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thedrifter
12-21-05, 08:59 AM
A Patriot Acts
By Ben Stein
Published 12/21/2005 12:10:29 AM

Herewith a few humble questions about Bush, Iraq, the Patriot Act, and domestic surveillance after 9/11.

(1) Is there any evidence at all of Americans' rights being trampled upon by the application of the Patriot Act? Are we any less free? Are there detention camps anywhere? Are opponents of Bush afraid to express themselves? Has anyone had his library card confiscated? Where is all of the harm that Bush's opponents claim? It is just plain invisible, a fantasy used to justify their own paranoia, isn't it? It is sort of the same as the fear that Californians and Manhattanites have of eating food with "chemicals" or "additives" in it. Pure self-obsessional thinking about imaginary victimhood to justify their frightened and aggressive existence. I am not sure how much good the Patriot Act has done, but I sure don't see any harm, and I don't think anyone can really find it. If it's there, where are the examples?

(2) Where are all of the wild hurrahs that should have greeted the recent election in Iraq? It went off incredibly well, with all major groups participating, with a much smaller amount of violence than was expected. Iraq has gone from being the most unfree Arab country to the most free in a matter of months, thanks to the vision of George Bush and the heroism of America's fighting men and women. What has happened is beyond the hopes of even the greatest optimists. But where are the cheers? Why are Bush's opponents still bashing him over what is a clear success? Can it be that hurting Bush is more vital to them than helping a slave people become free? Do they really hate Bush so much that they would torpedo freedom for a nation of 25 million to spite Bush? I am afraid they would rather have us lose the war and humiliate Bush than win the war and have Bush succeed. What if this had been the GOP's attitude in World War II? Or Vietnam? Or Korea? I wonder if there is a name for what Bush's enemies are doing here.

(3) Does anyone remember 9/11 any longer? Innocent men and women betting burned to death? Temperatures so cruel that grown men and women held hands and leapt to their deaths from the high floors of the World Trade Center? Children crushed in the lower floors? Planeloads of totally guiltless men and women and children crashed to death? The worst terrorist act of all time? In case Chuck Schumer forgot, it was a big thing in his home state.

Of course Bush would want to do everything he could to investigate the doings of possible terrorists in America and right away, too. Of course he would want to use every resource, including the NSA. And of course, he alerted key members of Congress, none of whom protested. It was major, big time emergency. Why is it even a question of Presidential power? It was and is a question of protecting the nation. Obviously, if he had gone public with it right away, it would have alerted the terrorists to stay off the phone. Maybe he should have gone to a court. Or maybe he realized it was a life and death matter for immediate action. In any event, Bush's main goal has been to save the nation. He doesn't care about an imperium. He's a quiet, self-effacing guy. He wanted to save us from more 9/11's. Why doesn't he get some credit for that?

Earth to Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy: the enemies are the Al Qaeda and Zarqawi, not Bush. When you cripple the Commander in Chief, you are doing the bidding, unintentionally, I am sure, of some people who will not hesitate to cut your heads off. Keep it in mind. Let's get behind the man who is trying to save us, and when we're behind him, let's not stab him in the back.


Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He also writes "Ben Stein's Diary" in every issue of The American Spectator. Please click here to subscribe.