Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Surveillance in Wartime is Nothing New

This is interesting:

IN A BOLD AND CONTROVERSIAL DECISION, the president authorized a program for the surveillance of communications within the United States, seeking to prevent acts of domestic sabotage and espionage. In so doing, he ignored a statute that possibly forbade such activity, even though high-profile federal judges had affirmed the statute's validity. The president sought statutory amendments allowing this surveillance but, when no such legislation was forthcoming, he continued the program nonetheless. And when Congress demanded that he disclose details of the surveillance program, the attorney general said, in no uncertain terms, that it would get nothing of the sort.

A casual observer would probably come to the conclusion that the above paragraph is the beginning of an article about what our friends in the media gleefully refer to as "President Bush's Domestic Surveillance Program". They would be wrong:

In short, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt charted a bold course in defending the nation's security in 1940, when he did all of these things.

Those who are questioning President Bush's decision to authorize such surveillance in the interest of our national security would do well to read this entire article.

There are times when a sitting president finds himself facing dire circumstances that require a course of action that might ruffle a few feathers here and there, but in the end, the decision to follow that course of action may save countless lives. Defending America from enemies that have proven they will kill us, qualifies as a dire circumstance in my book.

Roosevelt, a Democrat, found it necessary in World War II and that "controversial" decision probably saved lives. President Bush has found it necessary now and should not have to worry about naysayers from either party who are making a political issue out of the defense of this nation.

When you get right down to it, the world is much smaller today than it was then and our oceans no longer provide a defense against, or a warning of, an approaching threat. In a sense, the decision by President Bush to authorize the warrantless surveillance, is more critical now than it was in the days of FDR. There is simply too little time to jump through hoops and beg the permission of a court to wiretap a phone with a suspected terrorist on one end of the line. In this day and age, one minute ago might still be too late.

I'm not one who would ordinarily support government haphazardly intervening in the lives of ordinary citizens, but if the goal of that intervention is to stop a terrorist before he can complete his mission, they can wiretap my phone for all I care.

I'm not excluding the Republicans who have jumped on the NSA probe bandwagon by any stretch, but it seems ironic to me that many of the so-called party of FDR will jump in front of the nearest microphone and claim the president has acted egregiously and irresponsibly by wiretapping American citizens. They conveniently leave out the part about a suspected terrorist being on the other end of the line, and if they have any knowledge of history prior to the 1960's, then they should know full well that surveillance during wartime is not a new concept- it was practically perfected by one of their very own.

That is, if they'll still claim him.

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