January 05, 2006

aclu ads: national security vs. democracy?

Did you see the new full-page ads the ACLU placed in the New York Times over the last week? Comparing Bush's actions and statements on electronic surveillance of citizens by the NSA to Nixon's actions during Watergate, they ask: "What should we do when the U.S. President lies to us and breaks the law?" Very provocative.

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More details on the ACLU's full-court press including the ads, ACLU's call for a special prosecutor, and various FOIA requests are available for your perusal at www.aclu.org/spyads.

The ACLU considers this a non-partisan campaign to protect democracy in the United States. The Bush administration considers the disclosure of its secret program a dangerous affront to national security in a world of terrorist threats. Various conservative individuals and groups go so far as to call the New York Times treasonous for exposing this mess. Apparently this is something both reasonable and unreasonable people can disagree on.

I'm with the ACLU on this one. Of course, I'm a card-carrying member type, so I would.

Posted by Gene at January 5, 2006 02:39 PM


Legal experts, nor even the ACLU itself apparently, can make up their mind as to whether law was broken. The add seems to proclaim boldly that "Bush Lied", but in the smaller print says, "A special counsel must be appointed to determine *whether* oaths of office were broken and federal laws violated..." (emphasis added). Innocent until proven guilty. When legal experts disagree, I'd like to reserve judgement myself.

Oh, and where is the big investigation into who leaked this to the Times? Or are we dumbly assuming it was Rove and Scooter again?

Posted by: anonymous at January 6, 2006 09:22 AM

Yes, I agree the ads go too far in asserting that law was broken without proof, investigation, trial etc. As I said, very provocative, and perhaps we'll get to see whether this is true or not. However, I still think the democracy is stronger when the sun shines in.

On the question of who leaked, it will be interesting to see whether this turns out to be a criminal action or the act of a patriotic whistleblower. Let the sun shine on this as well.

Posted by: Gene at January 6, 2006 11:56 AM

Again, the ACLU have proven itself immune to reason. If the fourth amendment guards against unreasonable searches, surely this program is not unreasonable at this time in history. Especially, when one considers congressional approval for more agressive actions to ward off new attacks. The constitution was never meant to provide cover for our enemies. A point lost on the ACLU.

Posted by: Menlo Bob at January 15, 2006 10:44 PM
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