Monday, December 19, 2005

A Wish for Kings

John Robb writes:
Based on the non-response of Rice to Tim Russert on the question of what authority the US President based his decision to wire tap Americans, it seems to me that the President violated the law. Expediency is not an excuse or a basis for authority to violate the constitution.
This is incorrect. Expediency is always an excuse for obviating democratic principles.
Bush spoke about this today too: He defended the surveillance plan as legal, saying his authority to approve it came from his constitutional powers as commander in chief. What the heck is this?
Many in the U.S. today, follow the model of the tyrant. Elect a commander-in-chief and give him total authority for a fixed period of time. The current example of course improves things greatly as while the individual tyrant may eventually have to leave office, after all eight years is not forever, if you can keep the war going then you have absolute authority indefinitely. It's a win-win. I'll steal this line from Lewis Lapham — the United States has a wish for kings.
It gets even Nixonian: In the radio address, Bush said sternly that information about the program had been "improperly provided to news organizations." "As a result," he said, "our enemies have learned information they should not have." Bush's discussion of the program was a dramatic turnabout for a president who tends to stick to his plan: On Friday, he told a television interviewer that speaking out could jeopardize national security.
Did President Bush reveal who he thought his enemies were?

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