A Patriot Speaks

Gene Spafford, world-renowned computer scientist who focuses on security matters, has written a piece on the current political situation in the United States. Spaf, as he is known, is highly respected and known for his reasoned arguments. He writes so eloquently about wiretapping and torture that I’m compelled to share his words with my readers. I agree with everything he says, and I challenge you to answer the question he poses at the end of the article. I don’t necessarily want to know your answer; I just want you to think about the question and answer it for yourself.

Being an American, and being a patriot means standing up for the principles that have guided this country since its inception. I too swore an oath to defend our constitution, and while I can’t do much from behind a keyboard, every little bit helps. Thanks, Gene, for your contribution to this effort.

Gene Spafford on the US Constitution

I am neither associated with the “left” nor the “right.” I prefer to apply thought to my decisions rather than accept political parties’ views or politicians’ pronouncements of what is correct.

In that regard, I value the US Constitution, and have, in fact, sworn an oath to uphold and defend it under several circumstances.

Eavesdropping on citizens without legal authorization or judicial review is a violation of the law, and of the Constitution.

Open-ended detention and torture of human beings, no matter what their offenses, is a violation of law, enacted by treaties ratified by the Senate, in accordance with the Constitution.

There are other examples from current news that illustrate violations of the law and the Constitution. What is disheartening is that these are being sanctioned — and committed — by other individuals who also swore to uphold the Constitution and ensure that the laws of the United States are enforced. Furthermore, large numbers of our elected representatives are ignoring or excusing this behavior because they are beholden to political parties and financial donors, rather than feeling a duty to the country.

To those who dismiss this as “left-leaning”, then try to objectively ask yourself — would you have the same reaction to these actions if the current President was Bill Clinton? Pat Robertson? If you would find the actions objectionable only if committed by someone else, then you are blinded by politics. And if you find the actions objectionable no matter who committed them, then hoping for impeachment and indictment of the guilty parties is not a conclusion based on political ideology. But dismissing them by ascribing them to political ideology probably is.

Gene’s entry
first appeared on Dave Farber’s Interesting People [IP] mailing list.