Alibi V.15 No.26 • June 29-July 5, 2006 


Rhetoric v. Reality

When it comes to civil liberties, talk is cheap

Since 9/11, President Bush and his administration have told us again and again that the terrorists who seek to destroy our country hate freedom. These are strong words, but you know what? He's right.

Osama bin Laden's political philosophy can accurately be described as Islamic totalitarianism. His ideal society doesn't include free elections or free speech or due process of any legitimate kind. It certainly doesn't include civil rights for women or gays and lesbians. You can bet Osamaland wouldn't include any right to be secure from unreasonable searches either, or from cruel and unusual punishment, or from unwarranted government seizures of private property.

So the threat posed by Osama and Co. is real. Make no mistake about it.

Still, we can't help but wish that the rhetoric of the Bush administration somehow matched its actions. There's a word for people who talk endlessly about defending freedom while at the same time instituting policies that restrict freedom. We call them hypocrites.

In celebration of Independence Day, we here at the Alibi have decided to take a close look at some of the more egregious instances in which our president's lofty rhetoric has failed to correspond with his policies. We do this with the conviction that if we betray the nation's core principles by adopting the backwards, totalitarian strategies of our enemies, then we've already lost the most valuable thing we're fighting for.