A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Friday, January 13, 2006

"Ample Justification"

Jonah Goldberg of National Review has a great column on the whole wiretapping issue.

It is titled “Typical Bastards” & Us.

Here is an excerpt:

My favorite scene in the movie The Jerk is when Navin Johnson (played by Steve Martin) is being stalked by a serial killer who has a very specific taste in prey: "random bastards." The deranged killer (played by M. Emmet Walsh) rifles through the phonebook and blindly picks his victim. "Johnson, Navin R.," he says. "Sounds like a typical bastard... Die, Navin R. Johnson... Random [s.o.b.], typical run-of-the-mill bastard."

It reminds me of the ongoing case of the vapors contracted by much of the media and by other critics of President Bush's program of spying on "certain Americans." That's how Dan Abrams of MSNBC, for one, refers to a handful of people who are allegedly on al Qaeda's speed dial and have been in contact with terrorists overseas: "certain Americans."

"Gosh," the average viewer might say, "I'm a certain American!"

If one paid only casual attention to the news these days, one would get the sense that Bush has a big stack of phone books in the Oval Office, and he and Dick Cheney spend their days thumbing through them to find "certain Americans" to wiretap.

"Joe Smith?" says Cheney, rubbing his hands together as if over a fine meal. "Man, he's gotta qualify as a certain American. Let's listen to his conversation with his wife."

At first, I thought this NSA story was a big deal on the merits, and I wrote that Bush should have asked to fix the law rather than work his way around it. I still think that, in a perfect world, the White House would try to get the laws it needs from Congress. Nevertheless, after 9/11, Congress declared that "the president has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism" and authorized "all necessary and appropriate force" against al Qaeda. That strikes me as ample justification for tapping phone calls between al Qaeda associates in Cleveland and Cairo.

Now I'm beginning to think this is just the latest in anti-Bush hype. (emphasis added)
Keep reading here.