Thursday, June 29, 2006

misplaced GOP anger over NY Times Article

I have been amused at the GOP anger, from Ohio's own Rep. Micheal Oxley all the way up to President Bush, at the disclosure in the New York Times and other media outlets that the U.S. government has been secretly tracking Americans financial transactions in order to identify "suspicious" activity that could signal terrorism. Disclosure of such activity will make it harder to fight the "war on terror" insists the GOP leadership.

To me, the NY Times and other media outlets have done Americans a public service by disclosing the fact that the Bush administration has been secretly tracking our finances, our phone calls, our e-mails, and other personal information, without search warrants, congressional approval, or any oversight of any kind, and completely in secret. Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that "Democracy dies behind closed doors." If that is true, and I believe it is, then our democracy has absolutely suffered during the Bush administration.

In an open, democratic society, government policy is supposed to be debated in the light of day. Instead, thanks to the Bush administration's secrecy, the policy is only now being debated years after it was put in place. The Bush administration, notorious for reprisals against those who disagree with its policy, is know howling with outrage that someone dared to publicize, and therefore subject to scrutiny, the policy that they felt was best.

Instead of lashing out at the New York Times, the Bush administration should look in the mirror and ask just how much more of our democracy will have to die, only to have the body exposed by the press, before they change their ways and begin to submit to congressional oversight, and public scrutiny, of their decisions to curtail our most precious freedoms for whatever cause they feel necessary. Our freedoms aren't free, and we won't retain them for long, unless we jealously guard them from government agents who violate them for their own expediency and convenience.

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