In addition to the lack of properly targeted security procedures at airports, and the failure to resist the gutting of TIA, a truly gaping deficiency in our arrangements is the openness of our northern and southern borders to illegal entrants. In the south, reportedly, as many as 1,000 illegal aliens a day enter through Arizona’s Organ Pipe National Monument park, where they have become so brazen that they have cleared their own private roads. In the north, there are plenty of easily accessible and unmanned entry points from Canada. So far, Washington has not adequately responded to calls for more park-ranger staffing and military assistance, let alone addressed the lamentable condition of our immigration procedures in general.
There is, in short, plenty of work to go around. The war we are in, like no other we have ever faced, may last for decades rather than years. The enemy blends into our population and those of other nations around the world, attacks without warning, and consists of men who are quite willing to die in order to kill us and destroy our civilization. Never before has it been possible to imagine one suicidal individual, inspired by the promise of paradise and armed with a nuclear device, able to murder tens or even hundreds of thousands of Americans in a single attack. Those facts justify what the administration has already done, and urgently require more.
Of course, to say this, or to question the arguments of critics, is to risk being accused of censorship, actual or preemptive, or even McCarthyism. Here is an article in the New York Times raising the alarm about statements by Attorney General John Ashcroft:
In the past, Mr. Ashcroft has gone so far as to question the loyalty of those who challenge the constitutionality of his tactics. In a defining moment in December 2001 at a Senate hearing, Mr. Ashcroft declared: “To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America’s enemies, and pause to America’s friends.”
As it happens, “phantoms of lost liberty” is a perfectly apt description for much of the commentary that has been offered on the administration’s initiatives. It is demonstrably true, moreover, that people who recklessly exaggerate the threat to our liberties in the fight against terrorism do give ammunition, moral and otherwise, to our enemies. Asserting as much does not impugn the loyalty of such people. They are perfectly free to say what they think, and as loudly as they please. But neither should they themselves be immune from criticism, even by a government official.
From a simply extraordinary defense of the Patriot Act by Robert Bork, who should be on the Supreme Court and, if he were, would have saved it from enshrining racism into the law of the United States. I cant do it justice in a summary. Go. Read it. Now.