The Spectacle Blog

Liberty and War

By on 1.4.06 | 10:02PM

Chris Roach slags civil libertarians:

There is literally no time [critics are] willing to let a close call go to the home team. Their constant criticism of the techniques employed in the war on terror suggest a complete lack of realism about national security and, consequently, a total negative beat on every tough decision this war requires.
Roach paints with a broad brush, but I think he's on to something. Maybe our resident civ-lib can comment, but it seems that there's a real failure -- on both sides of the debate, but especially on the civil libertarian side -- to distinguish between expansion of domestic crime-enforcement powers on the one hand and war-fighting powers on the other. The former can be genuinely troubling, even shocking; the latter shouldn't be nearly as bothersome, particularly in the context of American history. Wartime civil liberty violations have tended to grow progressively less serious. William Rehnquist wrote a book about this -- three years before 9/11! -- that helps puts in perspective just how small-bore the current civil liberties debates are.
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