Laurel, a smart and charming 14 year old girl attending an arts middle school in the southern Appalachians, wrote in reply to my remarks about the Fort Dix Plot:
"You have a point, but remember that if we give up on human rights to fight terrorism, the terrorists win. They make us into what they are and what they want us to be. If that happens, we loose all moral high ground and become what we are trying to defeat. Human rights must always be protected, in war or in peace, if our democracy and the values writen into our constitution are to survive."
And I replied:
Two thoughts -
As to the terrorists winning, if the Muslims had succeeded in massacring 100 of our soldiers as they planned, would not that have been a big win for them?
Second is a hard truth. Just as five is early to learn that there is no Easter Bunny, fourteen is early to learn that our constitutional rights do not come from G_d. They come from the Supreme Court. The Court both articulates and shapes our laws, values, and customs. And over the past two hundred years of war and peace the Court has said repeatedly that we have fewer freedoms in wartime than in peacetime. Yet another reason to love peace and avoid war.
In simpler more human terms, in wartime we and our enemies are physically destroying one another with the unthinkable violence of high-powered rifles and high explosive bombs. Compared to those affronts to human beings, whether we wiretap them or profile them beforehand is trivial. And it is less important still when the results of the wiretapping and profiling may determine whether that annihilating violence will be done to fewer of our own people."
P.S. Have a great time in Paris.