I am starting to see the wisdom of the people of Georgia, who tossed out a president who claimed to have won a corrupt election.
President Bush is complaining in ads that he is being attacked for pursuing terrorists, when what he is being attacked for is destroying the civil liberties that make America a unique beacon of freedom in the world. Here’s a description of the ad’s content in full. Here’s the salient passage:
As dirgelike music plays in the background, Bush describes the war on terror as “a contest of will, in which perseverance is power.”
Flashed on the screen are phrases criticizing Bush’s opponents, who go unnamed. “Some are now attacking the president for attacking terrorists,” the ad states. “Some call for us to retreat” — that last word in red letters — “putting our national security in the hands of others.”
Retired General Tommy Franks is actually speculating that the Constitution may not survive the “War on Terror,” because the bad guys are so bad that their tactics would lead to calls for a form of military government. Here’s Franks:
Discussing the hypothetical dangers posed to the U.S. in the wake of Sept. 11, Franks said that “the worst thing that could happen” is if terrorists acquire and then use a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon that inflicts heavy casualties.
If that happens, Franks said, “… the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy.”
Franks then offered “in a practical sense” what he thinks would happen in the aftermath of such an attack.
“It means the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world – it may be in the United States of America – that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution. Two steps, very, very important.”
I don’t think it is patriotic to question the liberties we are afforded by the Constitution and we must struggle against any effort to unwind the great work of the founders, otherwise the terrorists will have won. Franks’ words, followed by the suggestion that President Bush will be regarded by history as “an American hero,” are a warning that we should heed by resisting the fear-mongers. It would be unheroic to follow through on Franks’ prediction.
Now, here is Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal, who has the gall to say that the information available in the world is too darn dangerous for our security. It’s hard to believe a member of the press can actually write this:
With this speech we have reached a juncture, I think, where people have to agree with the president about the nature of the threat, or disagree. The threat is the proliferation of the technical knowledge beneath weapons of mass destruction, and the existence of people willing to use these technologies against large civilian populations or whole nations. That, in sum, is terrorism.
For those of us who agree about the nature of the threat, I think the time has come to recognize, in a formal way, that we have entered a period of history analogous to the Cold War–and that we now need Cold War institutions to win the war on terror.
Scott Rosenberg sums up the jagged edges of Hennignger’s reasoning quite succinctly. But, to be blunt: Henninger is saying it is time to shut the libraries and filter the Internet for anything that might be a threat to the placidity of a Bushian ascendancy. Look, I don’t want to see people die, but I’d rather die fighting tyranny than live in a world in which any minority that claims to “know better” decides what we can read, watch, learn and think.
We’re teetering right on the brink of complete tyranny.