Monday, January 09, 2006

The Moose in the Wrong Pasture

I think this is the first time I have seriously disagreed with The Moose. Until now, I found his moderate stance and willingness to attack Democrats when they have strayed from serious messages to be refreshing. But today, I have to say that I think his usually moderate stance has swayed too far to the right.

In his most recent post he says he agrees with the President’s spying programs, lauding how it makes us safer. He criticizes those who worship at the altar of civil liberties at the expense of security.

My problem with the post, and with the President’s policy, is that he can accomplish all that he wants to without secretly spying on Americans. Current policy outlined in the Patriot Act allows the President to spy on Americans so long as they seek a warrant within 72 hours – and the warrant can be obtained from a secret judiciary.

Based on that understanding of the current laws, there is only one reason why the President would want to circumvent the courts. Since he can start the spying before getting court approval, it must be that he doesn’t want to get court approval at all. The issue then is about checks and balances on civil liberties, instead of civil liberties in and of themselves.

This is further evidence of Bush believing that the GWOT has given him a blank check to execute whatever policy he wants, and it should be interpreted that way. So while I understand the President’s desire to secure this country from future terrorist attacks, the current laws give him that power without making it necessary to avoid judicial review.