It’s time to revisit the balance between freedom and security

Ron Hart Contributor
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In the wake of last week’s 9/11 remembrances and looking to the upcoming Mideast talks, it is a good time to reflect on what we have learned — and lost — since we took that sucker punch from a small group of al-Qaeda cowards.

In the nine years since 9/11, we gave up too many of our freedoms and overreacted by invading and occupying two countries without having a clear mission.

Obama’s teleprompter writers are finally renaming the war in Iraq, and he will be withdrawing troops on Bush’s timetable. Led by pressure from thinkers like Ron Paul, a libertarian Congressman and ex-gynecologist who understands the value of pulling out, we seem to be correcting our mistakes.

Obama, like most men with prowess, fears premature evacuation. It will come as great news to our 50,000 troops left in Iraq that they no longer are fighting the longest “war” in American history. Our remaining soldiers will find comfort in Obama’s word-smithing and in the new, focus group-tested title for our troops: “security forces.” They will be glad to know that they are now being shot at and blown up in Iraq while “keeping the peace.” At least this provides job security for soldiers. Some jobs like theirs will last forever, much like being Paris Hilton’s drug dealer.

Bush has kept a low profile, avoiding the liberal media’s requests for interviews. Maybe in retirement he has learned to avoid unwinnable battles by simply not going there. It is the same reason Obama does not answer any questions from a Fox News reporter.

Fortified by his preemptive Nobel Peace Door Prize from the left, Obama should be in a perfect position to solve the Mideast problem. The Muslims want to negotiate under Islamic/Sharia law, the Christian Right (like that flake preacher in Florida who wanted to burn the Koran) under Biblical law, Jews under Judaic law and the Obama administration under Murphy’s Law — with the Peter Principle applying at all times to Obama himself.  He thinks he is so smart and so multicultural that he can solve the Mideast situation by hosting four-way negotiations with himself.

Since passage of the Patriot Act, all the security agencies (at last count, there are 16 in D.C., and they still do not coordinate with each other) have become a bloated mess. The TSA has become a dehumanizing bureaucracy. I believe for most Americans the cure was worse than doing nothing. Liberty, privacy and freedom now seem fleeting in America.

Now the TSA wants to X-ray us, often keeping the resulting semi-nude photos. I guess when I fly now I will take one-eighth of a Viagra pill before going through the security line, because I know those TSA folks talk. It seems to be primarily what they do all day.

The “War on Terror” (aka on al-Qaeda) has largely been won. The remaining fringe nut jobs who were involved in 9/11 are cowering in caves, taking their cue from Janeane Garafalo and only making occasional, bitter-sounding audio clips.

From Richard Nixon’s Watergate cover-up to Roger Clemens’ recent perjury arrest, history teaches us that we tend to make our most dire mistakes after the crime. In my view, such was the case after 9/11.

I realize that Bush’s heart was in the right place, yet his perspective on history, culture, religions (other than his own, in which he worships “the one true God”) and human nature was flawed. Iraq will become a $1 trillion social studies lesson.

Obama has hypocritically expanded wars he bitterly opposed as a candidate. He covets the power of commanding an army but worries about polls. As with everything he has done, Obama’s goal is to expand government and his own importance. He likes hiding earmarks and social spending in big war-funding bills.

We must hold true to our American values. I do find comfort that the Jewish Mayor of New York stood up for the rights of Muslims to build a mosque near the World Trade Center. We win more hearts and minds when we uphold our Constitution than when we occupy another country.

Ron Hart is a syndicated op-ed humorist, author and TV/radio commentator.   Email Ron@RonaldHart.com or at visit RonaldHart.com