CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 6, 2001
Re "Attorney General Stresses the Risk of More Attacks," Oct. 1: Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft has been stirring the ashes of fear regarding more attacks. Now, what would be gained from keeping us afraid? We'd buy more gas masks, water, Cipro, tetracycline, food, guns? Or is it to pass Ashcroft's anti-terrorism package? When people are afraid, we give up liberties in exchange for a false sense of security. Beware. Libby Breen Altadena Of course more attacks are planned.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 17, 2001
President Bush apparently does not have faith in the American justice system. His order to try "terrorists" in military tribunals--allowing hearsay evidence and limiting defendants' rights to those OKd by the secretary of Defense--is disturbing (Nov. 14). As a precedent, its use without being framed by a declared war with an identified enemy is downright frightening. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft claims terrorists do not deserve the protections of the American Constitution. Well, as satisfying as that sounds, someone should take Ashcroft aside and explain that the very premise of having a Constitution is that individual men in powerful offices don't get to decide who gets to enjoy the rights conferred and who doesn't on a case-by-case basis.
April 23, 2002
Re "Do Your Job, Mr. Ashcroft," editorial, April 19: A lot of people are offended that the attorney general consistently steps over the line of performing his duties. It was no surprise that he tried to interfere in Oregon's Death With Dignity Act. He is for snooping into our personal bank records, tax returns, e-mails and homes. He says that those who don't agree are giving aid and comfort to our enemies. He opposes allowing the FBI to determine if terrorist suspects have purchased weapons.
November 14, 2004
Re "Ashcroft Wants Oregon Suicide Law Blocked," Nov. 10: President Bush and the religious conservatives should leave the "death with dignity" debate alone. After being diagnosed with terminal cancer three years ago, my mother rapidly declined from an active 58-year-old businesswoman to a helpless victim of paralysis as the cancer spread to her brain. Confined to a bed without control of her arms, legs, bladder or bowels, she cried out every day for us or her nurses to put an end to her misery.
May 18, 2007
Re "Panel told of a sickbed face-off," May 16 If only Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales could learn from the example of former Deputy Atty. Gen. James B. Comey and former Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft: The client of the attorney general is not George W. Bush but the United States, and his duty is to defend the Constitution, not kowtow to Karl Rove. He will not, of course. More likely, he will claim that when he burst into Ashcroft's hospital room in the intensive care unit, it was a get-well card he was carrying in the envelope rather than an order approving an illegal wiretapping program.
June 11, 2004
Re "Ashcroft Grilled Over Memos About Torture," June 9: The key revelation by the Senate committee investigating the prisoner abuse atrocities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba is that Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft is in contempt of Congress. But will the committee formally charge him? He is committing a crime against our Constitution and getting away with it. Will those in Congress stand up and be counted on this issue or will they just go along, as they usually do, and do nothing about it?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 11, 2001
"Settlers Demand Reprisal After Brutal Slaying of Boys" (May 10), about the beating deaths of two Israeli teens in the West Bank, reported that Yasser Arafat "did not condemn the killings when asked about them." Certainly Arafat could have taken what seems like a politically safe opportunity to denounce the killing of civilians, especially children. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, he didn't. As Americans, we do not have the luxury of such irresponsible reticence and inaction. Under U.S. law, it is a federal crime to murder a U.S. national.
May 30, 2004
I see that Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller are warning us yet again of an impending attack on our soil (May 27). President Bush has told us many times, over many months, that Iraq is the "central front on the war on terror" and that as long as the terrorists are over there, they are not here wreaking death and devastation. To back this theory, we've committed hundreds of lives of our military, as well as thousands of innocent citizens' lives, to death and injury.
June 4, 2002
Re "FBI Given Broad Authority to Monitor Public Activities," May 31: The revelations of FBI failures before Sept. 11 surely indicate drastic changes are needed. However, it is difficult to see how Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft's gift of access into our lives will make the FBI more effective. The FBI's failures weren't due to a lack of intelligence (i.e., information) but, rather, a lack of focus and follow-through at the very top of the agency. The most important piece of information missing is the motivation for those from midlevel up to put up roadblocks for agents doing their best to protect us. This goes beyond what some characterize as a "liberal-minded" fear of racial profiling; the information available went far beyond nationality or religion to real connections with known extremists who had already harmed us. Rather than chipping away at our 4th Amendment rights by allowing further domestic surveillance, Ashcroft might serve us better by finding out why good information gathered under existing surveillance rules went nowhere.
December 7, 2001
Re "Cheer Ashcroft On, With a Little Friendly Oversight," Commentary, Dec. 5: Alan Charles Raul suggests that President Bush can still have his extraordinary military tribunals and make it more palatable to the civil liberties crowd by having Bush select an oversight committee to advise him and Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft privately. Isn't this how we got Ashcroft in the first place? Steve Young Chatsworth There is another reason, in addition to those given by Robert Scheer ("It Is Crazy to Curtail Due Process Rules," Commentary, Dec. 4)