George W. Bush made me a blogger of me. Writing was the only way of dealing with the intensity of the frustration at America’s
A flood of post-September 11 articles asked how the attacks happened, what we would do next, and why terrorists hate us. One savvy pundit asked, Would America keep its head?
We invaded Iraq on trumped-up intelligence. We conducted illegal surveillance on our own citizens. We imprisoned people without charge, here and abroad. We rendered prisoners for torture and tortured others ourselves in violation of international law. All the while, millions of staunch, law-and-order conservatives supported and defended it, and still do. Vigorously.
Did America keep its head? Uh, no.
Just as a friend’s PTSD flares up each year at this time (she lost a loved one in the New York attack), we’re still coping with the aftermath of decisions made by Bush’s Mayberry Machiavellis. So sure that they were God’s instruments (if not Halliburton’s), they could rationalize all of it. Their elaborate justification memos in legaleze are still trickling out.
“We conclude only that when the nation has been thrust into an armed conflict by a foreign attack on the United States and the president determines in his role as commander in chief .?.?. that it is essential for defense against a further foreign attack to use the [wiretapping] capabilities of the [National Security Agency] within the United States, he has inherent constitutional authority” to order warrantless wiretapping — “an authority that Congress cannot curtail,” Goldsmith wrote in a redacted 108-page memo dated May 6, 2004.
The program, code-named Stellar Wind, enabled the NSA to collect communications on U.S. soil when at least one party was believed to be a member of al-Qaeda or an al-Qaeda affiliate, and at least one end of the communication was overseas.
The ACLU obtained the memos through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Staff attorney Patrick Toomey tells the Washington Post,
“Unfortunately, the sweeping surveillance they sought to justify is not a thing of the past,” Toomey said. “The government’s legal rationales have shifted over time, but some of today’s surveillance programs are even broader and more intrusive than those put in place more than a decade ago by President Bush.”
Now that Bush is home in Texas painting and Vice President Dark Side is still stumping for renewed U.S. intervention in the region his intervention helped destabilize, we are still dealing with the after effects of their misrule.
Has any one else noticed: Have any of these former global players from the Bush administration actually set foot outside U.S. borders since leaving office? Can they?
(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)