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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Debating the Right Way to Preserve Rights

August 04, 2004

Re "9/11 Reforms Could Weaken Rights, Says White House," July 31: The Bush administration, author of the Patriot Act and supporter of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, seems to have taken a sudden interest in civil rights.

President Bush's reservations about some of the 9/11 commission's recommendations for revamping our intelligence structure have a lot of people scratching their heads, wondering what his real motivation is.

My guess is it's the threat to the complete independence of the executive branch. The commission recommends the creation of a panel within the White House to make sure civil rights and privacy are protected, something that would make Vice President Dick Cheney seethe. Ending this administration's behind-closed-doors approach and lending transparency to the process it uses to come to decisions is the last thing he wants.

Suzanne Zizzi

Sherman Oaks

*

Although liberty and freedom ring out loud and clear throughout the Constitution and democracy, providing amendments and laws, protecting individuals' rights and privacy, they are not absolute. They are tethered to responsibility and must yield when confronted with the safety, security and survival of the nation and society, even if collateral innocence becomes a victim.

Such action, ironically, would be necessary in order to preserve the Constitution and democracy that created them.

Buck Smith

Sun City, Calif.

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