There is a very fine editorial reprinted from the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette in Coos Bay’s local paper, The World. I cannot promise that the link will stay live owing to the archival policies at The World.

Every time George W. Bush gets caught in a tight spot, he does the same thing: He plays the Sept. 11 fear card, wraps himself in the flag, emits jaw-dropping falsehoods, and all but accuses his critics of treason. So it is with the stunning revelation that the White House has ordered the illegal, warrantless wiretapping of American citizens in brazen defiance of federal law and the U.S. Constitution.

If allowed to stand, Bush’s actions will have taken the United States a long way down the road to military dictatorship. Indeed, that’s essentially what his legalistic enablers, starting with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Vice President Cheney, argue: that in wartime, the commander in chief can take any action he deems appropriate to protect the nation – bypassing Congress and the courts to assert the primacy of the presidency until declaring victory in the “war on terror.”

Bush has gotten a tremendous amount of mileage out of convincing Americans to be afraid. What is it about us that we want to be frightened. tolerate being frightened? The article points out –

As terrorism is not an enemy, but a tactic – a vile, cowardly tactic, but, by definition, not subject to being defeated – the metaphorical war against it could last indefinitely.

This was a topic expounded upon on this site here and indeed demands an answer to

How can a few thousand stateless fanatics hiding in caves have brought this great nation to such a pass? Have Americans still got the guts for democracy? What ever happened, I wonder, to “the land of the free and the home of the brave?”