Monday, December 19, 2005

Common Sense from an MSB

Posted by Craig Westover | 7:01 PM |  

I admit I don't read Power Line has much as I once did. Like the Star Tribune Editorial Page, it's become pretty predictable, sort of a mainstream blog, I guess you could call it. Nonetheless, Paul has an excellent post on the "all the President's spies" controversy.

At the end of its long piece about President Bush's use of his wartime powers, the Washington Post quotes Michael Woods, former chief of the FBI's national security law unit, as follows:

[W]e ought to be past the time of emergency responses. We ought to have more considered views now. . . . We have time to debate a legal regime and what's appropriate.

He has a point. History tells us that nations sometimes react to a surprise attack by implementing overly aggressive internal security measures. This is an understandable response, but with the passage of time it becomes possible, and indeed imperative, to better calibrate security policy so as to better protect civil liberties.

It may be that the Bush administration over-estimated the threat of another terrorist attack. Or it may be that the threat has diminished due to the successes of the administration's policy. In any case, one can hardly disagree with Woods that this is a proper subject for debate. . . .

The debate over domestic surveillance issues turns on balancing our security needs against our need to protect individual rights. If the president is incorrectly analyzing the security side of the equation, Congress should tell him so. If he is analyzing the security side correctly but erring in other respects, Congress should tell him that.

Indeed, that's the point that our liberal friends are missing. As Paul writes --
But don't hold your breath. The Democrats aren't much interested in a genuine debate about the difficult trade-offs between security and privacy, and they certainly don't want to go on record one way or the other about the nature of the security threat we face. In truth, the Democrats are mostly interested in taking pot-shots at the president pursuant to whatever attack item the MSM is pushing during a given week.
Update: And common sense from the mainstream media. Check out today's insitutional editorial in the Pioneer Press. It's right on target.

Category: Nationa lPolitics