Even if you want to believe in the president, I simply can't see that he cares one little bit about civil liberties.
The latest issue is, of course, the president's admission that he has authorized domestic spying without a warrant. Do we really live in a world where the Patriot Act just isn't enough? This is even more astonishing given the following:
1) Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court hearings are classified events;
2) If the government deems a matter an emergency, it can spy for seventy two hours without any warrant at all as long as it notifies a FISA court at the end of the seventy two hours;
3) You can already act without a warrant if you have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed or is imminent; and
4) Any terrorist worth his salt assumes he's being watched anyway.
In fine G-Dub style, the president accuses the New York Times of jeopardizing American security. This despite the Times' failure to reveal details of any ongoing investigation or operation. Again, this administration has taken the public position that a debate of administration actions in the war on terror is unpatriotic and damages the war. The president promises to keep doing this as long as we face a threat from "al-Qaeda or related groups".
I've never been a big fan of G-Dub's "foreign policy" or his crusade against evil. That said, this is just the last straw for me. I've always wanted to believe that he's just a guy making honest mistakes, that his mistakes come from flawed assumptions and not from ill intent, and that he's a good man that's trying to work within the system to deal with an issue that he just does not understand.
Well, no. In this instance, the president has chosen to ignore civil liberties indefinitely, to go beyond the Act that he defends as essential to our liberty, and to spit on anyone who chooses to ask him what he's doing or why he's doing it. Not only that, he's continuing to lie about it by telling us that all of these acts were done within the law.
I declare my complete loss of respect for anyone that honestly thinks this man cares two figs for civil liberties, due process, or any constitutional right other than his own position as Commander in Chief. It may well be that he's right that these actions are necessary to our protection. I emphatically deny this, but recognize that it is a legitimate argument to make.
But don't lie so boldly and so openly. Don't tell me that you care about civil liberties when you're willing to authorize these actions with absolutely no regard for the law, especially after you've shoehorned a law through Congress that gives you unprecedented power to act legally. At least admit the obvious: there is no case in which you, George W. Bush, will choose civil liberties when they conflict with your agenda in the war on terrorism.
That might even be a defensible position. Bush's claim that he's interested in protecting the Constitution is not.
Adlai Stevenson once said of Richard Nixon that he's the sort of man that would cut down a tree, mount the stump, and give a speech for conservation.
I only have one thing to say about that: at least Nixon did a thing or two right.