True, but to be totally secure, we have to give up liberty. To be totally free, we have to give up security. Now, there exists a continuum between these 2 extremes, some relative mutually exclusive weighting, and the ideal selection of some point along that continuum is difficult to choose so that everyone is happy. The fact is that most of the responses that the Bush administration has made in the way of the Dept. of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act have been roundly critized by critics such as Bierce as being too over-reaching. Your point is well-made regarding the responsibilities as laid out in the Constitution, but I don't think the founders envisioned a threat that came from vaguely defined terrorist groups as opposed to other foreign nations. Out government does a pretty good job of keeping other countries from harming us while not sacrificing any personal liberties. It cannot, however, completely protect us from terrorists without potentially depleting some civil liberties. The point that I was making was that Bierce seemed to think that we as Americans value security above all else and would be willing to give up significant amounts of our personal liberties in order to feel secure. I believe that Americans would rather keep most of our civil liberties and be less secure, than vice-versa.