Take the Patriot Act. About two out of every three stories about the Act emphasize claims that the legislation infringes on the civil liberties of ordinary Americans and threatens privacy. Some reports make it sound as if we live in a police state. Yet critics are vague on specifics. “I have never had a single [verified] abuse of the Patriot Act reported to me,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said on the Senate floor in 2003. “My staff e-mailed the ACLU and asked them for instances of actual abuses. They e-mailed back and said they had none.” In reality, the Patriot Act has been instrumental in keeping our country safe. (To better sort fact from fiction, check out The Heritage Foundation’s “Patriot Act Reader.”)
Now, no one’s arguing that the war effort has been perfectly executed, and some improvements can be made. Perhaps most important, as Carafano wrote in a recent paper, is for our elected officials not to make things worse. “At least three pieces of legislation -- port security, chemical security, and FEMA reorganization -- will be at the top of the list of measures considered” in the days ahead, he writes. “In their zeal to act, legislators must avoid compromises that will make America less safe, free and prosperous.”
Because of the brave resolve and effort of our president, and committed men and women at various levels of our government, we have uncovered and stopped numerous planned attacks since 9/11, five of them within the last year alone.
President Bush often soberly reminds us that in order to remain safe and thwart attacks, we have to be right 100 percent of the time – yet the terrorists only have to be right one time in order to nail us. Yet, we have come a very long way, and have reason to be optimistic about our future, as the president also reminded us in a recent radio address:
“The war on terror will be long and difficult, and more tough days lie ahead. Yet we can have confidence in the final outcome, because we know what America can achieve when our nation acts with resolve and clear purpose. With vigilance, determination and courage, we will defeat the enemies of freedom, and we will leave behind a more peaceful world for our children and our grandchildren.”