Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Acting Patriotic

So, Congress is finally taking a close look at the Patriot Act - something that they apparently didn't do 3 and 1/2 years ago, but I digress ...

The biggest concern is that the Patriot Act may not actually be helping fight terrorism. Oh, sure it greatly increases the powers of the government and places some tight restrictions on civil liberties in order to maintain security, but some would argue that while the Patriot Act has limited certain freedoms, it hasn't come through on that important second part: increasing security. And what good is reducing freedom if you're not increasing security? Cutting through the jingoism and the soundbytes, it's a good idea to actually examine programs, laws, and tools. I mean, that's the standard we've implemented for students, doesn't our national security deserve the same scrutiny? I mean, if we're really serious about finding the most effective ways to combat terrorism. The only time I'm ever nervous about test results is if I think I have a chance of failing the test. Which is how AG Gonzales appears right now. Why would he want to fight for something if it's proven to be an ineffective tool in the War on Terrorism? I mean, unless the intent was never to increase security and really fight terrorism. Again, I digress.

From the MSNBC article:

In a political environment long on hyperbole and short on empirical evidence, this week’s hearings will be a chance for proponents of the Patriot Act to offer proof that it works and for the law’s opponents to offer specific instances of it being used to violate constitutional rights.

The hearings will be an opportunity for Gonzales "to put some color, some interesting stories, to the statistics," said Viet Dinh, who served as assistant attorney general in the Bush administration until last summer and had a central role in writing the Patriot Act.

I'm guessing that "color" will be brown-ish...