Glenn Airoldi: Outrage misplaced

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Carol O'Hare's assertion that the war on terror will continue to be fought by the next generation is chilling, because it is very likely true. More chilling, though, is the case she makes to restrict the rights of our senators to maintain a balance of powers in our country, while promoting the notion we are in Iraq because of Sept. 11.

This is a time for outrage, but not because the Senate Majority Leader is advocating withdrawal from Iraq, and not because he recognizes the political ramifications of decisions made by the executive branch over the past six years.

We should be outraged. We are involved in a war not of our choosing.

We should be outraged that after five-plus years, we still read in our papers that we're at war in Iraq because of the tragic events of Sept. 11. The 9/11 Commission Report, Section 10.3, clearly documents that on Sept. 18, Richard Clark delivered a memo to the White House concluding that there was "no 'compelling case' that Iraq had either planned or perpetrated the attacks." Also from the 9/11 Commission Report, we learn that Condoleezza Rice testified that on Sept. 17, "President Bush ordered the Defense Department to be ready to deal with Iraq if Baghdad acted against U.S. interests, with plans to include possibly occupying Iraqi oil fields."

We are in a war not of our choosing because the Bush administration made the case, in Congress and the media, that we faced the threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction landing in the hands of terrorists. He led us into the first pre-emptive war on foreign soil in U.S. history, and we are not a stronger nation for it. We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein is dead. American soldiers continue to die in Iraq today. We know what they fight against. Do we know what they are fighting for? Is it the survival of our democracy?

Our democracy is at risk. At odds with the Constitution and the Geneva Convention, the president has asserted a right to unlimited wartime powers. Our Constitution does provide the executive branch the authority to set foreign policy and make decisions to wage war. It's the Bush administration's abuse of this power that has brought us to where we are today. We should be outraged that the freedoms our democracy was built to protect are being stripped away, both legally and illegally. The Bush administration passed laws that allow the government to monitor what we read. The Bush administration disregarded the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 when it made the decision to tap and monitor your phone and mine.

This is not the time to relinquish our freedoms as a nation. There is no more important time than this to stand up for and to protect our freedom. There is no more important time than this to recognize and understand the threats we face, and to confront them all. Harry Reid is just one of the majority of Americans who recognize this. It is his patriotic duty to stand for what he believes is right and to cast his dissenting vote. It's why Don Imus is a free man today.

The war on terror may go on for generations. The battle in Iraq is not going well. Perhaps Sen. Reid and the people of Nevada feel it's time to step back, learn what we can from this unfortunate situation and build a stronger nation to face tomorrow.

Glenn Airoldi

Steamboat Springs

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