By LARRY BURRISS
One of the hallmarks of the American judicial system is the idea that you don't need a law if there isn't a problem. In other words, laws are supposed to deal with problems.
Last week, President Obama practically declared victory in the war on terrorism. Apparently we've just about beaten them into submission, and all that's left of their ranks are criminals and crooks. In fact, the threat of terrorism, according to the president, is at pre-9/11 levels.
So here's a question for you: if we've won, do we still need the Patriot Act, particularly the parts that allow the government to intercept e-mail, and track our phone calls? It seems pretty logical to me: if the threat of terrorism is gone, then the Patriot Act, passed to combat terrorism, must have been successful, so we don't need it any more.
More currently, we need to also ask if the government still need to be collecting the phone records of reporters doing stories about all of the various nuances related to what is apparently the former "war on terror."
But wait, we need to back up: the president said the terrorists are only a bunch of criminals, but that they are still a significant threat. So I'm confused: if these people, whoever they are, still pose a threat serious enough to warrant the continuation of the Patriot Act, then have we really beaten them?
What I think is going to happen is that the White House press office will stop referring to them as terrorists, and start using words like "criminals," "thugs" and "crooks," and hope reporters go along.
Back during the Vietnam War some pundit said that what we ought to do is simply declare victory and get out. I rather sense the same thing is happening now.
We either won or we didn't, and simply changing the description of the people we're fighting won't change that essential fact.