- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 5, 2005

Do you believe in time travel? You should, for in a very real sense, you are experiencing it right now — in the worst possible way.

Because of widespread complacency and the passage of more than three and a half years, it’s as if our nation has been transported back in time to Sept. 10, 2001. You remember that day.

For all the wrong reasons, what we did on that particularly uneventful day is now seared into our memory banks. It was the last day our minds were free to think about anything and everything but the vicious reality of terrorism visited upon our nation, our neighborhoods and our loved ones, in a horrific and indelible way. It was the last day we had no trepidation about tomorrow.

Al Qaeda, and all terrorists who seek to obliterate the United States from the face of the Earth, are counting on their three best allies to help them accomplish their twisted mission: the passage of time, complacency and ignorance. While we don’t control the passage of time and are in fact grateful for its power to make awful memories fade into darkness, we do and must control complacency and ignorance. Our very survival as a people, a nation and a democracy depend on never forgetting what happened to us on September 11, 2001.

Some individuals and groups however, such as the ACLU, seem determined to make sure we don’t remember how to protect ourselves from further attack. Since when did it become “un-American” to defend our nation, our citizens and our way of life from the inhumanity of terrorism? If you listen to these voices from the left, then the Patriot Act, the sole purpose of which is to protect our nation from terrorism, is somehow “un-American.” Most of what drives the opposition to the Patriot Act is ignorance and childlike tantrums thrown in the direction of President Bush. While the ignorance is fixable, the tantrums may require therapy, medication or relocating to a nation those on the far left deem “better” than the United States.

Pure and simple, the Patriot Act was created to protect us from another September 11. Pre-September 11, our intelligence and law- enforcement agencies did not communicate very well with each other. The Patriot Act seeks to remedy that problem.

The Patriot Act does not weaken our Constitution. Rather, it respects and strengthens it. As an example, our government wants to protect us from terrorists by using what are called “roving wiretaps.” Terrorists don’t use one phone. They use many. Therefore, a “roving wiretap” is needed. For some reason, gathering information this way seems to upset the ACLU, even though our government gets a court order before using the “roving wiretap.”

The Patriot Act also allows those charged to protect us to use “delayed notification warrants” against terrorists. Again, some on the far left don’t like this idea, even though for years, law enforcement agencies have use delayed notification warrants against the Mafia. As with a roving wiretap, our Constitution is respected and the delayed-notification warrant — which simply allows those going after terrorists to collect as much data as possible before the target is made aware — must be granted by court order. Why those who oppose the Patriot Act think this is a violation of a terrorist’s civil rights is beyond me.

There is example after example that can be listed as to why the Patriot Act is legal, logical, constitutional and needed. What is not as well known among the general public is that the Patriot Act is scheduled to expire at the end of this year. While those on the far left would cheer such a passing, they need to understand that terrorism and the evil it brings will not expire at the end of this year. And if our Congress does allow the Patriot Act to expire, those cheering louder than those on the far left will be those who mean us the greatest harm.

Complacency, ignorance and the passage of time: Those who live to kill us are counting on them. To stop or alter such plans, we need to renew and enhance the Patriot Act.

Douglas MacKinnon was press secretary to former Sen. Bob Dole. He is also a former White House and Pentagon official.

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