There is a very good editorial in today’s New York Times entitled “The Real Agenda” on how we have arrived at this sad and weakened state of affairs. It says,
It is only now, nearly five years after Sept. 11, that the full pictureYou can read the entire editorial here.
of the Bush administration’s response to the terror attacks is becoming clear.
Much of it, we can see now, had far less to do with fighting Osama bin Laden
than with expanding presidential power. Over and over again, the same
pattern emerges: Given a choice between following the rules or carving out some
unprecedented executive power, the White House always shrugged off the legal
constraints. Even when the only challenge was to get required approval from an
ever-cooperative Congress, the president and his staff preferred to go it alone.
While no one questions the determination of the White House to fight terrorism,
the methods this administration has used to do it have been shaped by another,
perverse determination: never to consult, never to ask and always to fight
against any constraint on the executive branch.
One result has been a frayed democratic fabric in a country founded
on a constitutional system of checks and balances. Another has been a less
effective war on terror.
….the horror of 9/11 became an excuse to take up this
cause behind the shield of Americans’ deep insecurity. The results have been
devastating. Americans’ civil liberties have been trampled. The nation’s image
as a champion of human rights has been gravely harmed. Prisoners have been
abused, tortured and even killed at the prisons we know about, while other
prisons operate in secret. American agents “disappear” people, some entirely
innocent, and send them off to torture chambers in distant lands. Hundreds of
innocent men have been jailed at Guantánamo Bay without charges or rudimentary rights. And Congress has shirked its duty to correct this out of fear of being painted as pro-terrorist at election time.