Thursday, January 26, 2006

"Wiretap this!"

Days after the arrest of Abu Zubaydah, at the time the highest-ranking al-Qaeda operative in U.S. custody, Bush summoned CIA director George Tenet to the White House to ask what intelligence Abu Zubaydah had provided his captors. According to Risen’s source, Tenet told Bush that Abu Zubaydah, badly wounded during his capture, was too groggy from painkillers to talk coherently. In response, Bush asked, “Who authorized putting him on pain medication?” Risen makes the leap that the Bush episode may represent the “most direct link yet between Bush and the harsh treatment of prisoners by both the CIA and the U.S. military.”
-The Book Behind the Bombshell

The ACLU filed a lawsuit against warrantless wiretapping. Is anyone really surprised, here? Of all the perfect candidates for wiretapping, I'd say the ACLU stands at the top of my list of enemy living among us.

If you want to help fight the ACLU on this, you can start by clicking here.

And what is the reasoning behind Senator Dick Durbin's decision not to vote to confirm Alito to the Supreme Court?

“Based on his record, I’m concerned that Judge Alito will not be willing to stand up to a president who is determined to seize too much power over our personal lives,” Durbin said in a statement.

Excuse me....but I've had enough with the hyperbole and the scare-mongering. Dick Durbin.... i.e., TURBAN the same U.S. Senator who compared the actions of U.S. soldiers at Guantanamo to that of Soviet Gulags, Nazis, and the Pol Pot regime.

Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot murdered around 50 million people. Out of the 70,000 battlefield combatants captured in afghanistan, only around 800- the worst of the worst- were detained at GITMO; hundreds have since been released. Those who remained at Guantanamo have been made to feel uncomfortable, such as listening to Christina Aguilera songs (ok...I admit, maybe that is torture...). On the one hand, we have Hitler committing genocide and at GITMO....we have.....all hell breaking lose because urine was accidentally splashed onto a Koran, thoughtfully supplied, with care and reverence of handling, by the U.S. military? the world coming to?! Has it lost its mind?! THERE IS NO COMPARISON!!!! You have, what was it again? 5 cases of alleged abuses? Minor, if I remember; and out of something like 27,000 interrogations conducted, only a handful of accusations of abuse? Not forgetting that part of the al Qaeda handbook tactic is to allege abuse even in the absence of it.

It just amazes me how the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the non-abuses at Guantanamo are inflated to inflame the world against us. The language used by many on the left would make you think that President Bush has taken over as dictator of the U.S. That is just plain crazy-think! Look at all the anti-Bush books out there; the protests; do you see Cindy Sheehan being thrown into prison? Harry Belafonte charged with treason? Democratic Senators targeted for assassination? Michael Moore put into a starvation weight-watchers concentration camp? No? Well then, have a hot cup of stfu!!!

Max Boot of the LA Times came out with a great op-ed last week:

If you want to see real abuses of civil liberties, read Geoffrey R. Stone's 2004 book "Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism." It tells how John Adams jailed a congressman for criticizing his "continual grasp for power." How Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and had the army arrest up to 38,000 civilians suspected of undermining the Union cause. How Woodrow Wilson imprisoned Socialist Party leader Eugene Debs for opposing U.S. entry into World War I. And how Franklin D. Roosevelt consigned 120,000 Japanese Americans to detention camps.

You can also read about how presidents from FDR to Richard Nixon used the FBI to spy on, and occasionally blackmail and harass, their political opponents. The Senate's Church Committee in 1976 blew the whistle on decades of misconduct, including FBI investigations of such nefarious characters as Eleanor Roosevelt, William O. Douglas, Barry Goldwater and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

All you have to do is recite this litany of excess to realize the absurdity of the cries of impeachment coming from the loonier precincts of the left. Muttering about "slippery slopes" isn't enough to convince most people that fascism is descending. If the president's critics want that part of the nation that doesn't read the Nation to believe that he's a threat to our freedom, they'd better do more than turn up the level of vituperation. They'd better find some real victims — the Eugene Debses and Martin Luther Kings of the war on terror.

Civil libertarians thought they were in luck when a college student in Massachusetts claimed that two FBI agents had shown up to interview him after he had requested a copy of Mao Tse-tung's Little Red Book. Ted Kennedy cited this incident to warn of the Patriot Act's "chilling effect on free speech and academic freedom." Relax, Senator. Free speech is safe. The student lied.

The anti-Bush brigade hasn't had any luck in turning up actual instances of abuse, despite no end of effort. The ACLU compiled a list of supposed victims of the Patriot Act. After examining each case, however, Sen. Dianne Feinstein — no friend of the administration — said "it does not appear that these charges rose to the level of 'abuse.' "
Read the rest of the article.

The civil rights hysteria over what the mainstream press is mischaracterizing as "domestic" spying and wiretapping, is another example of how nutty things have become. This is not domestic spying. Under article 2 of the Constitution, the President as Commander-in-Chief has the legal authority to justify the monitoring of outside communications between what they believe to be al Qaeda operatives and contacts within our own borders. Based upon previous actions of Congress and previous Administrations, I believe the President is standing on solid ground. What is unfortunate, is that I think this has probably compromised the program, to an extent.

As far as I see it, the President of the U.S. does not have to go through FISA, created in 1978 and a dinosaur for dealing with today's technology of cell phones, lap tops, fiber optics. He's on good solid ground, under Article II of the U.S. Constitution. And even if he didn't have the legal authority to conduct these wiretaps, or the approval of Congress, he should be given the power to safeguard our country. To think that the NSA has any interest in wiretapping your average Dick and Jane is just delusional paranoia. Why not change the FISA law then and update it? Well, this program was "secret" (and briefed a dozen times to Congress- so it is amazing how politicized it has become, thanks to the NY Times) before a certain newsrag decided to go public with it (oh, and what timing! Just after the historic Iraqi elections, around the time when the Patriot Act would be voted upon for renewal, and just before the author of the expose, James Risen, had a new book coming out) ; to have gone through Congress, it would have become known to the terrorists, alerting them in a similar manner to how Osama realized that his communications were being eased-dropped upon, resulting in an end to his transmissions . We've also already seen how smoothly The Patriot Act has gone through Congress. So when John McCain says he doesn't know anyone in Congress who would not grant the President this, just where has the good Senator been, lately? Since the war, Democratic opponents to the President have behaved at every turn, as nothing short of alarmists, obstructionists, quagmirists, defeatists, and political opportunists.

For some of the best analysis on the NSA wiretapping, go to Hugh Hewitt and Flopping Aces. (I thought about linking to some opinions from the Kos Kids...but then I thought, "why waste your time?"

Fun, gratuitous "guilty pleasure" reads:
Our "Jack Bauer" President
George Bush is No Jack Bauer
We Need Jack
Jack Bauer's America
Blogs 4

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Blogger Kyle Foley said...

as for wiretaps - just wait until the public finds out that bush was spying on quakers in vermont as leahy testified in the alito hearings.

as for the non-abuses of gitmo - how do you know? where you there?

how about this - is this just: Congress under Republican control has increased earmarks 873 percent

Thursday, January 26, 2006 3:19:00 AM  
Blogger Pamela Reece said...

I am ashamed that Durbin is from my State. He and Obama are a disgrace to the State of Illinois.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 6:47:00 AM  
Blogger Tiger said...

Here ya go, guys - read this if you will - from the BBC, believe it or not.

It has been proven for years that the Clinton Administration was going after private citizens, not Terrorists!


Thursday, January 26, 2006 9:33:00 AM  
Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy said...

Gave you credit for that graph.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

No need to credit me for the graph!

Tiger: Thanks for the link.

Pamela: What did one bean say to the other bean? Where ya bean?

Kyle:as for wiretaps - just wait until the public finds out that bush was spying on quakers in vermont as leahy testified in the alito hearings.

Oooh...I'm quaking in my boots right now! Hey! Don't misunderestimate them Vermont Quakers...can't trust them religious pacifists, y'know! Oh, the outrage! Sooooo....I've been waiting for the public outrage to much longer do I have to wait for? I'm sure it's a CHimpeachable offense, right Kyle?

Leahy's questioning was ridiculous. Complete distortion of Alito's responses.

as for the non-abuses of gitmo - how do you know? where you there?

Nope. Were you?

It's called "following the news". Why do you think this so-called "news" has disappeared? Mainstream's moved on, because everyone realizes that it was a non-story issue all along. Didn't you follow this story to the end? It proved to be another deadend for the Democrats, but did its damage to America, nevertheless; thanksalot Newsweek and all, for trying to count your eggs before getting them all in the basket. If you'd get your facts straight before irresponsibly reporting, you'd end up with less egg on your faces!

how about this - is this just: Congress under Republican control has increased earmarks 873 percent

My God...I'm shocked! Shocked to find that there has been corruption going on in Congress! Good work, Kyle!

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:56:00 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Good answer, Wordsmith! Brother, the nuts have been coming out of the trees lately! But it means you are doing a good job.

And this is a great post. I love the pictures! Turban Durban has joined the ranks of the idiots, so he is certainly no surprise. Let them talk, sweetheart (don't take the "sweetheart personally, I just watched an old Humphrey Bogart movie - I love old movies!), given enough rope..... :)

Thursday, January 26, 2006 7:45:00 PM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

I didnt know the Quakers had phones! Or is that the Amish?
I still think we need to see what is going on up there in Amishville! They are up to no good I just know it.

Friday, January 27, 2006 11:41:00 PM  

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