The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. - Wm. Blake

Friday, June 30, 2006

Post-Gazette Defends Freedom

You wouldn't think that would be a headline, but it's become news when an American newspaper defends the First Amendment against so-called patriots.
The war on terror is being fought to preserve our freedoms, or so the American people are told. But freedom is not just a feel-good expression -- it has real meaning. In the paranoid post-9/11 era, that truth seems largely to have been forgotten.

Last week, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal had a story the Bush administration did not want published, although it is The New York Times that is now taking most of the heat. Based on information from nearly 20 anonymous current and former government officials and industry executives, The Times' story described a secret government anti-terrorist effort -- put in place weeks after 9/11 -- to tap "financial records from a vast international database."


None of this is particularly surprising -- it would be more surprising if the government did not follow the money trail to catch terrorists. Clearly, however, this program is occurring in a questionable area of legal and privacy concerns and these are exaggerated because the program's scope is huge.

Given that the Bush administration has shown scant respect for the law, both in domestic surveillance and in confining terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay in defiance of the Geneva Conventions, this is an important news story that should be of interest to every American who cares about how the government behaves.

Yet because it revealed classified information, the administration and its supporters see this story as something akin to treason. This is consistent with their view that the war on terror should pre-empt all debate and the messenger must always be blamed when the American people are told about dubious policies. On Monday, President Bush said, "The disclosure of this program is disgraceful" and added that the disclosure of the program "makes it harder to win this war on terror."

That offends common sense.

[emphasis added]
So three cheers for a frank defense of the freedoms that actually keep us free.

Read the whole thing.


Post a Comment

<< Home