include protecting our freedoms as usual. If we become a nation who is so afraid of terrorism that we spy on each other, hold our citizens in jail without cause and without recourse indefinitely, torture our prisoners, or send them to places where we know they will be tortured (a practice called rendition), does that not also mean the terrorists have won?

What kind of America do you want to live in? To me, living in the kind of America that the Patriot Act would create is as frightening as terrorism. Maybe more so. It is an Orwellian nightmare America. And to me it does mean that the terrorists have won?

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