Liberties lost

Photo of Peale's painting of Mr. Jefferson

Among the more sobering editorials I’ve read recently, including the New York Times editorial of 8 July calling for an end of US military engagement in Iraq (hooray, and welcome to the party!), an editorial from the The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression stands alone as a clear example of the kind of political analysis that I think my country sorely needs.

The TJ Center’s editorial catalogs the extensive abuses to our nation’s fundamental freedoms that are being conducted under the auspices of protecting those very freedoms. The Times editorial calls for America to come home. The TJ Center’s editorial shows that, if we do not as citizens demand an end to abuses of basic political rights, there won’t be much of America to which anyone can come home.

We in the US need to stop the war and the assault on constitutionally protected rights. Neither is something that can be done instantly; both will take time, but the longer we wait, the more difficulty we shall have in accomplishing each.

The two are linked. Without the façade of a war on terrorism, the present adminstration has no pretext for its assualt on liberties. The erosion of liberties is being sold to the American public in much the same way as the invasion of Iraq was sold: Flimsy arguments founded on faulty premises.

The TJ Center editorial was published 4 July in the Baltimore Sun, but one can read it under the heading, “Liberties Lost” from the center’s Web site. The Times editorial was published 8 July and is available (free subscription) as “The Road Home.”

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Filed under Civil rights, Free speech, News, Notes and comments, Peace, Politics

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