The Bush administration turned out to be the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time, and we, our Constitution, and people across the world suffered for it.
Now, thanks to some newly released legal memos, we can see that it was as bad as we actually thought.
In my (very few) sympathetic moments for the Bush administration, I can understand where they were coming from. After all, if any new terrorist attacks occurred during the Bush administration, they would have received the blame, no matter what the circumstances. And of course, they did end up with at least that much at the end of eight years – no new terrorist attacks.
But at what price? And was that price really necessary?
I don’t think we ever had to create a “war on terror,” with its emphases on suspending civil liberties and global military action. I think a less – how do I put this? – nutty – group of government officials would have been honest with the American people about the trade-offs between liberty and security. A less nutty group of government officials would have understood that “war” was a poor way to approach the threat posed by terrorists, and instead we needed more of a “police” approach. I think police do a damn fine job of keeping us safe, thank you very much. And some policing agencies have really stepped up their game after 9/11. Listen to this interview on NPR’s and WHYY’s “Fresh Air” about the New York Police Department.
I might have missed it, but I hope the Obama administration formally repudiates the “war on terrorism.” It’s time to start treating the American people like adults. And I hope it continues to walk back from the kinds of presidential powers outlined in those legal memos and seized by the Bush administration.