By Nancy Jane Moore
In an editorial that pulls no punches, The New York Times on Sunday said:
[T]he Bush administration's response to the terror attacks . . . had far less to do with fighting Osama bin Laden than with expanding presidential power.
The Times found two results of this policy:
One result has been a frayed democratic fabric in a country founded on a constitutional system of checks and balances. Another has been a less effective war on terror.
The editorial concludes that:
Americans' civil liberties have been trampled. The nation's image as a champion of human rights has been gravely harmed. Prisoners have been abused, tortured and even killed at the prisons we know about, while other prisons operate in secret. American agents "disappear" people, some entirely innocent, and send them off to torture chambers in distant lands. Hundreds of innocent men have been jailed at Guantanamo Bay without charges or rudimentary rights. And Congress has shirked its duty to correct this out of fear of being painted as pro-terrorist at election time.
The Times hopes that Congress will take a stand, as "the president has made it clear that he is not giving an inch of ground."
I only take issue with one comment in the editorial, which I urge everyone to read. The Times says "no one questions the determination of the White House to fight terrorism." But I do question it. It appears to me that, rather than fighting terrorism, the White House has used it as an excuse to implement the neocon foreign policy and to expand executive power. While there are many dedicated government workers -- mostly, though not exclusively, career employees rather than presidential appointees -- who have given their all to actually do something about the actions of Osama bin Laden and others like him, their actions have been undermined by an out-of-control administration.
And I've got one more question for The Times: What took you so long?