WHY WE ARE HAVING PROBLEMS WITH THE WAR ON TERRORISM--Or, How a Contradiction in Worldviews Threatens Us-Introduction (& Part One):
I have been following issues at TAIR
, and the disdain that folks there feel over the speech that AL Gore gave this past week condemning what he saw as the illegal actions of the Bush Administration
. Gore argues:
"Can it be true that any president really has such powers under our Constitution? If the answer is "yes" then under the theory by which these acts are committed, are there any acts that can on their face be prohibited?"
And this drove folks at TAIR
to distraction. What if it were a democrat, like current Senator Clinton, who were in charge whilst this was going on? Arguments supporting the actions of the administration run like this:
1. President Hilary: not a serious question.
2. Show me one case of material harm to loyal American citizens!
3. Broke what law? congress’ resolution allows it!
4. The Clintonistas were bad, as bad, or worse.
5. They are terrorists and we can do whatever we have to to win.
6. Questioning the good intentions of the president and exposing the program’s existence–whether it is legal or not–is treasonous/giving aid to the enemy
7. If the program is illegal, than its a necessary evil to protect us from harm from the terrorists.
8. FISA allows the president to do this.
9. Only those with something to hide have anything to worry about.
Plenty of folks have made strong arguments on these issues, so I am not interested in refuting these claims. I think Al Gore made some pretty strong arguments as it stands.
What I am interested in is exploring what I understand to be a contradiction at the heart of the Bush Administration's current policy regarding the War on Terror. I am sure that others have already made this claim, but I came to it whilst teaching my 9th Graders about Hobbes and Locke. To do this, I will have to outline what I understand some basic ideas about these two gentlemen's thinking on the State of Nature, the Social Contract, and the State of Civil Society.
So, my posting on this will be in four parts...