NSA scandal bodes ill for Bush


We’ve heard all the arguments and still we’re not sold.

So the National Security Agency has been listening in on domestic phone calls, they’ve said. So what? It’s wartime, in case you hadn’t noticed, and these guys on the other side would smile to rip their beards to see us all dead in the streets.

They hate us for our freedom, don’t you know.

Besides, George Bush is the president on the United States. The guy can do whatever he wants. This is a terrible time to be questioning the motives of the president. Remember: we’re at war. He’s doing what he’s got to do to protect us.

And if you have nothing to hide, then what’s the big deal about a little wiretap?

The fact is that this warrantless surveillance only applied to international phone calls and e-mails in which one of the parties was suspected to have ties to terrorist organizations. They’re not talking about you and me.

The whole thing looks to us like it’s been blown completely out of proportion by Bush’s detractors.

But then again’….

In our eyes the president’s actions are unconstitutional, indefensible and un-American.

It is true that Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act already made allowances for domestic spying (because it is spying, when you get right down to it) without the benefit of a warrant, provided probable cause is evident. Considering that requests for wiretaps had been turned down very few times in the past, is it possible that the president’s measure was unnecessary?

And about this measure, which he says was implemented just a few months after the events of 9/11: is the president allowed to do this, just disregard the Constitution that he is sworn to uphold and protect? Is he allowed, by virtue of his office, to do whatever he wants?

Probably not.

Okay, it’s wartime. And yes, in the past presidents have taken drastic measures to protect the American people when we are engaged in military action with an enemy. But domestic spying is not the same thing as rationing sugar, aluminum or, heaven forbid, gasoline.

And the precedent set by this particular action does not bode well for the future: if listening in on Americans without warrants is justifiable now, how soon before a president, under the pretense of war, starts reneging on our other inalienable rights? How soon before they take people from their homes without due cause? How long before they take our guns?

And how many years will it take for a president, in a drunken power binge, wages war simply to justify altering the Constitution?

‘“They hate us for our freedom.’” That’s a declarative we’ve been hearing a lot in the last four years. And it’s quite possibly true. If so, then our enemies have one less thing to hate us for. And if these violations of our civil rights go unchecked, then the terrorists have won a significant battle, taking away one of the freedoms for which they hate us so much.