January 28, 2006
The War Made Me Do It
By Jim Babka
George Bush held a news conference Thursday morning. He fielded some tough questions. The TV press, pretending this event was no more than a sporting event, gave him high grades for his performance. I realized, while I was “living in hotels,” that I really don’t miss the 24 hour news networks. We don’t have cable TV in our home. MSNBC, CNN, and Fox are really redundant and unimpressive. In the view of these networks (especially CNN) Oprah, giving whats-his-name some heck for writing a novel when everyone else thought he was writing a biography, was far more interesting than George Bush. But what Bush had to say should’ve brought down the house (and the senate too). When asked about unwarranted wiretapping of Americans, Bush basically said that we’re at war. When Congress authorized war (please, someone, tell me when they made an official declaration of war?), they were implicity authorizing him to do whatever it takes to insure American security. Paraphrasing Flip Wilson, the president was saying, “The War made me do it.” I’ve shared this quote so many times, it feels trite to me. But I keep repeating it because it’s true – “War is the health of the State.” War is the ultimate Big Government program. Here is George W. Bush illustrating this principle for us. He doesn’t need pesky things like Congressional authorization to set a procedure. He doesn’t need to bother with judicial oversight, including things like warrants. He can call anything he wants “constitutional” (and he did). He can do all this because he has a war. And as if that’s not enough, he kept reminding the audience that the law (governing the wire-tapping activity) was old – really old. Why, it was written in 1978! On this point I agree with the President. Yes, I think the law is old. Every single law and program of the federal government should be sunset – subject to review and reauthorization. And without reauthorization, it should expire. Of course, I expect them to read the entire bill first, out-loud, just as provided in the Read the Bills Act. And in this instance, they should scrap the wire-tapping law that allegedly regulated the Executive Branch’s activities. After all, the President merely needs a war to do anything he wants – no law or court documents are required. And Congress isn't going to do anything about it - except pass another law.
Filed under Civil Liberties
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