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Thursday, October 19, 2006

My Response to Juan Cole - Informed Comment: 10/18/2006

Informed Comment: 10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006

This was not published in his comments sections. I'm not sure if he was put off by my tone or by my opinion, probably the latter, but sometimes it just doesn't pay to mince words.


For all your extraordinary fact gathering and broad knowledge of the subject matter, you can descend into hyperbole. Eternal vigilance may be the price of liberty, but the rights of citizens and the powers of government have proven very elastic, especially during a time of war or national emergency. President Truman lost his case when the Supreme Court decided he did not have the power to take over the steel mills in 1952. There was a war going on then, but political climate and Truman’s standing prevailed against him. A decade before, Roosevelt imprisoned US citizens, but given the sense of crisis that existed then, I’m not even sure it was challenged in court. Somehow the republic survived. The slippery slope theory ignores real life necessities. Many actions taken on the battlefield violate the norms of everyday reality. When it happens away from the battlefield it becomes problematic, but perhaps necessary given the circumstances. I am not condoning immoral actions, but I would expect those entrusted with our national security to do what is necessary, when it is necessary. I hate sounding too much like Donald Rumsfeld and that gang, but this just emphasizes how important to have intelligent, discerning people in office. It’s a dangerous game, but we are required to play it.

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