Students in Prof. Lawrence Greene’s political science
class, had the chance to ask Rep. John Dingell about the Patriot
Act and the Bush administration’s war on terrorism
In a lecture in the Terrorism, Law and Due Process class,
Dingell (D-Dearborn) criticized the actions of the Bush
administration and expressed his desire to protect the American
people as well as his distrust for the Bush administration.
Dingell said the Patriot Act — which was passed Oct. 26,
2001, giving the government access to certain personal information
without probable cause — infringes upon the basic rights of
the American people.
“It permits too much spying … by our
government,” Dingell said.
The Patriot Act is especially controversial because it was
passed very quickly, before hearings on the issue could take place,
Dingell said. “The Patriot Act was passed with very few
members having seen it or understood it,” he added.
Yet LSA senior Ruben Duran said Dingell skirted the issue when
he was challenged. “He had absolutely no answer as to how
Presidential candidate John Kerry would solve the problem on
terrorism,” Duran said.
Dingell also said the Bush administration cannot be trusted.
“Never, never, did they have real proof that Saddam Hussein
was using Iraq as a host or a sanctuary for terrorism. And now
they’re discerning that there were no weapons of mass
destruction there,” he added.
Dingell met with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Vice
President Dick Cheney before Congress voted to support Bush in
invading Iraq in October 2002. At that time, Rumsfeld and Cheney
did not say what evidence they had of terrorists and weapons of
mass destruction in Iraq,” Dingell said.
For this reason, Dingell said Bush’s motives for going to
war were not based on factual information. Dingell was hesitant to
allow Bush to occupy Iraq. “As you recall, Congress simply
wrote a blank check for George Bush. I voted against that,”
The Bush administration also refuses to take responsibility for
its mistakes since Iraq has not been found to harbor any weapons of
mass destruction, he added.
Dingell said the only way to solve these problems is to remove
Bush from office. He said the Democratic presidential candidate
John Kerry will act in the interest of the American people because
of the pressure he faces to make improvements.
“We’ve tried Bush and seen what he does. We
haven’t exactly seen Kerry, but I can’t believe he can
do worse than Bush,” Dingell said.
Although Kerry also supported the Patriot Act, Dingell said that
does not necessarily reflect on what type of president he will
“The president doesn’t exactly do what he has done
in the past, nor does he necessarily do what he says he’s
going to do, nor does he necessarily function as you might
expect,” he added.
Many students attending Dingell’s lecture said they were
surprised to find that some politicians really do care about the
“I actually got the idea that the people in office in the
government are more than they seem in the media. … They are
actually very informed and intelligent. They’re trying to do
the right thing,” LSA sophomore Jessie Smith said.At the same
time, however, Greene said some politicians are trying to take away
citizens’ two basic rights: due process and equal protection
under the law. “I wanted them to understand the role of the
people’s legislative body and all that Bush is doing to
them,” Greene said.
Duran said Dingell made some good points, but he did not agree
with all of Dingell’s claims. “Some of it I actually
agreed with, but for the most part he didn’t say a lot of
substance because it was all about how (Bush) is a liar and a bad
president,” Duran added.