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Sneaky versus security

March 08, 2009

Re "Bush's executive tyranny," Opinion, March 4

Tim Rutten mischaracterizes the "conservative lawyers" George W. Bush and Dick Cheney found to justify their "unitary executive" outrages. They were radically beyond the Revolutionary War's Tories, essentially arguing for a totalitarian presidency. Calling them conservative is offensive to historical perspective.

Unfortunately, the Bush administration's "legal opinions" released so far are just the tip of this iceberg. These and similarly biased or unconstitutional rule changes were used throughout their eight years in office to develop dangerous, often secret, policies and signing statements.

The effects of these administrative fiats will take years to find and correct.

Gary Moir

Rancho Palos Verdes


My outrage against the Bush administration returned as I read about the memos that asserted President Bush had unfettered power. One of the memos said U.S. troops could search houses and seize suspects without a warrant.

Here's proof positive that even after 218 years, our Bill of Rights needs to be carefully guarded. I hope that all of my former students who had to memorize the first 10 amendments to our Constitution will now understand why I made them do it.

Kris Sullivan

Los Angeles


Executive tyranny? To what end do you suppose, Mr. Rutten? Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, and most Americans call that leadership. Bush needs to be given credit for keeping us safe.

Mark Aaron

Santa Monica


The reports about the memos of the late and largely unlamented Bush administration paint an unsettling picture of a democratically elected government with no regard for democracy.

In fairness to Bush and his subordinates, these memos were written in the months following the 9/11 attacks, when the threat of terrorism weighed heavily on the nation. But we all would be wise to remember Benjamin Franklin's admonition, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Oliver Cutshaw

La Habra

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