Well, it should fuel a nice fire
More nonsense from the LA Times, which usually has more wisdom in Doonesbury than in the main news sections; reading the paper on Friday however, there was more than one's average quota of nonsense.
There was an article about one of the tooliest tools in the Senate, Sen. Roberts of Kansas claiming that the need for investigation into wiretapping (they're calling it Terrorist Surveillance-to be honest that sounds no better) had been pre-empted by the White House agreeing to co-operate (oh how generous-the criminals seeing the error of their ways) in revising legislation governing wiretapping. (Although, by agreeing to do so, does that not indicate the uselessness of legislation which they ignored anyway? Hmmm...we don't like this legislation-let's break the law and if they catch us, we'll "agree" to make new legislation) So we should just take them at their word that they'll fix the law (not that it needs to be fixed).
Well regardless, the article was written as though ther is a great deal of disagreement over whether the wiretapping program is unconstitutional when there really isn't. Typical of the cowardice of the mainstream media that they don't have the nerve to call the President's program what it is and stop pretending that there's really much debate about the legality of the program. The media could become much more powerful if they were that assertive, but yet they continue to waffle on these very important issues, possibly fearing that they won't get access. Maybe-but if they grew a couple and told the White House that we'll keep reporting honestly on what you do, they would take the moral high ground unabashedly and the White House would be forced either into embarassment or into reforming. sigh. Ah well, it's a nice thought anyway.
The FISA legislation gives the President the authority to enact wiretapping on those whom he suspects of, um, badness retroactively. That is, the President's argument that he doesn't have enough time to apply to the FISA court for a warrant for a wiretap is unwarranted and null. Not only that, but if he had applied to the FISA court, it is almost certain that his application would have been approved. He doesn't even have to apply to FISA before enacting his wiretapping. This is not a complicated issue. President Bush has even stated that he re-approved the program about 40 times. In announcing this, in one of the more memorable bits of TV I've seen in recent times, he was essentially telling the country (not to mention James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and all the other Framers of the Constitution) "Fuck you, I'm Preznit, I'll do what I want". I mean, if the country does eventually come to its senses and newspapers start to simply report the facts of this affair, and Bush is eventually impeached, well, that's Exhibit A right there. It's like a bank robber leaving his phone number, social security number, address, next of kin, and wife's name on a note for the cops in the bank when he's finished robbing.
Also there was also an article in the LA Times on Friday about the supposed tepidness of the Iraqi reaction to the latest batch of photographs (warning: graphic) of abuse from Abu Ghraib. The article was entitled, "In Iraq, a Subdued Response to New Detainee Abuse Photos". Why, are Iraqis supposed to be rioting in the streets or something? And could anyone really blame them if they did? And just because they weren't making their unhappiness with the new revelations known in public venues, do you really think they were any less happy in private. And also, I read a while ago that Iraqis have known about these things for a while. This is not terribly shocking for them. They see how the US is behaving over there and so it's not news that their men and women are being abused in this way.
Additionally, does one not think that there is some abuse fatigue for Iraqis? They've undergone so much at the hands of The Troops Who Would Be Liberators that, well, they're probably exhausted to some degree with all the mistreatment that occurs. Not only that, but they're trying to live day-to-day in a country where unemployment was at 18% last year, according to CNN. (Al Jazeera, however, put the number at 70% a year and a half ago). In any case the number is high and the point is that life is not good in Iraq. But to suggest that somehow Iraqis aren't as angry about the pictures coming out of Abu Ghraib is, well, serving as a water carrier in the worst way for the Pentagon.
Yes, so no trees at all should have been hurt in the making of this newspaper. Yup, two sides to the wiretapping story and wow, Iraqis don't seem too upset over new Abu Ghraib pix. All in a day's work for one of the biggest papers in the country.