Recently I have been probing the liberal bloggers as to what the argument could possibly be as to why it is a bad thing that President Bush has in the past and will continue to in the future authorize the NSA to wiretap suspected terrorists calling from outside the country into this country or vice versa. On one of the better liberal blogs namely 2PoliticalJunkies I was accused of "hating" the constitution. Here's how I responded:
I don’t hate the Constitution. Robert H. Jackson, a former Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and also the chief United States prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials coined the phrase "'The Constitution is not a suicide pact". I think this concept is appropriate here. Essentially the constitution is to be respected and followed; however blindly adhering to it should not override common sense and practicality. Justice Jackson was dealing with a freedom of speech issue in this case. Basically, he was making the point that, although the constitution provides for free speech, if that free speech will most likely result in bloodshed than it is not necessarily allowed under law despite that fact that is explicitly provided for under the first amendment.
"The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact." -Associate Supreme Court Justice (1941-1954) Robert H. Jackson
Although he had no idea that his phrase would be used years later in regard to fighting the war on terror, the idea is that, under certain circumstances involving issues of life and death, a strict interpretation of the constitution that may result in bloodshed should not be the law of the land. After all, what use is the constitution if we're not here to enjoy its benefits?
That was met with the following by Maria (one of the blog's co-authors):
"Please explain why Bush had to break the law. The FISA law gave him the ability to get a warrant retroactively -- he has 72 hours. And, if he thought that was still not enough, why didn't he ask Congress to change the law? Why has he still not asked Congress to change the law?"
At which point someone else (braden) with sense weighed in:
"Maria, you'd complain if Bush didn't do anything to fight terrorism and as a result, this country were to get attacked by terrorists. When he does do something to fight terrorism from showing it's ugly face in this country, you still whine. The man can't win. Why? Because you and people like you have so much hatred toward him...so much hatred in fact, that you're willing to put this country's own security at risk in order to satisfy your thirst for political gain.
Breaking the law? It's a weak argument and you know it. Whine, whine, whine is all you and those like you know how to do. In fact, the only thing that you and those like you are doing is giving the terrorists more "power" to accomplish what they want to do. I'd hate to see this country get hit by another terrorist attack, and judging by you and those like you, I question whether or not you and those like you feel the same way at times. I hope it never happens, but if it were to happen, I cannot help but wonder what you and your liberal friends would have to say for yourselves to your fellow Americans, because it would be the left's fault for keeping Bush from doing his job to fight terrorism on our own soil.
As far as I am concerned, you're just a ticked off, sniveling little liberal who's throwing temper tantrums via this blog. When I read your whining about the White House explaining the differences between "domestic" and "international," that's about enough for me. Again, it's because this world today has to "spoon feed" information to those like you because you're all too idiotic to figure it out on your own - the same way a freaking' cup of coffee from Starbucks says "warning, contents hot!" Your arrogance is most unbecoming. Then again, you and those like you will continue to sit back, scratch your heads, and claim stolen elections when you yourselves are the reasons why you continue to lose them. Pretty amusing. What's not amusing is that you people continue to make the terrorist's job easier and easier every day."
A little angrier than I would have liked but Maria soldiered on nonetheless responding with:
"The Presidential Oath of Office is not long, so I'll repeat it here: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." In his arrogant and overreaching grab for power Bush has done his best to subvert the Constitution of the United States. Bush did not need to run around the low hurdle of the FISA Law, yet he did. If it was truly too burdensome, he could have asked Congress to amend it, yet he didn't. He could have supported Republican Senator DeWine's proposed bill in 2002 to lower the FISA standards, yet he didn't. He just does what he wants when he wants, laws and Constitution be damned. "What's not amusing is that you people continue to make the terrorist's job easier and easier every day." I thought according to Bush the terrorist hate us for our freedom. So is that why Bush wants to end it? It is Bush and people like you who defend Bush's trampling of our laws, our Constitution and our freedoms who do the work of the terrorists as defined by Bush."
At which point I hopefully put an end to this by saying the following:
Yeah, we're doing the work of the terrorists... that's so twisted my head hurts. You’re taking a lot of concepts far to literally. As a liberal you should understand Nuance. Not everything's as clear-cut as you present it. The freedom to which President Bush refers that the terrorists hate is not necessarily the freedom for terrorists to roam around and operate freely in our country. I don't believe the terrorists despise the ability to operate more easily within our country. Furthermore, The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was penned in 1978 and the constitutionality of it is still is in question as is the Patriot Act. Matters that fall under either act are not legally a slam-dunk in either direction. So you should stop saying declaratively that the President "broke the law" because that has yet to be determined. Interestingly, FISA was enhanced by the Patriot act in 2001 to help try to bring a degree of modernity to a 28-year-old law. So, on the one hand you wonder why Bush hasn't amended FISA (something that any Democrat could propose if they were so inclined, but of course then they would actually be helping the situation) and on the other hand I guarantee you that you were one of those who cheered on Harry Reid when he giddily proclaimed, "We killed the Patriot Act." The bottom line is like "braden" said, Bush can't win for losing. The Left wants to make it as hard as possible for America (Bush) to effectively fight the war on terror so when an attack happens they can finger point and blame game.
It is disheartening sometimes when it becomes so apparent that many liberals care more about petty partisan politics than protecting the lives of American citizens. Coming from Boston I used to be sort of be liberal or at least a centrist but it's this exact type of morally bankrupt pettiness that drives independents and centrists to the right which seems to have a more sane and sober assessment as to what should be done to see to the continued existence of the greatest country in the history of man. The US of A.