"We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals" discuss
Ever since the passage of the Bill of Rights, there has been a tension between individual liberty and the quest for a secure nation. On a number of occasions this balance has swung dramatically toward national security with the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War or with the McCarthy witch hunt and more recently with the Patriot Act.
Following the 9/11, congress passed this act as a mean for protecting the country against terrorism. No doubt that in tracking phone calls or e-mails communications this law poses threat to Americans' individual freedom. But according to Obama's speech, it's time to repeal the Patriot Act. As an example, Obama's first decision is to close Guantanamo and put an end of torture. At first glance it seems that Obamama upholds America's ideals.
But with one hand, Obama decided to close Guantanamo and end the abuse of detainees, and with the other he endorsed airstrikes against targets inside Pakistan. What sort of ideals does it take to conclude that causing the suffering of prisoners in the name of the national interest is wrong, but causing the suffering of civilians and the violation of Pakistan's sovereignty is right?
As a conclusion, half-steps won't do, what Obama has derided as a false choice is in truth the biggest choice he can make as a president.