Thursday, January 19, 2006


Lies of our times

If you wrung all the manure out of that DoJ memo that Rawstory tells us is going to be used to defend the massive and illegal wiretapping of American citizens by the NSA and other agencies of the Pentagon, you could grow cotton in the Mojave. Let's stipulate a few things. 1. During real times of danger, the president does extraordinary things he believes are necessary for the national safety. Sometimes, as with the mass detention of Japanese, he is honestly wrong. We make restitution to those wronged and forgive him. 2. Genuine enemy combatants-- people caught with weapons-- can be detained for extended periods of time without due process of law under conditions prescribed in the Geneva Convention. Illegal combatants may not get the full range of protections, but neither may they be tortured or otherwise ill-treated. 3. It is not illegal to wiretap non-Americans talking to one another abroad without a warrant. But the DoJ clearly needs to understand a few things: * As Senate Leader Daschle said, the Congress narrowly authorized extraordinary powers against those who conducted the attacks of 9/11 and anyone reasonably believed to be conspirators either before or after the fact. * There is no evidence that elderly Quaker women protesting the Iraq war were in any way engaged in planning the attacks of 9/11. * The FISA statute arose out of Executive abuses. Calling out "FDR" like some kind of "Ollyollyollcomefree" is manure and the lawyers who wrote this *know* it's manure. * Presidential speeches do not have quite the same force of law as legislation passed by the Congress. * Ayman al-Zawahiri's statement that al Qaeda is "is spreading, growing, and becoming stronger," is not necessarily any more reliable than the belief that the Hidden Imam is due to arrive hand-in-hand with Jesus Christ any day now. * The Fourth Amendment better not have been lost in transit. I have a receipt, and it says that this is a right that God, not the government gave me. *The borders of the state of Maryland lie entirely within the United States of America. * No matter how many legal citations you use, you can't twist our law to make the president king. This DoJ memo is based on lies too big to fit into Texas; Alaska will have to accommodate them: the lie that all the intercepts were foreign domestic or domestic-foreign, that the only people intercepted were probably with al Qaida, and most especially the lie that the biggest threat to our freedoms is Osama bin Laden. That honor belongs to George W. Bush.
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