How Times Have Changed
Yesterday, Glenn Reynolds sent people to his archive for 9-11, meaning to highlight a post that "holds up pretty well." I don't know about that, but a separate post had this to say, three hours after the attacks:
GEORGE BUSH IS NOW THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD: People always say that about Presidents, of course, but usually it's only notionally true. Now, if he wants to nuke Baghdad, there is nobody to say him nay -- and damned few who would want to. That's a danger if he goes off half-cocked, but I don't think there's much risk of that. But I wonder: do the people behind this assault realize what this means?
I find that somewhat interesting that Baghdad was on his lips, too, within 3 hours of the attack.
And then there's this one:
TERRIFIC COLUMN BY DEROY MURDOCK: He has it dead right, about reacting and overreacting. Quote:
"[O]ver the long term, political leaders must exercise extreme caution about overreacting to these staggeringly severe circumstances. Those who have called for government control of Internet-encryption technology, monitoring of the movements of cell-phone users and similar surveillance techniques will demand these and other steps in the aftermath of these disasters. In the name of fighting terrorism, such steps may be appealing. However, American leaders and voters alike should be very careful about embracing measures today that will leave citizens less free in the long run in an effort to catch criminals in the here and now. The Bill of Rights must not collapse with the Twin Towers.
American officials should feel no such restraint about retaliating against whatever group or nation perpetrated these acts of war. Any country that gave aid and comfort to whomever did these things should be treated as if its president were at the controls of one of the flying bombs that so tragically found its target."
Well said. I should add that holding these countries responsible is appropriate, but there have to be limits. Right now, somewhere in Washington, somebody is probably working on some grandiose scheme to retaliate in a way that will kill most Arabs and annex the oil. I hope that such dumb ideas wind up on the cutting-room floor where they belong.
And this one, from back when Glenn was a libertarian and not a glibertarian:
THE SENATE has approved a bill allowing warrantless taps of Internet traffic. This is one of those losses of freedom I was talking about. It may (and should) be ruled unconstitutional. But it shouldn't be passed at all.
Would this have prevented Tuesday's attacks? No, because we didn't know who to tap. Has the FBI wanted this for years anyway, under a variety of excuses (drug dealers, organized crime, kiddie porn, whatever the flavor of the week was)? Yes. Is this bureaucratic opportunism? Yes again.
If the bill can't be stopped, opponents in the House should insist on a sunset provision -- say in two years. If it hasn't proved its usefulness by then, it should be scrapped. But really, it should be scrapped now.
I'd love to see somebody compare these fairly reasonable statements to those of today.