Safety versus transparency

Growing up in the post-Sept. 11 era places this generation at odds with its policymakers. If someone asked me the question, Do I think I am more or less safe than before Sept. 11, I would not have an answer. However, if someone asked me whether I felt the government was more or less transparent than in times past, I would feel confident answering that the government is less transparent. This lack of transparency leads to greater questions about just what does the government have to hide from its citizens. The Bush administration used the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to purge rights that had only been cut during wartime, and all of these measures were taken in order to protect citizens. Now, eight and a half years since the terrorist attacks, I would like to think that we, as the American public, could use a little less of BushâÄôs protective instinct and a little bit more knowledge of what exactly has happened since then, and what exactly âÄúprotectionâÄù entails. Part of a free society is living with a certain amount of uncertainty. I would prefer that uncertainty to come from a source less powerful than the U.S. government. President Barack ObamaâÄôs move to release the âÄútorture memosâÄù can be seen as a sign that the American public deserves to know the terror it faces, and that it does not have to ponder what measures are being taken behind our backs in the name of âÄúnational security.âÄù By no means am I asking for the government to divulge all of its intelligence regarding the terrorists, where they are hiding and what they have planned and might plan in the future. But at the very least, an effort should be made to return to a situation where Americans do not worry that its government is willfully and excessively violating human rights treaties. If that makes America less âÄúsafeâÄù than today, well then, I guess we join the rest of the world in a little bit more uncertainty. But we can go to bed at night knowing that our government is not perpetuating a policy that could cost us more than the supposed safety it affords. Kara Richard University student