Saturday, February 16, 2008

Security vs. privacy

Americans differ widely on the US invasion of Iraq. Somewhere between 20 and 30% of Americans stridently defend the decision.

Such differences of opinion in an electorate are normal. "The Iraq war" has become a code phrase used by lazy media to describe a strong dividing line in American public opinion. But readers should please note that the matter of the "war" or the invasion itself is more or less a strategic question. As such it is secondary. There will ALWAYS be difference of opinion about strategy (even if it is over what time in the morning is best for the family to leave on their vacation drive). This is just human nature.

What is far more important to concentrate on when analyzing American opinion are matters not pertaining to the secondary concerns regarding better or worse strategies, but matters pertaining to the core values represented in the American ideal, and the American experiment. These values include such concerns as equal rights under the law, due process, and the constitutional protection of citizens rights (among many others).

It is on these points that sincere, upright, internationalist American idealists despair over the violence committed to our moral traditions by the present administration.

Here USA Today editorializes on the president's persistent demand to spy on American citizens

You can easily click through to read the entire piece:

clipped from

Our view on security vs. privacy: Bush uses scare tactics to railroad flawed spying act

President Bush is rarely as vivid about the specter of terrorism as he is when he's trying to stampede Congress into doing something it should think twice about. On Wednesday, he demanded quick passage of a flawed surveillance measure because "terrorists are planning attacks on our country ... that will make Sept. 11 pale by comparison."

Whoa. There's little dispute that terrorists want to strike the United States in horrific ways, or that the government should aggressively hunt them down and stop them. But there's a legitimate debate over how much of Americans' hard-won civil liberties it's necessary to trade away to fight and win, and how much to curtail the traditional role of judges in overseeing wiretapping that involves Americans. The president has frequently gotten this trade-off wrong, and he's doing it again.

blog it

No comments: