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February 26, 2005

Why Labor Rights Protect National Security

If we die in a terrorist attack, it will be because some political hack covered up his own ineptitude. And the best chance of uncovering that ineptitude before we all die is to let his subordinates blow the whistle of his incompetence.

But the Justice Department believes in protecting the political hacks:

The government has told a federal appeals court that a suit by an F.B.I. translator who was fired after accusing the bureau of ineptitude should not be allowed to proceed because it would cause "significant damage to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."

"The effect of the government's posture in this case will be to discourage national security whistle-blowers," said Ben Wizner, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union who is helping Ms. Edmonds...The case has become a lightning rod for critics who contend that the bureau retaliated against Ms. Edmonds and other whistle-blowers who have sought to expose management problems related to the antiterrorism campaign.

One of the most pernicious ideas out there is that we are vulnerable to terrorism because we are a democracy and respect civil liberties. In fact, those liberties are our best protection against the incompetents who would sacrifice our safety for their venal interests. Authoritarians around the world are regularly assassinated and their regimes beset by violence, so repression as savior from terrorism is a delusion.

The advantage of a democracy is that we have hundreds of millions of brains freely operating to protect us. Using the courts to silence any of them is an act of sabotague against our safety by the Bush administration.

Posted by Nathan at February 26, 2005 09:14 AM