Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Patriots defy by definition

The NYT explains its side on the breaking of the story on the latest secret security scandal, the not so swift SWIFT program.

I'm astounded that anyone buys the White House whining that this story compromised their ability to track terrorists. As has been amply pointed out, terrorists are mean, not stupid. Secrecy is their life. They have figured out they're being tracked already. The White House boasted of it frequently since 9/11, just as they often tout their success in running down drug money transactions. The unwitting victims of surveillance are the innocent Americans who are being swept up in these extrajudicial dragnets.

The NYT was absolutely right to publish the story. That's their job. To inform the public when the pubic trust is being breached. In their own words:
From our side of the news-opinion wall, the Swift story looks like part of an alarming pattern. Ever since Sept. 11, the Bush administration has taken the necessity of heightened vigilance against terrorism and turned it into a rationale for an extraordinarily powerful executive branch, exempt from the normal checks and balances of our system of government. It has created powerful new tools of surveillance and refused, almost as a matter of principle, to use normal procedures that would acknowledge that either Congress or the courts have an oversight role.
There are many precedents in history for this story and it doesn't even begin to approach the gravity of say, the publication of the Pentagon Papers. Swift is just the outrage du jour and we should not only thank the NYT for publishing the story, but demand the rest of the media follow suit and start exposing programs that unneccessarily go outside of laws designed to protect the foundations of our form of government. As the Times said:
The United States will soon be marking the fifth anniversary of the war on terror. The country is in this for the long haul, and the fight has to be coupled with a commitment to individual liberties that define America's side in the battle. A half-century ago, the country endured a long period of amorphous, global vigilance against an enemy who was suspected of boring from within, and history suggests that under those conditions, it is easy to err on the side of security and secrecy. The free press has a central place in the Constitution because it can provide information the public needs to make things right again. Even if it runs the risk of being labeled unpatriotic in the process.
And taking that risk is the very definition of patriot. Our founding fathers were also branded as traitors by their oppressors as well when they fought to establish our freedom from exactly this sort of excessive government interference in the first place.
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6 Comments:

Blogger Kathy said...

As has been amply pointed out, terrorists are mean, not stupid.

Best line I've read all day.

1:30:00 PM  
Blogger Danyael X said...

Hi!

The people are always the ones with the short stick in the end, and thats why we the people have to be attentive to what happens and scream bloody murder when the higher echelons of society tries something funny...

Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the US constitution say that the people have a right, nay a duty to overthrow the government (viva la revolution *_^) if the government ceases to follow the will of the people?

I've heard that somewere...

BTW the Pirate Party has spread from Sweden to, USA, France and Italy!

2:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Libby said...

Thanks Kathy and welcome Chris. This Pirate party sounds most interesting. I'll have to look into it when I'm feeling more myself.

2:57:00 PM  
Anonymous lester said...

we have two massive unprotected borders. who's fault is that the New York times?

Honestly, the reactin to this story was knee jerk but understandable. that said, I'm glad i know about this. I'm glad I know about the NSA thing. We need to emmrace isolationism w/ regards to the middle east or it will be imposed on us by force by the khalid sheik mohammeds of the world. they don't fight fair.

4:38:00 PM  
Blogger 4thEstater said...

re: chris' comment:

Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the US constitution say that the people have a right, nay a duty to overthrow the government...

Chris, it was that earlier, brave and unique document that began, "When, in the course of human events...."

Which document we perhaps should revive, to "throw off such Government..." etc.

Further on, there's this almost timely graf:
"In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

bw

8:45:00 PM  
Blogger 4thEstater said...

re: chris' comment:

Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the US constitution say that the people have a right, nay a duty to overthrow the government...

Chris, it was that earlier, brave and unique document that began, "When, in the course of human events...."

Which document we perhaps should revive, to "throw off such Government..." etc.

Further on, there's this almost timely graf:

"In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people." [emphasis added]

bw

8:49:00 PM  

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