Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Manning the Watchtower
Dusty Harry, Scotch Kennedy, Bella Pelosi, Carl Levin and most of the rest of the Jackass Caucus in decrying the domestic intelligence gathering activities of the NSA, FBI, and a host of other acronymed government agencies. Some have even gone so far as to declare, without any reasonable justification, that W has broken the law and should be impeached for his actions.
Such declarations have little if any basis in anything resembling fact - but the mouths behind the words are liberal leftists therefore they are entitled to make baseless accusations. So be it.
Ladies and gentlemen, America is at war. We have been involved in this conflict in one form or fashion since 1979, and probably longer than that if you study history.
War is something the Founding Fathers understood all to well. Most, if not all of them, had been exposed to the horrors unique to the fog of war. They understood in war that victory belongs to those willing to exercise bold leadership. It is for this purpose that ability and responsibility to wage war, not the declaration thereof, was vested in the Chief Executive, commonly known as the President of the United States - an office currently held by a man affectionately referred to here as W.
War changes everything - even the way laws are enforced and/or interpreted. The Leftists claim W violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. However, as the Wall Street Journal so excellently points out (you see, they actually consult sources before making statements, unlike Russ Fiengold and Lindsey Graham):
But no Administration then or since has ever conceded that that Act trumped a President's power to make exceptions to FISA if national security required it. FISA established a process by which certain wiretaps in the context of the Cold War could be approved, not a limit on what wiretaps could ever be allowed.Every four years for the past 229 years, the American people have gone into the voting booth to choose the nation's Chief Executive. Within this office is contained the powers allowed the Commander in Chief. He swears an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" to the best of his ability, so help him God.
The courts have been explicit on this point, most recently in In Re: Sealed Case, the 2002 opinion by the special panel of appellate judges established to hear FISA appeals. In its per curiam opinion, the court noted that in a previous FISA case (U.S. v. Truong), a federal "court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue [our emphasis], held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." And further that "we take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power." [Bold and italic emphasis mine]
Sometimes the people have chosen poorly, but on the whole most of the men who have passed through the Oval Office have done a decent job of defending this nation. Their opponents, for whatever reason, were weighed in the balance and found wanting.
Alexander Hamilton neatly summed up the reasons for vesting this power with the President.
Energy in the executive is a leading character in the definition of good government. It is essential to the protection of the community against foreign attacks. The direction of war most peculiarly demands those qualities which distinguish the exercise of power by a single hand.War requires leadership. While the leftists may be clamoring about the lack of consensus demonstrated by W's wiretapping authorizations, they would do well to listen to the echoes of Lady Margaret Thatcher. "Consensus," she said, "is the absence of leadership."
The Global War on Terror (GWOT) is different from any other conflict faced by this nation. Our enemies seek to undermine our nation from within using the freedoms we enjoy to move among us without fear of discovery. The most effective weapon possessed by either side is information. Those who seek to limit the ability of the United States to use that weapon against the enemy in our midst simply cannot handle the truth.
The Constitution of the United States is not a suicide pact. We must use every weapon at our disposal to discover and defeat the enemy, whether that enemy be assembling VBIEDs in Bagdad or plotting to blow up bridges in the Bronx.
The man whose job it is to man the Watchtower and whose responsibility it is to defend this nation from all enemies foreign and domestic has seen fit to use the power vested in him by the people to fulfill the oath he has taken twice. Most of the people criticizing him want his job, but their criticism and feigned outrage fueled by ignorance show why he sits in the Oval, and they do not.
Here endeth the lesson.