Friday, December 23, 2005

Punting on National Security

I don't care where you stand on the issue of the legitimacy, usefulness, or practicality of the Patriot Act, but to extend certain provisions of the Patriot Act til February 3 that were going to expire December 31, 2005 misses the point entirely.

If the provisions of the act were so onerous and damaging to civil rights as certain Democrats claim, where was their backbone to kill those provisions in its entirety. In fact, their arguments are unpersuasive and smack of obstructionism. Agreeing to extend the Patriot Act, even for the slightest bit of time, shows that these provisions were not onerous and violative of civil rights of Americans. It was political expediency that sent these Democrats to oppose the Patriot Act provision extensions.

Meanwhile, if the provisions were so crucial to national security why was the issue punted til February? Were their arguments in favor of the reauthorization of the provisions not strong enough? Or, did the GOP take the easy way out politically and compromised on national security.

What we're seeing is that political expediency trumps national security. It's happened before - go back to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security to realize that the Administration had opposed the reorganization but at the end relented. Political decisions weigh heavily on national security, and instead of doing the proper thing, the political thing is done instead.

It's a punt.

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