No Rights for he Frightened Under Patriot Act

In one of the most egregious transgressions against the United States Constitution since its ratification, President Bush signed a renewal for the USA Patriot Act. The renewal of the Act lifted the expirations from some of its most controversial positions. Provisions that would have limited the ability of the Federal Government to “sneak and peak,” at such things as library records were all blocked by the House leadership. The only amendments that did pass were ones designed to modify so called gag orders on custodians of records. When the government demands records, a custodian of those records is now allowed to get legal counsel, or to challenge the demand in courts. In this nation our rights are in a sorry state. Before the amendment to the gag order provision was made, people who the government demanded records from could be punished if they talked about the demand for records, let alone refused to provide those records. Don’t we all fear violent terrorists that are waiting around every corner trying to drop a bomb on our heads? The threat construction in this country is out of control. I’m not saying there aren’t people out there who want to harm citizens of this country, but the fear tactics that the Bush Administration has used to make level-headed citizens surrender their constitutional rights, is equivalent to the tactics of a low budget horror film. Even more terrifying is the use of Orwellian logic by the administration. People in America are so paralyzed by fear that they’ve accepted the idea that the only way to maintain the peace in the international community is to wage war. Did we suddenly step into 1984? What kind of a world will we be living in if we surrendered our rights so that the government can wage war on whomever or whatever they deem to be a threat? Before signing the renewal, President Bush declared: “As we wage the war on terror overseas, we’re also going after the terrorists here at home.” He went on to explain that “the Patriot Act closed dangerous gaps in America’s law enforcement and intelligence capabilities; gaps the terrorists exploited when they attacked us on September the 11th.” Bush’s message is that if you let the government do whatever it wants, it can save you from a terrorist attack. What kind of reasoning is this? If George Bush has his way we would all be getting up and reciting “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength” before we start each day. We will never close every loophole in our defenses. Even if the government could wire tap, search without even a hint of a warrant, and imprison anyone they wanted, for however long they wanted, people who hate us will still hate us. Decades of American foreign policy have created the “monsters,” that now keep us up at night. The CIA trained Osama Bin Laden to fight the Soviets before he was a “terrorist.” We need to ask why these people hate us, and we need to question our status as a hegemonic power in the world. At the end of the day, more war and the Patriot Act are not going to solve the problem of terrorism.