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the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Wiretapping: Think Carefully

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial

So what if lawmakers are considering granting immunity to telephone companies that help the government spy on Americans post-9/11? They've stopped short of covering for companies complicit in the illegal wiretapping even before those terrorist attacks six years ago (yes, it seems we were being spied on prior to the attacks as well). For those who think that mountains are being made of molehills, we bring you the words of historian/broadcaster Studs Terkel. Reading the 95-year-old's words (you can hear them on CBC Radio's "As It Happens") should leave little doubt as to why warrantless wiretapping is wrong.

"It is un-American. ... We're nothing in the book of these phonies. Not only phonies, but they're getting away with it," said Terkel, who having the benefit of seeing the past century of this country's history unfold before his eyes, says this Bush administration surpasses the McCarthy era (during which he was blacklisted) in fear mongering. He's also a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits filed by the phone companies, and he's participating, he says, out of duty.

"You mean you cannot sue a company that's working with a phony, lying administration, to demean you, to make you a zero? To make you a 'Good German'? Is that the idea? ... We are not nothing. We are not the 'Good Germans.' " Terkel also wrote a piece for The New York Times, urging Congress to "think carefully" before denying Americans their "day in court."

We need fewer Good Germans and more Studs Terkels in our midst -- thinkers who aren't afraid of speaking out, even as lawmakers mistake kowtowing with patriotic duty.

©1996-2007 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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