News - Should civil liberties be sacrificed in the war on terrorism?

Yes. This isn’t about compromising the Bill of Rights for American citizens — it’s about fanatical mass murderers and suicide bombers

Never mind the hysterical rantings of the self-absorbed and self-righteous. America’s constitutional framework is not going to come crashing down in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks. But there must and will be changes. No longer can we afford to extend the full range of constitutional protections to foreigners who come to our soil for the purpose of destroying our way of life. We simply cannot allow those who are bent on the destruction of our nation to use our own Constitution to accomplish their sinister goals.

Attorney General John Ashcroft is seeking enhanced authority for law enforcement to conduct wiretaps and other domestic surveillance. It’s a good start, but the war against terrorism will require even more weapons. Congress must act to ensure that terrorists forfeit any and all constitutional protections when they come to this country with the intention of destroying it. Just as convicted murderers are often stripped of their right to their very lives, suspected terrorists — especially non-citizens — should be stripped of the right to shield themselves and their accomplices from justice.

This is different, folks. This is war. Terrorists shouldn’t be allowed to take the Fifth.

In these dark days, it is maddening to know that there are so many Americans who believe we should provide the minions of Osama bin Laden with the very same freedoms our forefathers fought to preserve for their law-abiding descendants. The successors to the murderous scum who bombed the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are counting on just such an attitude to enable their next attack.

The terrorists who recently struck at the heart of our financial and national defense centers have already irrevocably altered the way we operate as a free people. Everyone agrees that our way of life will never be the same. But to get ourselves back to any semblance of normalcy, we will have to alter the way we treat suicidal fundamentalists who want only to destroy the constitutional liberties that lawful American citizens enjoy. To accomplish that goal, we must radically curtail the rights afforded those suspected of terrorism. It is high time our government is authorized to engage in domestic surveillance and other activities that specifically target terrorists and their activities.

This isn’t about compromising the Bill of Rights for American citizens in good standing — it’s about fanatical mass murderers and suicide bombers. We must not allow those who ascribe to the genocidal doctrine of international pariahs like Osama bin Laden to use our freedom as a weapon in their campaign to destroy us. If we are to survive as a nation and as a culture, we must adapt to the ways of our enemies. We must update our Constitution to reflect the very real threat that terrorists pose to our own survival.

This is different, folks. This is war.

Jeff Berry is a computer professional living in Alpharetta.??

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