Monday, January 23, 2006

It's Not Domestic Spying! It's Life or Death!

Andrew C. McCarthy on eavesdropping in the National Review Online today:

Imagine for a moment that we are at war. (For many of us, that will not require a very active imagination.)

Our military-theater commanders in western Afghanistan and central Iraq sketch out operations against the enemy. They account for the various contingencies that might arise when confronting stealthy terrorists who shun the laws of civilized warfare. They pore over the latest intelligence estimates one last time. They position their land and air forces accordingly, and ensure that they are properly armed and ready.

And then they go ... straight to court.

Where's the Probably Cause?

Why? Well, to make sure their activities meet the approval of a federal judge, of course. After all, they are about to embark on gross invasions of privacy. Lives are about to be taken, liberty deprived, property seized. Surely, in 21st-century America, such potentially overbearing executive branch behavior cannot be permitted absent approval of a court, can it? What about due process? Where is the probable cause?

Sound ridiculous? Yes, it does. But it is no more absurd than the notion that drives the current controversy over wartime electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency.

We are either at war or we are not. If we are, the president of the United States, whom the Constitution makes the commander-in-chief of our military forces, is empowered to conduct the war — meaning he has unreviewable authority to employ all of the essential incidents of war fighting.

Not some of them. All of them. Including eavesdropping on potential enemy communications. That eavesdropping — whether you wish to refer to it by the loaded "spying" or go more high-tech with "electronic surveillance" or "signals intelligence" — is as much an incident of warfare as choosing which targets to bomb, which hills to capture, and which enemies to detain.

Read. The. Whole. Thing.

For those of you, in particular Al Gore, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, both Clintons, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, and the rest of you who are opposed to spying on terrorists and think we need permission from a judge to open our underwear drawers, consider this:

I, along with millions of Americans will hold you personally responsible if so much as one hair on the heads of any of our loved ones is breathed on by any terrorist you helped succeed due to political ambition and blind hatred for our Commander in Chief in a time of war.

If you think you can do better, Win an Election! In the meantime, quit playing politics with our national security. Stand with the president and help defend this nation, or sit down and shut up!

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