The other day a Democrat pundante was desperately trying to make a claim of his party’s leadership in the now commencing withdrawal of American Troops from Iraq. Fred Barnes, of the “Weekly Standard” gave the perfect retort. “The Democrats wanted to leave Iraq because, as they claimed, “America is losing”. Bush is now ordering withdrawals because America is winning.” This Democrat insistence on seeing only the empty portion of the glass has led the Democrats to endanger their country and make a joke of their politics.
A month ago the Democrats were eager for the United States to lose the War in Iraq. Murtha demanded some sort of withdrawal beyond the horizon. A foolish strategy, that has never won a war. It cost the Nationalists, China and the Spanish, the New World. Had it been put forward by anyone but the “hand picked veteran darling of the left”, it would have been laughed out of the conversation. At the first of December, Pelosi and Kennedy were openly saying the war was lost, the glass had been tipped over, and all that was left for America to do was cut and run.
Then came Presidents Bush’s speeches explaining to the American people the strategy and success in Iraq. Americans saw the “good stuff” in the glass and fixation on the empty portion was washed away as support for the war and the President rebounded.
To those that savor the sweetness of America, it was amusing that even as Kennedy’s empty rhetoric once centered on complaints that Bush was wasting time in Iraq and not concentrating hard enough on the War on Terror that; now, taking their cue from their media masters at the NY Times, the Democrats are indignant that President Bush is doing too much on that front. The entire anti-Bush strategy clings to the hope that the American people will fixate on their empty arguments and ignore the full half of the glass of American accomplishment. It only takes one sip of the truth to bring Americans around to the recognition that below the empty bubbles of Democrat propaganda is a sweet draft of success.
Desperate at the revelation of the hollowness of their dissent, the New York Times has taken over the lead of the “offer nothing party”. Together, the anti-war media and the anti-Bush Democrats are trying to poison the victory cup. Four propaganda blasts in the media followed by frothing gusts or bubbles from the Democrat leadership, attempted to dilute Bush’s success. But, in each case these attack stories in the press have flowed into Bush’s cup. Charges of domestic spying have proven false; a NY Times story on intentional spying on domestic communications proved to be unfounded; an article on the vast trove of intelligence garnered on terrorists by the NSA “mining” of international-to-international calls has proved a support to the successes of the Bush plan; and finally indignation that the government, in an attempt to do its job and seek out nuclear weapons, has been testing the air around suspicious sites, turned to support for a President who is willing to act in the nation’s defense. Thus the gaseous garbage from the left has quickly risen to the surface and popped; leaving nothing in the upper half of the glass.
A friend recently put me on to two articles in the Weekly Standard. They and the daily flow of news clarify the good stuff in the glass. My thanks to her for leading me to answers and helping me to see that our glass is indeed half full.
I have been casting about for a lawyer to explain the Constitutional questions related to President Bush’s efforts to combat terror by listening to the phone conversations of terrorists plotting to attack America. Mackubin Thomas Owens, professor of national security at the Naval War College, provides arguments from no less a lawyer than Abraham Lincoln. (“War and Peace, Lincoln and Bush on Vigilance and Responsibility”, the Weekly Standard, 12/21/2005)
The Albany Democratic convention censured Lincoln for what it called unconstitutional acts. Lincoln replies that certain actions that are unconstitutional in the absence of rebellion or invasion become constitutional when those conditions exist. Let me quote Lincoln’s Corning letter as Owens provided it.
“I can no more be persuaded that the Government can constitutionally take no strong measures in time of rebellion, because it can be shown that the same could not lawfully be taken in time of peace, that I can be persuaded that a particular drug is not good medicine for a sick man, because it can be shown not to be good for a well one. Nor am I able to appreciated the danger apprehended by the meeting [of the New York Democrats] that the American people will, by means of military arrest during the Rebellion, lose the right of Public Discussion, the Liberty of Speech and the press, the Law of Evidence Trial by Jury, and Habeas Corpus, throughout the indefinite peaceful future, which I trust lies before them, any more that I am able to believe that a man could contract so strong an appetite or emetics during temporary illness as to persist in feeding upon them during the remainder of his healthful life.”
Owens then argues that, “IN TAKING THE STEPS he believes to be necessary to preserve republican government, it is important to note that the president possesses his own inherent constitutional powers. The presidency is not, as one commentator suggested, merely “a kind of independent agency under the ultimate control of Congress.” The president is the commander-in-chief, which directly bestows upon him powers in times of military crisis that are not derivative of any congressional power.”
Owens not only provides us with a “heavy weight” in the legal arena, he also presents a philosopher of some punch to support the President’s “prerogative”. None less than John Lock argues that “the prerogative is ‘the power [of the executive] to act according to discretion for the public good, without the prescription of the law and sometimes even against it.’ Since the fundamental law that the executive ultimately must implement is to preserve society, it is ‘fit that the laws themselves should in some cases give way to the executive power, or rather to this fundamental law of nature and government, viz. that as much as may be, all members of society are to be preserved.”
If these arguments from legal and philosophical minds are not enough to revel the emptiness of the anti-Bush portion of the glass, consider the following statutory support from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, quoted from an article by Edward Morrissely from the December 21 2005 issue of Weekly Standard:
“However, FISA gives wide latitude to the government when such communication does not involve a “U.S. person.” FISA authorizes warrantless surveillance in its opening chapter: (1) Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year if the Attorney General certifies in writhing under oath that - -
(A) the electronic surveillance is solely directed at - -
(i) the acquisition of the contents of communications transmitted by means of communications used exclusively between or among foreign powers, as defined in section1802 (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this title; or (ii) the acquisition of technical intelligence, other than the spoken communications of individuals, from property or premises under the open and exclusive control of a foreign power, as defined in sections 1801 (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this title;
(B) there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party; and
(C) the proposed minimization procedures with respect to such surveillance meet the definition of minimization procedures under section 1802 (h) of this title; and if the Attorney General reports such minimization procedures and any changes thereto to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at least thirty days prior to their effective date, unless the Attorney General determines immediate action is required and notifies the committees immediately of such minimization procedures and the reason for their becoming effective immediately.
The core of the issue is this: the NSA and the administration defined international communications as including those where one end – and one end only -- occurs in the United States."
Further support came from no less a statesman than former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Speaking on ABC’s “This Week” Powell said that a major controversy could have been avoided had Bush gone to the FISA court, but he sees “absolutely nothing wrong with the president authorizing these kinds of actions” to protect the nation. Powell did add that “My own judgment is that it didn’t seem to me, anyway , that it would have been hard to go get the warrants. And even in the case of emergency, you go and do it.” But although Powell’s equivocation over method explains why we are in a controversy, it does not lessen his support for the legality and necessity of the President’s actions. He adds, “Of course it should continue, and nobody is suggesting that the president shouldn’t do this.”
Anyone who is claiming that the Administration’s efforts are aimed at anything but terrorism is blowing bubbles. There has not been any evidence that the Administration has done anything but seek for legitimate foreign communications that relate directly to national security. There is probably no stronger support for the need of the President’s order than the FACT that, although the Democrat Leadership condemns the President’s actions, they have not called for him to desist from the surveillance he insists he will continue. I imagine Democrats are justly concerned at how it will look if they add their demand that the President stop doing all he can to protect American to Hairy Reid’s recent jubilance at “killing the Patriot Act”. The question, “Whose side are these guys on?” is coming into the minds of more and more citizens. What is important to citizens contemplating the content of the glass is where the substance is; and Bush’s actions are brimful of substance. In his Weekly Standard column, Morrissey continues:
“AND THE PROGRAM PAYED OFF. Information developed during the NSA effort kept al Qaeda from destroying the Brooklyn Bridge in 2003 when Iyman Faris was captured before he could initiate the attack. He pled guilty to terror-related charges and is now serving a long prison sentence.”
Two important points to note: First, by fixation on the empty glass the Times and its lackeys in the Democrat Party leadership are endangering America’s defense against terrorist attack, and secondly, by harping on the empty part of the glass, the Democrats are in dangerous political territory. Their efforts to destroy Bush in order to garner seats in the 2006 election has left them fighting for a position that consists of exactly nothing. In the glass that contains the heady brew that is American Success and its challenge in the war on terror, Democrats are fixated on the nothing that floats above. The Democrats have offered nothing to replace either the sweet taste of victory or the bitter dregs of disaster. The cup the President holds is not all sweetness and buzz, but the portion the Democrats offer is the nothing at all.
11 months ago