Thursday, February 16, 2006

Will's On the Right Track

Often I disagree with George Will. Today is not one of those times. His column, "No Checks, Many Imbalances" is a strong indictment of the Bush Administration's doctrine "that whenever the nation is at war, the other two branches of government have a radically diminished pertinence to governance, and the president determines what that pertinence shall be." He lambastes nearly every argument that the Administration has offered in favor of the NSA wiretaps program in his typically precise way, to what I think is great effect.

At the end he drifts off a bit, excusing the actions as "necessary in the emergency," but I think his conclusion ends up sound: "... 53 months later, Congress should make all necessary actions lawful by authorizing the president to take those actions, with suitable supervision. It should do so with language that does not stigmatize what he has been doing, but that implicitly refutes the doctrine that the authorization is superfluous" [emphases added].

Well said.


At 6:07 PM, Blogger pacatrue said...

In the long run, simply killing the idea off that the executive branch has sole determination of policy during war time is the most important part. However, I do wonder if you can ever actually kill that doctrine without some form of censure of the people who created it and are carrying it out. People rarely listen unless there are consequences. In fact, the way the Administration would treat any Congressional modifications of FISA laws to accord with their current practices would be to argue that it demonstrate the White House was correct all along and Congress is now showing their agreement.

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Heiuan said...

Jeremy, no matter how you slice it, IF Bush is actually violating the FISA statutes, he broke the law. Period, full stop.

The time to change a law that doesn't work any longer is BEFORE you break it. Not after.

I simply can't excuse that.

At 11:48 AM, Blogger JBD said...

pacatrue, heiuan: good comments both. Heiuan, I agree completely, and I think that indeed the program does circumvent FISA. Yes, the Administration ought to have requested changes first (without a doubt). But we have to make the best of the situation as it stands, correct the problem and move on.

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Heiuan said...

Jeremy, I agree that we have to correct the problem.

HOWEVER...that still does not address whether or not current law has been broken. The only way to find that out is to investigate. That seems to be something that the majority party is finding too unpalatable to allow for a very simple reason:

If the allegations of illegality are proven, then the President of the United States has committed an impeachable offense.

No one in this country is above our law. These officeholders swear to uphold the entire Constitution of the United States, not just the parts they find convenient.

I have zero tolerance for hypocrits. And as a citizen of the United States of America I demand to know exactly what MY elected officials are up to.

That's only right.


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