Comments: Convinctions under Patriot Act

You advocate despotism and tyranny by the state, as if that will protect us from terrorists.

Posted by dfadaf at April 17, 2004 10:33 AM

Dfadaf, you are too stupid to be out on the internet alone. You should see about getting a thinking-brain dog to assist you.

Posted by Pixy Misa at April 17, 2004 12:00 PM

Apparently you don't realize that thousands of innocent Americans are having their lives torn apart by an incompetent State because of the Patriot Act.

The abuse of power by the American State has led to terrorists waging war on it. Another abuse of power in the name of "security" will exacerbate problems --not solve them.

If you can take a second to stop bowing before your fascist gods to look at what is going on you might see that.

Posted by dadfda at April 17, 2004 07:29 PM

Ok, I'll bite...

Apparently I don't realize that "thousands of innocent Americans are having their live torn apart" by the Patriot Act.

Care to provide any links to more than single source reports (note the words "more than single source reports") on actual abuse of the Patriot Act describing this?

Facts please. And don't toss around verbal bombs like "fascist" if you want to be taken seriously.

I'd also be interested in hearing your position on the gathering of US intelligence pre 9-11. Was the US government doing too much pre 9-11 or too little?

I have a (semi) open mind. Care to make a decent logical argument for your position?

Posted by Warren at April 18, 2004 03:21 AM

I too am eager to hear the answers to Warren's questions but I'm not holding my breath.

Lord knows when the act was first proposed I was concerned but all the sites screaming about state suppression weren't citing any specifics from the Act itself (which I took the trouble to read before choosing to support it.)

Any power can be misused, but I want a rational examination of those powers, not knee-jerk hysteria.

Unfortunately, as civil liberties groups have lost credibility, they cannot fulfill their historic role so I say dump them and replace them with a group which is more concerned with protecting our liberties than headlines.

Posted by Debbye at April 18, 2004 09:48 AM

A few points:

Pixy Misa - You might want to consider reasoned argument over insults.
dadfda - You should indeed be careful with words like 'fascist' and 'tyranny.'

That having been said, the post does in fact argue for an authoritarian state to protect Americans against terrorists. Some of us are more afraid of moves toward a police state than terrorism. It is absolutely not a case of "Tracking down and stopping terrorists is a priority. Period." The world is not as simple a place as conservatives like to think it is. There are trade-offs, and we must always be vigilant that 'solutions' are not worse than the problems they are meant to address. In any case, intelligence and law enforcement agencies did not require additional powers. They were able to gather sufficient information with the powers they already had - it's obvious that there were failures of leadership, right up to the president, that were far more serious than any systemic problems.

One last point - Yes, I'm familiar with the little boy who cried Wolf - I believe it's a similar story to the one about the little boy who cried WMD's.

Posted by bob at April 18, 2004 11:42 AM

Bob:

Coming back to your comment, and related to my earlier question, what makes the Patriot Act suddenly turn the US into an "authoritarian state".

So I can ask you, Was the US government doing too much pre 9-11 or too little?

If I understand you (and correct me if I misinterpret you), you believe that the US Goverment had all the powers necessary and does not require any more. But the system still failed. Why?

As the 9/11 commission is trying to show, the biggest hit against the US government was that they were unable to connect the dots.

Sadly, the way the 911 commission is working has devolved into "blamestorming". There is enough manure on this plate for everyone to have a bite to eat.

That includes Bush (for not being able to stop the attach during the 1.5 years of his watch) AND Clinton (for 8 years of ineffective action during his) AND Clarke (for proposing ineffective measures) AND Gorelick (for encouraging the "wall" between branches of gov'mt) AND members of both houses of Congress (for not funding counter terrorism and intelligence) AND....the American People for not taking the threat seriously enough to make it a priority with the politicians.

...and just to be Equal Opportunity here, I didn't take it seriously either (I write this from Canada), so I guess I'm responsible for this too.

So the question remains, what is the best way to protect an open society when the danger of failure is high?

I believe the divided nature of US Government has enough levels of power (and check and balances) to correct bad laws if this becomes a large problem.

I'm a bit more worried about Canada, where federal power is waaaay too concentrated (and would likely shock Americans if you explained the Canadian system of gov'mt to them).

Two last points, commenting that conservatives (whoever they are...aren't they attempting the most radical exercise in democratization in Iraq) oversimplify the world works appears an intellectual conceit on your part. With Clinton, we've seen the attempt of applying nuance, and complexity, and searching for root causes. I believe 9-11 was a direct result of that approach. Time for another approach.

In the western world, having power and not using it is considered a cultural virtue. In other parts of the world, it is considered weakness. Making that statement may sound simplistic, but does not make it any less true.

Finally, regarding WMD. Bush never made WMD the sole reason to invade Iraq (read the speeches). That seemed to be the conclusion made by others. But that's an argument for another day.

Posted by Warren at April 18, 2004 11:08 PM

Well said, Warren.

I try not to get riled when a Canadian tries to argue that the US is becoming more authoritarian, but letting the weeds overgrow in our own backyard because we are too busy sniping at our neighbours is too common a practice up here.

One word: Rolodex. Which country invaded a reporter's home and office and seized material on the basis of their anti-terror laws?

Posted by Debbye at April 19, 2004 12:14 PM