This was my post for Sunday...until the new Niger-gate story:
It's Sunday and I'm only going to provide a few links and insights.
A bit over a week ago, I was interviewed by the local crime paper (Snitch) about the Patriot Act. The story is kind of long and I'm not quoted until near the end -- but the photo caption is outrageous and a very wild distortion of my point.
I pointed out that the old Soviet Union really didn't have a terrorism problem because the state was so pervasive in everyone's life. Completely open societies can (unfortunately) expect more terror to go along with personal freedom.
My point was that the Patriot Act moves the US (along a continuum) away from libertarian ideals and toward a more closed society. I emphasized that I wasn't claiming we'd be like the Soviet Union. I only used that reference as an endpoint for my continuum.
I also stressed that the public debate we're having now is completely natural since there wasn't much of one back in fall 2001. If people are unhappy with the limits on freedom in the Patriot Act, it can and likely will be changed (or ended).
Hell, since I'm self promoting, here's the link to the Daily Tar Heel story just after Bush's speech pleading for $87 billion more for the war. It had my take, but I'm not going to go back over that now.
Finally, everyone presumably now knows that the US has decided to soften its position in regard to the political transition in Iraq. The AP story mentions specific timelines for political transition and elections -- measured in months. Someone from the US government (off the record), goes out of the way to say this was directly in response to French concerns!
Viva La France!
This story hasn't received much attention given the other big story, but it will be very important to the future of Iraq. And probably to US-allied relations.