I was reading this site today (which I found via Altercation) and stumbled upon this quote:
Perhaps nothing today distinguishes democratic government in England so greatly from the totalitarianism of Germany as the freedom of criticism which has existed continuously in the House of Commons and elsewhere in England. Of course that criticism should not give any information to the enemy. But too many people desire to suppress criticism simply because they think that it will give some comfort to the enemy to know that there is such criticism. If that comfort makes the enemy feel better for a few moments, they are welcome to it as far as I am concerned, because the maintenance of the right of criticism in the long run will do the country maintaining it a great deal more good than it will do the enemy, and will prevent mistakes which might otherwise occur.
The quote comes from Robert Taft, who was known as "Mr. Republican." He said it less than two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Don Rumsfeld, last week:
Sure to the extent that there's no doubt but that terrorist - we know for a fact that people studied Somalia, terrorist studied Somalia and they studied instances when the United States was dealt a blow and tucked in. And persuaded themselves that they could in fact cause us to act (inaudible) in whatever it is they wanted to do. The United States is not going to do that, President Bush isn't going to do that.
Now to the extent that the terrorist are given reason to believe he might or that if he is not going to that the opponents might prevail in some way and they take heart in that and that leads to more money going into these activities or that leads to more recruits or that leads to more encouragement or leads to more staying power, obviously it makes our task more difficult. That does not mean there should not be a debate on these things (inaudible), there should be a debate in discussion on these things, we can live with that. We can live with a healthy debate as long as it is as elevated as possible and as civil as possible.
Wow. A ringing endorsement for democracy from the Secretary of Defense. "We can live with a healthy debate if..."
What's Don going to do if it's not elevated?