9-11: Five years ago tomorrow

Published 9:42 am Monday, September 11, 2006

By By Tray Smith
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush took a number of steps to preserve our safety in the face of a new and lethal enemy.
First, he instituted a number of classified programs intended to help prevent terrorists from carrying out additional attacks on our homeland. Secondly, he opened the Untied States military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba so that we would have the facilities necessary to detain and interrogate apprehended terrorists.
Finally, he sent our military on a global crusade against rouge states and terrorist organizations. Together, these actions, along with such measures as the Patriot Act, have helped prevent another attack from occurring on our homeland since 2001.
Now, the President is using the fifth anniversary of September 11th, 2001, to remind our country of the threats we face and of the tools that are necessary to preserve our safety. He is also disputing his liberal critics in the courts, media, and Congress who believe that some of his actions jeopardize our civil liberties.
Several of the formerly top secret surveillance methods put in place by the government in order to monitor the communication and financial activities of suspected terrorists have been made public by treasonous elements of our media in recent months. These revelations have led to the formation of widespread opposition to these programs among radical liberals in our courts, media, and Congress, with some Senators even proposing that the President be censored.
Now, President Bush is fighting back against his critics and asking Congress to legalize his program of wiretapping terrorist phone calls without a warrant. Such a law would allow him to overcome recent court rulings that have declared the program illegal. The President is also using the fifth anniversary of 9/11 to highlight why this program is necessary.
The President is also proposing a new law that would establish a system of justice for convicted terrorists. For years, the administration has allowed several terrorist suspects to sit in government custody at Guantanamo while it has tried to figure out a system to bring them to justice. This has been a real challenge for the government because, since terrorists are not fighting for an official state, they do not qualify for the protections of the Geneva Convention.
At the same time, our values mandate that they be tried under a fair judicial process. The President's plan would establish a legal system of military commissions that will hear the cases of terrorist suspects in a way that both reaffirm our values and enhance our security. It will also give prosecutors special tools to bring evidence against suspects without them receiving the evidence, thus protecting classified intelligence from leaking out.
Finally, the President is continuing to support our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
While I regret that the President has not done a very good job of defining what victory in Iraq is and how we will achieve it, he does get credit for being persistent against the terrorists. Maybe he will do a better job of painting a more accurate picture of the situation on the ground and rousing our countrymen to support the troops over the course of the next few months.
Before I wrote this article, I planned to discuss the poor performance of Republicans in Washington over the past few months, as important issues such as: spending, entitlement reform, energy policy and immigration have gone unaddressed. While it still appears unlikely we will see any action on those issues in the near future, the President is highlighting the most important issue of all: our national security. And on the issues of keeping us safe, the President is doing a good job. We must give him credit for that.
That is the bottom line.
Tray Smith is a freshman at ECHS. He writes a weekly political column for the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at tsmith_90@hotmail.com.

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