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Sen. Daniel K. Inouye – Vigilance abroad; rule of law at home.

January 25, 2015

“In describing their motives for riding roughshod over the constitutional restraints built into our form of government, Admiral Poindexter and Lt. Col. North use almost the identical words. ‘This is a dangerous world,’ they said. That, my fellow citizens, is an excuse for autocracy, not policy. Because no times were more dangerous than when our country was born, when revolution was our midwife. Our system of government has withstood the tests and tensions of civil conflict, the depression and two world wars, times hardly less challenging than our own present. Indeed, as our greatest military leaders, such as Washington, Marshall, and Eisenhower, have recognized, our form of government is what gives us strength. It must be safeguarded, particularly when times are dangerous and the temptation to arrogant power is the greatest. Vigilance abroad does not require us to abandon our ideas of rule of law at home. On the contrary, without our principles and without our ideals we have little that is special or worthy to defend.”

(From the closing statement to the Iran-Contra Hearings, 1987)

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