Monday, December 19, 2005

I just don't get it, guys. I really don't. Clinton lied about a consensual sexual indiscretion with an intern, and he got impeached. Nixon wiretapped campaign offices in a hotel building, and he was driven out of office in disgrace. Bush has (so far) lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in order to help kickstart an invasion (after purposely clouding the issue of whether or not Al Qaeda had ever even operated in Iraq), and now Bush has been caught secretly wiretapping the phones of thousands of Americans without any proof or suspicion that those citizens were ever engaged in illegal activity. Where's the outrage? Where are the cries for impeachment?

Bush, of course, maintains that the wiretaps were/are legal, and that he was granted power to spy on Americans within the United States through the authorization to use military force which Congress granted to the president shortly after 9/11. Critics (and myself) strongly disagree, noting that there are no provisions in the constitution for the authorization of wiretaps on American citizens without judicial oversight (i.e., without a warrant signed by a judge), and noting that there was nothing in the congressional authorization for the use of military force which indicated that wiretapping American citizens was being made permissible without a warrant. Bush also tried to mitigate the damage that he is inflicting upon the civil rights of Americans by pointing out that he has only authorized wiretaps for phone calls between the U.S. and foreign countries. This doesn't satisfy me for two reasons: 1) wiretapping Americans who are making international phone calls is bad enough, and 2) I really don't believe Bush at all when he says that the U.S. isn't monitoring domestic phone conversations. I think that the feds are already up in our shiznit like
At any rate, this is just one more example of the lengths that the president is willing to go to as part of his "ends justify the means" policy in dealing with "the war on terror". Maybe the U.S. really is secretly waging a classified, large-scale battle against large numbers of enemy forces which have not only infiltrated our country but which are secretly plotting to do us harm from within. But I doubt it. I think that there are, at most, a handful of bad guys out there, and that some of those people who want to do us harm are probably from within the U.S. itself (anyone remember Timothy McVeigh?).
Here's the thing. You can't have 100% security without a 100% lack of privacy, and I'm not willing to make that trade. As long as two people can get together and talk behind a closed door somewhere we're going to have the possibility of conspiracy, and Bush is going to want to have the right to kick that door down.
You want to make Americans safer, George? If you want to trample on our constitution in a way that actually makes us a little safer, then you might want to start with some more restrictions on the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Didn't Clinton's ban on assault weapons get overturned? (I might be wrong about that, but I don't think so) As long as it's legal for people to drive around with small arsenals in their cars, the term "security" in America will continue to be a relative word. Keeping better track of the people who buy explosives and tons of fertilizer might be a good idea as well. Oh yeah, while you're at it, you might want to loan the border patrol and INS a dollar or two so they can actually try to stem the flood of illegal immigration that occurs in this country on a daily basis. If you're going to keep any eye on suspected terrorists, it might be nice to do something to prevent them from just strolling across the border. And last (but NOT least), you might want to quit pissing off every country in the world. I know that you don't want to pander to the world community, George, but jeez- remember when we had friends? We even seemed like we were kind of popular at one point...

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