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'Live free or die'

I applaud Robert C. Borden's thoughtful and courageous editorial (Eagle, Dec. 21). The very fact that this country is now engaged in a bitter political and legal dispute over the Bush administration's cavalier, frightening approach to intelligence gathering is a heartening sign. In fact, it gives me hope that, despite this administration's attempts to deprive America of its greatness and its exceptional role in the evolution of human freedom, such a loss has yet to occur.

Only the people of a free nation, one dedicated to liberty and equality and the maximizing of every one of its citizens' individual potential, would object to Bush's actions. Despotisms, by their very nature, adopt any means to justify their desired ends. Functioning democracies correctly reject such behavior by their leaders. Responsible people in this democracy, precisely because it is now endangered, are finally fighting back against that craven, fear-driven mentality.

One of the fundamental aims of terrorism, as scholarly observers have known for decades, is to provoke targeted governments into extreme and repressive responses that, in turn, alienate the targets' citizens and allies. By that measure, the Sept. 11 attackers have - so far - tragically succeeded. But we, as freedom-loving Americans, still possess the power to deny them final victory. That - not embracing intrusive, clandestine measures that potentially threaten our privacy and our freedom - is what the real "war on terror" is all about. Contrary to Bush's fear-mongering and opportunistic assertions, it is his domestic opponents - not his supporters - who are now patriotically waging that war on behalf of all Americans.

"The Constitution is not a suicide pact." That phrase, frequently on right-wingers' lips these days, has a certain resonance. But it falls short of another time-honored American motto: "Live free or die."



Bush isn't listening

"Now, those same Americans sit silently as a different president has his way with the Constitution. How amazing. How frightening" (Eagle, Dec. 21).

The president converses with God. Why would he listen to a few whiners about constitutional rights?




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