VICTOR DAVIS HANSON:
Kofi Annan in his farewell address lectured America on its apparent abandonment of civil liberties—remonstrating that when the United States “appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused.”Read the rest.
Some thoughts: the use of wiretaps, surveillance cameras, and civil detention of citizens is far more common in Europe than here in the United States.
In comparison to past wartime measures—suspension of habeas corpus (Lincoln/Andrew Johnson), shutting down newspapers (Lincoln), jailing of dissidents (Wilson), interning citizens, military tribunals (Roosevelt), or enemies lists, misuse of the IRS and FBI (Nixon), the Patriot Act, passed by both houses of Congress, is pretty tame.
In fact, there is much more transparency, accountability, and free speech in the present U.S. government than under the UN as run by Mr. Annan. Had one of the Bush children, Annan-style, shipped in a Mercedes using government exemptions to avoid fees and charges, or had Bush himself turned over his government-subsidized apartment to a wealthy sibling, the outrage would have been immediate.
[...] And concerning Kofi Annan: But by any fair token, his tenure at the United Nations will go down as one of the most corrupt in the entire history of the organization. The extent of the $50 billion oil-for-food scandal boggles the mind. Annan’s son profited from his dad’s position, and tried to profit from an embargo that put Saddam Hussein’s interests ahead of the strapped Iraqi people. When you add in the son’s business with the Mercedes, and the father’s apartment deal, then the corruption extended to the personal and petty. All this is largely forgotten once the suave Annan, emblematic of both the Third World and replete with a sophisticated British-Continental accent, begins his teary-eyed moral sermons.