Dec 19, 2005

2+2=5

I don't know about you, but I'm getting pretty sick of seeing Bush on TV every day. Bush is now saying that he defends his decision to eavesdrop on Americans, and that if he had to do it over again, he would do the same. Aaaah, yes. That Dubya and his steadfastness, there it goes again.

According to the BBC, Dubya said this:

Mr Bush also said he expected a "full investigation" into who leaked information about the wiretap programme.

"My personal opinion is it was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important programme in a time of war," he said.

"The fact that we're discussing this programme is helping the enemy," he added.
I am sick and tired of Dubya playing on Americans' fear of another terrorist attack as a means to rationalize and pursue tactics that, in effect, erode our civil liberties. Now, if the government even suspects for a moment that you may have terrorist ties, kiss your privacy goodbye. More and more the rationaliziation for his administration doing things the way they do is like some fucked-up, dysfunctional, paternal relationship in which it perverts existing rules in the spirit of "we know what's best for you, so shut up."

And yet, systems have been in place all along to protect us. According to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the executive branch can monitor people provided that they have a proper warrant. Bush's double-super-secret presidential order bypasses this already-established protocol. And, according to Salon's Tim Grieve, Bush still can't give a proper reason for this except to redefine what "war" is.

If al-Qaida is paying as much attention as Bush suggests, it already knew that much, and it has "adjusted" -- Bush's term -- to that knowledge accordingly. What Bush's program for spying did was remove the warrant requirement FISA imposes. How does that change anything for al-Qaida? How would terrorists communicate differently if they knew that the National Security Agency might be monitoring them without a warrant instead of with one? There's no good answer to that question, and Bush didn't give one.

Bush also failed to explain, at least in any way that made sense, why he needed to evade FISA's requirements. Bush said repeatedly that the war on terror is a new kind of war that requires fast action by United States. "This is a different era, a different war, it's a war where people are changing phone numbers and phone calls, and they're moving quick," he said. "We've got to be able to prevent and detect. It requires quick action."

But the FISA process was designed for quick action. And indeed, FISA allows the executive branch to begin monitoring communications immediately and then seek a warrant after the fact. How isn't that "fast" or "quick" or "agile" enough? Bush couldn't say. Instead, he suggest again and again that the FISA process is for "long-term monitoring" and that, after the attacks of 9/11, he saw the need to "detect." He never explained what he meant by that or how the FISA process couldn't be used both to "monitor" and to "detect." It wasn't at all clear that he knew. And if he knew, he certainly wasn't saying.
I used to joke around - because of certain family circumstances - that the government was going to do to my household what, in fact, has been proven to be a practice authorized by the President (by secret presidential order) back in 2001. Remind me to tell you the story some time.

But for now, this latest revelation gives me the chills, and I really don't know what to do about it. I remember hearing on a late-night repeat of "Meet the Press" (thanks to my typical Sunday night insomnia) that this could, quite possibly, be an impeachable offense. But seriously, will this happen? Will Dubya really be made accountable for this? How can this administration continue to be allowed to rewrite the rules and then say "trust us on this"?

Our country really is starting to look more and more like Orwell's 1984. Frightening.

1 comment:

marie antoinette said...

At least people are actually getting angry about this. Bush will have his apologists--I bet Nixon did too--but it looks like Congressional Republicans aren't taking this lying down.