2006/08/18

Unbelievably bad editorial

The WaPo (Washington Post) wrote an unbelievably bad editorial on the Bush Administration's warrantless NSA wiretapping case. Instead of looking seriously at the substance of what U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor said, they're instead focused very intently on the style of what she said. Her opinion simply (One imagines them dipping into their silver snuffboxes while the ladies among them flutter their fans) doesn't reach the high, high standards of the WaPo ediorial board. Let's dispense with the idiotic assertion that "The program exists on ever-more uncertain legal ground." The program flatly, blatantly defies the Constitution. It's illegal. Period.

The Bush Administration has long argued that the AUMF, the Authorization to Use Military Force against Iraq gives them authority to conduct warrantless wiretapping. But this assertion has long since been under very serious dispute. In fact, Senator Feingold noted as much in his Censure Resolution of March in this year that the AUMF simply gave no such authority. The Bush Administration also claimed that the President has unenumerated (i.e. not explicitly declared) powers to conduct wiretapping at will. Hamdan vs Rumsfeld, was put out in June of this year and the Wikipedia summary of the case states that:

Because the military commission does not meet the requirements of the Uniform Code of Military Justice or of the Geneva Convention, it violates the laws of war and therefore cannot be used to try Hamdan.

The unenumerated presidential powers, according to the Supreme Court, simply do not exist.

These are the only two grounds that the WaPo editorial can cite to justify taking the Bush Administration's position seriously. Both grounds are completely specious. It is thoroughly, thoroughly, utterly disgusting that the WaPo cannot simply agree that the Bush Administration's conduct is simply and purely illegal. To argue, as the WaPo does, that the country must show great care and thought and deep consideration in "evaluating or in ensuring the program's legality" is revolting nonsense of the most disgusting sort.

Is it really so very difficult for this administration to obey the law? Must the WaPo put themelves on the wrong side of the struggle between the Constitution and the Bush Administration?

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