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Some of us still care about the Constitution.

Reader comment on item: My Gloom: Back to September 10

Submitted by tr (United States), Dec 28, 2005 at 14:19

After 9/11 you thought: "Are Americans truly ready to sacrifice liberties and lives to prosecute seriously the war against militant Islam?"

I thought the very same thing, only in these words: "Will Americans really dismantle the Constitution without even looking into what happened?" If you recall, there was no investigation into the massive and complete failure of our "defense" forces for over a year after 9/11 -- but the "Patriot" act passed immediately.

There was already a system in place that should have stopped the 9/11 plot dead in many different ways. The FBI knew well enough that a memo, "Al Qaeda determined to strike in US" was the President's daily briefing a month before, detailing a plan to fly planes into buildings in lower Manhattan -- yet nothing was done. There was already a system in place that should intercept planes that have lost radio contact within ten minutes -- it works, flawlessly over a dozen times a year on average, as we saw on live TV when the golfer Payne Stewart's plane experienced explosive decompression. Yet, the first time it was actually needed, it failed four out of four times.

Yet our brave representatives didn't even consider that there might be some form of human error on our part. No, they zoomed in on the obvious troublemaker -- the Constitution! Within weeks, they had suspended at least four of the ten parts of the Bill of Rights with their "Patriot" act (it is like dust and ashes in my mouth to say that foul name -- Patrick Henry is not sleeping quietly these days).

And if they had decided, as you did, that "militant Islam" is the greatest threat to world peace today, why did they chose to invade one of the few secular Arab states? Why didn't they invade, say, Saudi Arabia? Don't forget, the World Trade Center was in fact destroyed by a team of Saudi Arabians; it was blown up before by Saudis; Bin Laden is a Saudi; the Saudis run a brutal, oppressive religious dictatorship; I could go on ad nauseum.

Or even better, why not capture Bin Laden? What about him? The United States gave up on this most successful and most evil of "militant Islamic terrorists" within a few months of 9/11 -- leaving him free to commit or help with atrocities in Bali, Madrid, perhaps London -- claiming they know where he is but cannot capture him!

Even more astonishing than the suspension of the Bill of Rights was the speed with which the government used their new powers for evil. Within a year, they were spying without warrants on American citizens; they had created a Gulag of secret concentration camps all over the world; they had authorized torture, and men who in at least some cases were demonstrably innocent were beaten, sexually abused, and even murdered.

The government's argument justifying these moral outrages was simple -- because of 9/11, the President had unlimited and everlasting powers to supersede the law and override the Constitution. "The Constitution is not a suicide pact," we are told, which means, "Security always trumps liberty."

Let me quote a Mr. Franklin to you: "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."

The terrorists won on 9/11. Our cowardly representatives voted to dismantle the Constitution rather than even examine why the defense system, for which American taxpayers have paid trillions of dollars over decades, completely and utterly failed to defend those same American taxpayers the very first time it was called into use.
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