Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Bushaganda, Jan-11 Edition

George Bush, taking part in a "discussion on the global war on terror" today in Louisville, Kentucky:
"I have the right as the Commander-in-Chief in a time of war to take action necessary to protect the American people. And secondly, the Congress, in the authorization, basically said the President ought to -- in authorization of the use of troops -- ought to protect us. Well, one way to protect us is to understand the nature of the enemy. Part of being able to deal with this kind of enemy in a different kind of war is to understand why they're making decisions they're making inside our country."

Bush considers the United States engaged in a never-ending "war on terror", which is fine - he's entitled to his fantasies; but read, if you will, from the war-powers resolution he is presumably citing as justification of his decision to disregard applicable law for purposes of wiretapping U.S. citizens:

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Even if the wiretapping program were as limited in scope as Bush has claimed (according to New York Times, ABC, and Washington Post reporting, it more closesly resembles John Poindexter's "Total Information Awareness" data-mining operation than what Bush has acknowledged publicly), the 2001 war-powers resolution does not apply to efforts to thwart all terrorism, anywhere, forever, no matter how well-intentioned; it is limited quite specifically to those enemies of the United States who were involved in the 2001-Sep-11 attacks in the U.S.

Which is not to say that efforts should not be made to prevent terrorism; but those efforts must be made within the bounds of existing law. Commander-in-chief status cannot be allowed to be used as a free pass to authorize any sort of non-war-related espionage.


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