- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Columnist proposes Mephistophelian bargain

I hope Op-Ed columnist Tony Blankley was kidding with his suggestion that we "Trade civil liberties for better security" (Sept. 26). If so, under the serious circumstances now prevailing, he wasn't very funny.
Mr. Blankley suggests, "Congress should promptly pass two bills. The first would suspend the writ of habeas corpus for any detention relating, at our government's sole discretion, to possible terrorist intents. The second bill should construe the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures to mean that any search or seizure is reasonable in our government's efforts to prevent terrorism." With all due respect to Mr. Blankley, introducing a gestapo into the United States is a monumentally bad and enormously dangerous idea. If former President Bill Clinton and former Attorney General Janet Reno had proposed what Mr. Blankley suggests, Mr. Blankley (I hope) would have denounced it through the biggest megaphone he could find. President Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft would be far less likely to abuse the powers that Mr. Blankley would grant to them, but that is no excuse to turn our nation into a police state. We don't need kick-in-the-door searches, arbitrary arrests and indeterminate imprisonment all at the government's sole discretion, without even the possibility of judicial review.
Usually, it is the so-called liberal left who jump to curtail civil liberties at the first opportunity: Recall that it was liberal Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt who issued the order that resulted in the internment of more than 100,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, and it was the liberal Democratic Attorney General of California (and later Supreme Court Justice) Earl Warren who approved and helped carry out Roosevelt's order. Now certainly is not the time for conservatives (or crypto-anarcho-Libertarians, as Mr. Blankley calls himself) to join the so-called "liberal" left in stifling civil liberties. Hard cases make bad law, and as bad laws go, Mr. Blankley's hysterical suggestions are about as bad as it gets. If his recommendations were adopted, the destruction wrought against the twin towers of our freedom our Constitution and our Bill of Rights would parallel the destruction wrought against the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The terrorists behind the Sept. 11 atrocities would laugh to see how little we really value the liberty for which we claim to be fighting.

KIM WEISSMAN
Longmeadow, Mass.

Clarifying 'homeland' terminology

To have a worthwhile public debate on the actions we need to take to secure our nation (and the new laws and expenditures we need to do so), we must be accurate and consistent in our use of language. Please help your readers to understand that, in general:
"Homeland security" consists of all actions taken at every level (federal, state, local and private) to deter, defend against, or mitigate attacks within the United States or to respond to other major domestic emergencies.
The term "homeland defense" is a subset of "homeland security" and refers only to actions taken to deter or defend against attack. It does not include dealing with the consequences of attack or the response required to restore deterrence.
On occasion, the Department of Defense may be called upon to provide support within the United States for emergency and law enforcement purposes that have nothing to do with foreign attack. These operations, called "civil support," also are a subset of homeland security.
The actual definitions are a bit more technical and may be found on our Web site at www.homelandsecurity.org.

RANDY LARSEN
Director
Anser Institute for Homeland Security
Arlington

Egypt is a target, not a supporter, of terrorism

Your Sept. 29 editorial "Nobles and Knaves" contains erroneous allegations that Egypt is harboring members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorism organization. A.M. Rosenthal repeated those allegations in his Oct. 1 Commentary column, "Where terror also lurks."
Both President Bush, in his recent address to Congress, and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in numerous recent interviews (including one in The Washington Times), have indicated that this organization, which operates from countries outside of Egypt, has targeted Egypt itself. Could you have missed this?
You have taken advantage of the human suffering in America, it seems, to pursue your own political agenda of criticizing foreign assistance to Egypt. Your unabashed opportunism is disgraceful.
Egypt has been cooperating closely with the United States to counter terrorism. Nevertheless, you have placed your parochial interests before the higher goal of bringing the Sept. 11 perpetrators to justice.
You owe Egypt and the families of those who died on Sept. 11 an unequivocal apology.

HESHAM EL NAKIB
Press counselor
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Washington

Engagement more important than ever

Removing "globalization from the landscape of American politics," as Commentary columnist William Hawkins advocates, is clearly not an "effective response" to Sept. 11 ("Globalization grounded," Sept. 28). If anything, the most effective response is to continue the administration's efforts in rallying a global commitment to fighting and eliminating terrorism.
Mr. Hawkins advocates rebuilding U.S. foreign policy. We agree. But this is clearly not the time to legislate ourselves into a corner by conducting foreign policy on the cheap. Now, more than ever, we must engage with the rest of the world to promote and protect American principles. That means supporting a policy of engagement.
In his accusatory finger-pointing, Mr. Hawkins inaccurately portrays our mission. To set the record straight, USA Engage advocates engagement because trade and investment promote values that encourage political freedom, the rule of law and respect for human rights. It's no accident that the countries the United States has attempted to isolate the most Cuba and North Korea have changed the least in the past 40 years.
The business community has never claimed that it can single-handedly solve international problems, as Mr. Hawkins would like his readers to believe. On the contrary, the business community understands that a combination of diplomatic, cultural, political and economic engagement is what ultimately will yield a more productive and peaceful world.

DON DELINE
Co-chairman
USA Engage
Washington

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