Opponents of the Bush administration's homeland defense and immigration enforcement efforts complain that the war on terror has eviscerated civil liberties and constitutional rights. They have falsely portrayed the Patriot Act as allowing the feds to spy on library patrons without a warrant or criminal suspicion -- a lie perpetuated by the truth-challenged New York Times.
They have hysterically compared the detention of illegal aliens from terror-friendly countries to the World War II internment of Japanese. And they have likened Ashcroft, Dinh, and the Justice Department to the Taliban and Nazis. Never mind that the courts have so far upheld every major initiative and tactic from keeping immigration deportation hearings closed, to maintaining secrecy of the names of illegal alien detainees, to allowing use of the Patriot Act surveillance powers.
Dinh is refreshingly unapologetic and to the point in response to the alarmists: "The threat to liberty comes from Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, not from the men and women in blue who work to uphold the law." Drawing on Edmund Burke's theory of "Ordered Liberty," which argues that liberty cannot be exercised unless government has first provided civil order, Dinh observes: "I think security exists for liberty to flourish and liberty cannot exist without order and security."
On July 4th, this fundamental lesson of Sept. 11 must not be forgotten. The charred earth, mangled steel, crashing glass, fiery chaos and eviscerated bodies are indelible reminders that the blessings of liberty in America do not secure themselves.
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