THE U.S.A. PATRIOT ACT: IT'S A GOOD THING
By Paul Walfield
The 21st. century, for many, was going to be a new beginning for the world. There would be peace and prosperity, a fantastic economy, jobs for everyone, and advances in technology that would make most folks’ heads spin. Then there was September 11, 2001. It really did happen, and it really did matter. It was horrific, and it changed perceptions of what the future holds for all of us. While many on the political Left would like us all to either forget that horrible day or belittle its affect, we cannot for- get or belittle its effect, and the Leftists cannot hoodwink us into doing so.
Many people, after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the crash of flight 93), began a campaign of disinformation, claiming that if we did anything different, the terrorists would win. If we put more police on the street, the terrorists would win. If we attacked Afghanistan, the terrorists would win. If we fought back against terrorists, the terrorists would win. If we bought duct tape, the terrorists would win. The most rediculous aspect of this disinformation campaign carried on by the political Left was the claim that, if we fought terrorism and killed a bunch of terrorists, the terrorists would get even angrier and want to do more harm.
The political Left seems to want all of us to believe that the killing of Americans by terrorists did not happen before the September 11th. attacks, the USS Cole bombing, the Khobar Towers bombing, etc., and would start up again only if we “attacked” the terrorists. As far as the Left was concerned, the only thing that we could do was sur- render.
In other words, if we did nothing, if we allowed terrorists to enter our country freely, if we just allowed our country to be attacked, our people slaughtered in the streets, then we win and the terrorists lose. It made sense to no one but Sean Penn, Janeane Garrafalo, and a whole lot of people in San Francisco.
We did attack and defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan and, in so doing; the terrorists no longer have a sanctuary there. Many were killed and many were captured and, to date, nothing like September 11th. has been repeated. Saddam Hussein and his brutal regime were removed from power in Iraq and, for the first time, the people of Iraq have a chance to live their lives in freedom and peace. America is no longer subject to the whims of that brutal dictator’s aspiration for more power and ties to terrorists.
Here at home, we have greater security when we travel by air, and our borders have been tightened up a bit. We also have the U.S.A. Patriot Act. The USAPA. was signed by President Bush on October 26, 2001, in direct response to the new reality of terrorists who had declared war on the United States of America and who were acting on that declaration, killing Americans and trying to destroy our institutions, our industries, and our economy. The terrorists want to end our way of life.
The U.S.A. Patriot Act is just one tool in an arsenal of means to combat the threat to America. Unfortunately, the people making the most noise against the Act are Americans.
The USAPA is, in actuality, a compilation of about 15 existing statutes that have been reworked to fit the 21st. century. Though, to hear its critics, “ordinary Ameri- cans have taken a tremendous blow with this law.” Bill Moyers, of PBS fame, has said that the present administration is engaged in a “deliberate, intentional destruc- tion of the United States of America.” It would be enlightening for all if any of these critics could point to any specific law-abiding American citizen whose rights have been denied or his or her activities limited to the point of his or her actual detriment.
We all get to hear generalities, blanket condemnations, and even an ordinance passed by a town in California that makes it illegal to comply with the U.S.A. Patriot Act--but why? Who in America need fear a law that makes being an enemy of Amer- ica, a terrorist, a target of American justice?
The U.S.A. Patriot Act permits the government to make an application, based on intelligence, or knowledge, of criminal activity, to a judge of competent jurisdiction to issue an order allowing the surveillance of Internet use by computer “trespassers.” The Act defines trespassers as individuals who without authorization, communicate from a protected computer. After all, it is known that terrorists use the Internet and that monitoring their use of it can help in stopping the next terrorist attack. Who in America has to worry about having intelligence on them concerning terrorist activity, leading to surveillance? Why would any law-abiding citizen be against that?
The Patriot Act also allows roving wiretaps. Terrorists use different cell phones and different computers to communicate with each other. Roving wiretaps follow the suspected terrorist, rather than the phone. It makes sense to every one except peo- ple on the fringe Left.
Also, under the Act, ISPs are relieved of liability for disclosing an Internet user’s information in the event that the provider believes that an emergency involving im- mediate danger of death or serious physical injury justifies the disclosure. How awful, for the Left! The bad guys can’t sue the ISP!
The Act also gives the Attorney General of the United States authority to obtain foreign students’ names, addresses, visa status, academic status, criminal record, etc., and relieves the educational institutions of any liability for the release of in- formation to the Attorney General. The Act also allows the FBI to ask Librarians to hand over the activity list of suspected terrorists who use the library as a base for communications and research.
Terrorists have used and currently use student visas to gain entry into the U.S.A., and have in fact taken advantage of our own laws to avoid detection after entry into this country. And terrorists are known to use our libraries. How does the federal government’s knowledge of “foreign students” on American soil and their wherea- bouts, or what activities suspected terrorists have been up to in our libraries, infringe on American civil liberties?
Now, the second wave of hysteria is being heard from the political Left as well as others who need to pay more attention to the reality on the ground rather than the ethereal. The Attorney General is asking for an expansion of the Patriot Act. The “expansion” involves closing loopholes in the present law and adding the death pen- alty for terrorist acts. Attorney General John Ashcroft was grilled by the Democrats at a hearing in Washington on June 5, 2003, in spite of the fact that, under the present Patriot Act, according to a report in the Red Bluff Daily News, “terrorist financial infrastructures had been shut down, and more than 1,000 international terrorists and spies targeted over the past year (including alleged terrorist cells in Buffalo, NY , Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, and Detroit, MI), with the investigations and surveillance activities leading to convictions.”
The Democrats seemed more concerned with the deportation of illegal aliens than the fact that terrorists had declared war on the United States of America. For the Democrats, September 11th. was far in the past, and to allow Americans to actually be affected by and to do something about terrorist activity was out of the question.
It is all but impossible to find a time in the history of the United States or any other country in the world (except maybe France) where it was attacked, its people killed and war declared by an enemy, but nothing was done and the people of the country attacked were not asked to change any part of their lives to combat the foe.
Basically, if you are told that anything you do different after war has been declared will be seen as a victory for your enemy, the message, in effect, is that “resistance is futile,” that you have already lost the war. Why the political Left and many Demo- crats want Americans to believe that nonsense is the subject of a different article. Suffice it to say, as Americans, we need not accept the rationalizations of the Left and the terrorists’ “reasons” for blowing up buildings and murdering innocent Amer- icans.
In any case, America is under attack and is at war. We need to fight and we need to do so on many fronts, and in many ways. Making laws that target the enemies of America is a “good thing,” as is accepting that what we took for granted before 9-11 must not be taken for granted ever again.
The making of new laws and the revamping of old laws, to toughen them up and help thwart future terrorist acts, as was done in the Patriot Act, constitute the very least we can do for America now, and help ensure freedom and the American way of life for our children and youth in the future.
Terrorism & Homeland Security
Disloyalty, Subversion, Sedition, & Treason
Liberals, Statists, Socialists, & Other Leftists
Paul Walfield is a freelance writer and member of the State Bar of California, with an undergraduate degree in Psychology and
post-graduate study in behavioral and analytical psychology. He resided for a number of years in the small town of Houlton, Maine,
and is now a California attorney. His articles appear in numerous periodicals and on numerous websites. He has been the featured guest
on KTSA News Talk Radio. CONTACT INFORMATION: Email: email@example.com
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