Thursday, May 25, 2006

Leave the Spying to US

The Bush administration has drawn the lines more clearly than ever regarding executive authority. If "national security" is involved- its within the authority of the executive branch to do WHATEVER they deem is necessary to preserve security.

In other words, there is a zero-sum relationship between civil liberties and national security- and national security will win every time under this interpretation of executive power.

A Bush administration official wrote, "courts are ill-equipped as an institution to judge harm to national security." (linked above)

Unfortunately, the executive branch is ill-equipped to judge harm to civil liberties. When national security is prized above fundamental rights- dangerous policies come into being. The detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the Illegal surveillance of civil rights organizations and anti-war groups under the FBI's Counter Intelligence Program are but two examples of the extremes the executive will go to under the guise of protecting national security.

The country is divided on the current policy of illegal surveillance. After September 11th, it seems rational to allow the government more latitude in preventing future attacks. Some argue that the government must keep secrets and to even make this program public threatens security. Others view it simply as a price they are willing to pay for what they perceive as better security.

These arguments are flawed on several levels. To prevent terrorism, the answer is not to spy on and terrorize citizens. No one is arguing that spying of any kind should be illegal- just unwarranted surveillance of innocent Americans. Promoting freedom and civil liberties is one of our best weapons in countering fundamentalist ideologies. The argument that exposing "secrets" damages our national security is merely a way to leave executive authority unchecked.


Anonymous newshound said...

You are right. Fox News is always spinning the debate as if it is between you civil liberties or being blown up. There really isn't such a relationship. We can have both.

7:31 PM  

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