The False Choice between our Ideals and our Safety


Thinking back upon President Obama’s inauguration and, in particular, his inaugural address, we were struck most by these three sentences:

“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”


This was nothing if not a principled repudiation of warrantless wiretapping and waterboarding and a rejection of the notion that you can skirt the courts and the constitution in the name of security, and that if you dare to challenge those acts, then it is you who are somehow unpatriotic.  And this was delivered as President Bush sat only a few feet away.


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