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Price too high for gains in domestic security?

January 27, 2006

Re "Democrats May Argue Liberties to Their Peril," Jan. 25

While poor kids and middle-age National Guardsmen leave their families and risk getting blown up in Iraq to defend freedom and democracy, back home the Bush administration proudly trades away those principles and ideals at every opportunity in exchange for small, and probably imaginary, slivers of increased security. In this sense, even while claiming to fight them "over there," George Bush has already surrendered large parts of America to the terrorists.

It seems the real debate is not about how to balance civil liberties and security but about what kind of nation we want to be: a nation of principles or a nation of cowards. If the Democrats could frame the debate as one between cowardice and courage, they might have a winning argument. But the Democrats have not shown much courage themselves in recent years.




The article cites polling that indicates most Americans favor restriction of our civil liberties in our pursuit of terrorists. Is a nation spawned by the words of Patrick Henry ("Give me liberty or give me death") now so afraid of another terrorist attack, which may or may not happen, that a majority of its citizens will willingly forsake their civil liberties? When did we become such a nation of cowards?

We've faced much greater threats in our history than terrorism, yet a bunch of mindless fanatics fly some planes into buildings and we react as if the world has come to an end. If this causes us to lose our hard-fought liberties and hand unfettered power to the executive branch, then the terrorists have already won.



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