Bush continued his PR campaign in defense of illegal wiretaps today before an adoring crowd in Kansas.
Why does he keep talking to people who don’t need to be convinced?
During his appearance Bush continued to make the argument that the post-9/11 authorization of military action Congress gave him was actually his license to do whatever he sees fit in the War on Terra.
“Congress gave me the authority to use necessary force to protect the American people, but it didn't prescribe the tactics," said the president.
Congresspersons from both parties agree that illegal wiretaps were not exactly what they had in mind when they authorized military action, though.
It’s disconcerting to realize that, for the last four years, our Executive and Legislative branches have been on completely different pages of the war playbook. Whew!
More disconcerting is that, with Bush’s specious reasoning, he can do anything he wants. And that’s just the way he likes it.
If Bush decided that, because we are at war, the press and other critical voices – who many say have emboldened terrorists – will be temporarily limited in what they can say, that’d be a logical extension of his wiretap argument. And a legal one, in his view.
Curtailing free speech was never specified in the authorization, but neither are many of the other powers Bush is now claiming. That includes the one that took us from military force to legal surveillance of terrorists to illegal surveillance of Quakers.
The fact that an American president would even try to interpret Congressional approval so broadly is a bad sign; it’s the same kind of rationale dictators use every day.
We need to look at Congress’ war authorization like a legal contract. Things that are “implied” in agreements – not spelled out specifically – don’t hold a lot of weight in court. That’s typically in the fine print, if course.
Let’s say you hire a contractor to refurbish your bathroom. Not only does he give you the Jacuzzi tub you wanted, he also installs a new A/C unit, builds a Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound System into your living room walls and puts crown molding in your master bedroom.
And he expects you to pay for every bit of it.
All this extra stuff was nowhere in the contract, but the contractor believes the bathroom thing was just part of an overall home refurbishment plan you had authorized him to undertake for the comfort and enjoyment of your family.
You should always take a good look at a contractor before you hire him. You dare only trust a reputable one.