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PAUL: Celebrating American independence while abetting tyranny
Egypt’s future should be decided in Cairo, not Washington
Question of the Day
One of the acts that would eventually spark the War for American Independence was when the British government authorized Writs of Assistance to British officers in the colonies. This gave government the power to search any residence or business without any warning, supervision or rules. Soldiers were allowed to walk from door-to-door, house-to-house, searching and confiscating property to their hearts’ content.
As is always the case with government power, this policy was widely abused. When the Founding Fathers drafted and ratified the U.S. Constitution, they included the Fourth Amendment — the prohibition of search and seizure — to guarantee that no such affronts to liberty would happen again.
That is, if we follow the Constitution.
Today, we see a government agency that thinks its has the power to search citizens by going from phone-to-phone, gathering any-and-all data to examine to their hearts’ content. The National Security Agency phone scandal is precisely the sort of government action the Founding Fathers fought a revolution to stop and why we celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.
We also have an Internal Revenue Service that targets political dissidents, which is a direct violation of the First Amendment. A Department of Justice that seizes journalists’ phone records without a warrant, which is a violation of both the First and Fourth Amendments.
The signers of the Declaration of Independence would be appalled.
Another reason we fought the revolution was to prevent government oppression of protest, with perhaps the Boston Massacre being the most famous example.
In Egypt, protest is met with tear gas, manufactured in America and paid for with American taxes. When Egyptians protest, they protest against their government and also America for subsidizing that government.
Despite the fact that Mohamed Morsi recently convicted 16 Americans of political crimes in a show trial, the Obama administration still sent them over $2 billion this year.
American tax dollars flow no matter which despot rules.
Mr. Mubarak abused his citizens and his own power, yet we gave him billions of dollars and advanced weaponry, including F-16 jets. Mr. Mubarak would eventually use those jets to intimidate the protesters who would eventually end his regime.
But worse, due to our aid and support, Egyptians see Mr. Morsi and America as the same.
Some American politicians never know when to say no. Three prominent interventionists called for arming Moammar Gadhafi the year before they called for arming the Libyan Islamists rebels who overthrew Gadhafi. Which Islamic rebels killed the American ambassador? No one seems to know and no one has been brought to justice. Often, today’s “rebels” can become tomorrow’s tyrants, and vice versa.
About the Author
Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Homeland Security committees.
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