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June 22, 2006


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Kimball Corson

The “healthy dose of deference” approach to such conflicts is seriously problematical to me for several reasons, beginning with the suggestion judges too often are not really in a position to judge. Secondly, I think that such deference has fared poorly as a historical matter, looking back with the vantage of hindsight. Examples abound. Third, such deference is too much an abdication of the judiciary’s role as a check on the Executive branch. If there is time to have judicial review, then there is time to do it correctly. Too, with Congress too asleep at the wheel in this era, the role of the judiciary is all the more important to check and balance the Executive branch. Fourth, there is too much poor governmental decision making to justify such deference, especially when politics intervene to cause an Administration to overplay or underplay one or another problem. Governments like to exaggerate to enhance the importance of what they are doing – sometimes, not always. Finally, such deference flies in the face of my dictum that we should be slow and loath to give up pieces of our civil liberties without clearly established necessity, good judgment and clear limits with independent oversight.


Kimball--While I agree that I am loathe to give up my civil liberties, one--the most basic--of my civil liberties is my right to life. And when there are people in the world who would take that fundamental right away from me, then I am, on balance, willing to give up a few of my other civil liberties on a temporary basis to prevent that from happening.

Thus far, I do not sense that I have lost any civil liberties. I do not see commentators being hauled off to jail for speaking against the current administration and do not believe for one instant that speech has been chilled (at least by our side) in the WOT. If someone is surveiling my calls and internet usage, they are going to be very bored, and would in any case trade that surveilance for the absence of another attack.

I doubt that the government has the time or money or inclination to surveil everyone, and believe (with a faith that you perhaps might think naive) that the NSA has a pretty good idea of who and what it is looking for, by description if not by name, and is confining its efforts to those people.

Kimball Corson

But David, I am not sure your life is really in danger, so that may not be the true trade off. Remember, NO ONE expected the towers to collapse, not even Osama bin Laden. Only a few floors were to be wiped out. Pentagon damage was minimal too, measured in loss of life.

The whole idea of terrorism is to do as little damage as necessary to scare us into taking away our own rights and acting against ourselves, our institutions and our own interests. Arab terrorism is very successful. American are quite terrorized and we brought this program of terrorism on ourselves for invading and occupying the Arab peninsula, just as Osama bin Laden has been saying – but no one listens or wants to. Sometimes I think we are not to bright.

Kimball Corson

too bright, that is.



I am afraid that the whole idea of jihadi terrorism is to terrorize the vast majority of Muslims and others into permitting the jihadis to establish a caliphate that would rule the world in accordance with their view of Islamic law. And, unfortunately, to kill as many people who do not agree with them as is possible to get rid of the unbelievers.

Kimball Corson


You just might be right there, at least on the first part of your thesis, as we see Hezzbola, a part of the Lebanese government, join the Hamas bombing effort and unilaterally and in effect declare war on Israel while the rest of the Lebanese government and most of the population too quietly protest and claim Hezzbola’s actions are unconstitutional. The rest of Lebanon is intimidated by Hezzbola, but not Israel.

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