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War Within the ACLU45:36

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"Take a Stand for Your Freedom" (ACLU advertisement. Click for larger image at aclu.org.)
"Take a Stand for Your Freedom" (ACLU advertisement. Click for larger image at aclu.org.)

Since 9/11 and the “war on terror” response, ACLU membership and contributions have soared as more Americans feared for their liberties. It should be the ACLU’s finest hour. Some say it has been.

Wendy Kaminer says no. The former ACLU board member says the ACLU itself has lost its way, compromised its mission. She’s out with a scathing critique, from the inside.

This hour, On Point: an inside charge of an ACLU gone wrong.

You can join the conversation. Do you see the ACLU as a beacon or a bane? Have you joined since 9-11? Have you heard, seen, been part of the infighting? Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.Guests:

From New York we're joined by David France, contributing editor to New York Magazine. He covered the ACLU's post-9/11 infighting for the magazine in "Freedom to Backstab."

Joining us in our studio is Wendy Kaminer is a writer, lawyer, and social critic.  She served on the national ACLU board from 1999 to 2006 and became disillusioned with the leadership and direction of the organization. Her new book is "Worst Instincts: Cowardice, Conformity, and the ACLU." On Point news analyst Jack Beatty calls it "devastating ... a study ... of how good organizations, blinded by the righteousness of their mission, do bad things."

From Omaha, Nebraska, we're joined by Tim Butz. He was executive director of the ACLU of Nebraska from 2000 to 2006. He served on the Executive Directors Council, a liaison between the ACLU national office and the state affiliates. He is still a member and donor to the ACLU.

This program aired on April 28, 2009.

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