Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Concise (But Not From Me)

Evil Glenn on the McCain Amendment, showing his talent for the quick and sharp:

But regardless of what rules Congress adopts, I'm certainly against the Cheney proposal to exempt the CIA.

First of all, if this sort of thing is too wrong for Americans to do, it's too wrong for any Americans to do, period. Right? Second of all, if we are going to trust any agency with such extraordinary powers, surely it shouldn't be the CIA, which has established, repeatedly, that it's not to be trusted, either in terms of competence or in terms of, well, trustworthiness. I'd sooner entrust the power to the District of Columbia parking enforcement people. At least they're respected for their zeal.

I think this is an important point. If we're going to apply a rule, let's make it universal. Certainly if we're not going to make it universal the CIA, with its problematic history, should not be the designated gray area. After all, wasn't it the CIA that supposedly gave the President and the Vice President all that bad intelligence about Iraqi WMD? Aren't they the ones leaking stuff to the press about said intelligence? Why is Cheney sticking up for them so much when they've been a constant foe to him? And also, with the recent revelations about a whole network of secret CIA prisons, doesn't exempting them basically leave the entire status quo in check?

As much as the Bush Administration wants to whine about the unlimited powers of the Imperial Presidency in wartime, we live now in a state of perpetual war, or at least war for the forseeable future, so when Congress wants to assert its authority and establish rules IT HAS THE RIGHT TO. And if Bush says "we do no torture", then what's the big deal? What does he have to fear? Congress is acting in a legitimate capacity here, re-establishing checks and balances and putting in standards where none existed.