February 4, 2008

Clarke and Olbermann on Presidential Fear-Mongering

In the vein of my last post (No Such Animal), Richard Clarke, the former head of counterterrorism at the National Security Council, published an excellent opinion piece last Friday. It's short and well worth reading in its entirety, but here are some highlights:

When I left the Bush administration in 2003, it was clear to me that its strategy for defeating terrorism was leaving our nation more vulnerable and our people in a perilous place. Not only did its policies misappropriate resources, weaken the moral standing of America, and threaten long-standing legal and constitutional provisions, but the president also employed misleading and reckless rhetoric to perpetuate his agenda.
Let me be clear: Our ability to track and monitor terrorists overseas would not cease should the Protect America Act expire. If this were true, the president would not threaten to terminate any temporary extension with his veto pen. All surveillance currently occurring would continue even after legislative provisions lapsed because authorizations issued under the act are in effect up to a full year.
In order to defeat the violent Islamist extremists who do not believe in human rights, we need not give up the civil liberties, constitutional rights and protections that generations of Americans fought to achieve. We do not need to create Big Brother. With the administration's attempts to erode FISA's legal standing as the exclusive means by which our government can conduct electronic surveillance of U.S. persons on U.S. soil, this is unfortunately the path the president is taking us down.

Meanwhile, Keith Olbermann has a special commentaryt on George W. Bush's fear-mongering efforts to grab yet more power for the presidency at the expense of the Constitution and civil liberties.

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