Monday, December 19, 2005

Did I mention 9/11?

The most-oft repeated comment about the President's recent PR pushback was that he has departed from type by taking responsibility for the intelligence failures, admitting planning mistakes and even taking a question or two (though they went, effectively unanswered).

The President's recent efforts, culminating in Sunday's Oval office address (his first since announcing the beginning of the Iraq War 2-1/2 years ago), have been designed to give the impression that the war in Iraq and the anti-terrorist efforts has been subject to continuous review; that problems have been dealt with behind closed doors, but policy changes must remain secret.

Yet despite changing his public attitude from petulantly dismissive to begrudgingly contrite, there is little in the Bush Administration's policy to support the view that anything has changed. In fact, in the face of public criticism, the administration has withdrawn behind the cloak of the imperial executive.

The administration's propensity for lashing out at its opponents, combined with an increasingly bold disregard for the Constitutional separation of powers, presents an even more disconcerting challenge. Our law enforcement can track down and arrest domestic threats, our military can flatten military opponents around the globe. Yet the very freedoms and principles those two examples of U.S. power are designed to protect may be under threat from within.

An administration that believes it must have unfettered use of force and unrestricted intelligence investigations (domestic and foreign) is one that threatens the U.S. role in the world. The
U.S. is the gold standard for freedom and power in the world. It stems form an absolute dedication to the protection of our basic rights as citizens. That freedom expresses itself in political action, commerce and even military strength.

The Constitution not only confers on us the freedoms we enjoy, but it also charges us with their protection. To tolerate violations of our rights for short-term, tactical gains, sets us on the ultimate slippery slope.

- Murphy

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