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Editor’s Scratchpad

Monday, December 10, 2001


Ashcroft remark was out of line

Give Attorney General John Ashcroft credit for genuinely trying to do the right thing in defending America against terror. The polls show that a large majority of Americans support President Bush and what Ashcroft is doing.

Even so, his own tactics are open to question. In congressional testimony last week, Ashcroft asserted that Americans who disagreed with some of his anti-terrorist initiatives provided "ammunition to America's enemies." He said: "My message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists."

Being skeptical of the government, however, has been an honored American tradition since 1776, when the Declaration of Independence included a long bill of particulars citing the trans- gressions of King George III. We got rid of that monarchy for good reason, and need not replace it. More recently, the demonstrable lies and abuses of the government, whether Democratic or Republican, in the era of Vietnam and Watergate, are reason enough for citizens to be vigilant.

Ashcroft does not serve the republic and his compatriots well by accusing them of aiding an enemy because they disagree with him. Just as no one should question Ashcroft's patriotism, so he should not question the patriotism of Americans who differ with him.

Richard Halloran







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