Letter to the Editor

We should never concede liberties

Thursday, January 12, 2006

To the editor:

Admission by the Bush administration that it has engaged in domestic eavesdropping by monitoring U.S. citizens' telephone conversations had resulted in a lame defense by the president's right-wing allies. They defend the president by declaring, "If they have nothing to hide, they shouldn't fear the government." This rationale is both naive and dangerous. The only thing that separates a democracy from a dictatorship is a private citizen's relationship to his government.

Many German Jews supported Hitler's rise to power. They were willing to give up their civil liberties. Failure by the German people to identify and act brought disaster. Americans should never concede or allow their constitutional rights to be compromised. One can only wonder the extent of the protest by the right wing if Bill Clinton were still president.

Americans should demand this question be answered by their president: If the administration has nothing to hid, why should it fear review by either the judicial or legislative branches of government? It's called checks and balances, and it's provided in the U.S. Constitution.

I suspect the administration's actions are illegal and impeachable. We do, however, face a dilemma. Do we replace the puppet with the puppeteer?

PAUL J. ALLEE, Jackson