Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bush Determined To Change Message

Certainly one of the funniest headlines of 2006: Bush: Bin Laden Should Be Taken Seriously; via Yahoo news, courtesy of the AP wire service. I guess now is probably a better time than not to take Osama bin Laden seriously, seeing as how he’s kind of responsible for that whole 9/11 thingy, and, somehow, over the last four years since the attack has released more mix tapes than Tony Touch.

Now everything Bush is saying shouldn’t be glossed over so quickly; hey, don’t roll those eyes ceiling-ward, please no audible sighs. Pay attention. Said Bush: “When he says he's going to hurt the American people again, or try to, he means it”. And Bush should know. Everyone is now already familiar with that cryptic August 6th, 2001, Presidential Daily Briefing entitled Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US. In it, among other things, was this indecipherable nonsense:
Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

I’m no intelligence analyst sifting through recondite classified data, but I’m fairly certain that upon seeing this briefing, I would have done something other than stay at the Ranch. But this briefing, apparently, wasn’t evidence enough to take Bin Laden serious, it would seem.

So today Bush needed to reiterate the gravity of this craven man’s intention, if only to respond to Bin Laden’s recent release already climbing the charts. Bush made his 'little' speech, as irony would have it, inside the National Security Agency, wherein the putatively 'legal' wiretappings of American citizens are being conducted. (Clearing throat sonorously). Yes, that NSA!

It turns out that Mr. Bush is doing that cynical sleight of hand routine again. “See, Bin Laden is serious about attacking us. Therefore, my possibly illegal surveillance program is justified. Isn’t it?” Not likely.

When it was easy enough to get a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) warrant, even 72 hours after said act of surveillance, Bush didn’t. Bush attempted to justify his administration’s actions first by referencing the Iraq resolution, which nobody was buying, and then reaching for historical precedent, asserting that Lincoln and Roosevelt had availed themselves of the inherent right of the President in protecting the country. This inherent right is to be found somewhere in the Constitution, but the trouble is that it’s not there.

Enter Bin Laden, Mr. al-Qaida, Mr. Terror par excellence, and ‘justification number three for thus far illegal surveillance program’. And I’m not entirely adverse to the genuine need for some type of surveillance program because, pace Bush, if someone from al-Qaida is calling you, I want to know. Though, let’s not be na├»ve and pretend like something of this nature never existed before; it did, albeit on a far limited scale. After 9/11 national security couldn’t be treated as complacently as it had before. Yet, at the same time, there are limits. And Mr. Bush needs to be reminded of them.

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