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John Ashcroft.

I respond to the September 1 letter defending Attorney General John Ashcroft against much justified criticism for the government's post-September 11, 2001, power grab. Unlike the author, I cannot accept the government's very successful conversion of the United States into a police state that would be the envy of the dictatorships of history. The attempt to justify Mr. Ashcroft's conduct by saying that history has seen worse is no argument at all. Society is supposed to evolve and we, as civilized people, are supposed to learn from our mistakes. Should we attempt to justify, minimize, or otherwise explain away the recent slaughters of Rwanda or Bosnia by claiming that Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin killed more people?

History does not look favorably on the examples of totalitarianism uses to defend Mr. Ashcroft. Roosevelt's detention of Japanese-Americans has subsequently been discredited and was always widely considered to be illegal. The legality of Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War is also questionable. So specious are these claims regarding Mr. Ashcroft's poorly titled liberalism that I am surprised the writer did not also raise John Adams' use of the Alien and Sedition acts as additional support.

The masses may look favorably for now on the very real erosion of civil liberties in our modern United States for any number of reasons. I do not. Apologists aside, our civil liberties are under assault in the so-called terrorism war. Any attempt to spin the Patriot Act's provisions into benefits forgets that the government, as exemplified by the cited events, frequently oversteps its bounds and is not to be trusted by those who truly love liberty.

Michael H. Galex

Coral Gables
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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Galex, Michael H.
Publication:Florida Bar News
Date:Oct 1, 2003
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