A mindset of “acceptable risk” is spreading throughout the federal government with regards to the War on Terror. The most recent example of this dangerous behavior involves the Patriot Act, which appears to be in its death throes, if not already defunct.
Granted, the Patriot Act has its flaws, and could stand some revision. But could the Congress and Senate actually contemplate a resurrection of the abominable security roadblocks that left the country vulnerable to 9-11? At this point, it seems this possibility is something that our heroic “leaders” in Washington are at least willing to ponder.
Unfortunately, the Patriot Act suffers from a widespread and undeserved reputation as a dire threat to the civil liberties of law-abiding Americans. Yet the worst aspect of the present quandary is that, once again, the ability to implement and uphold such a statute rests solely in the hands of the White House and Congressional Republicans. And once again, their past compromises and capitulation are coming back to haunt them.
The public harbors a justifiable distrust for the federal government, and in particular its reluctance to abide by constitutional limits to its scope and authority. It is altogether undeniable that it has exceeded its bounds many times with impunity, particularly during the Clinton years. Much could have been done to rectify past wrongs and rein it in during the early days of the Bush Administration. But sadly, this did not happen.
Were any average American touring the White House, to scratch his or her name onto the walls or furniture, a quick arrest and prosecution would quickly and properly ensue. Yet when Clinton staffers extensively vandalized White House office assets while vacating the premises in the final days before President Bush