Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Iron Maiden Can Teach Us a Lot About the Dangers of Asking a Rhetorical Question When You Don't Know What the Answer to it Will Be

Questions are a burden,
And answers are a prison for oneself. -Iron Maiden.

Powerslave: meet Power Liberal.

Regarding Wiretapgate, Smartie (BTW: sorry I missed you guys on Saturday night, thereby depriving you of the opportunity to buy me a beer) poses the question rhetorical device:

I guess it's okay as long as your man is in power, right?

Try a thought exercise for a moment. Imagine if, following the Oklahoma City bombing, Bill Clinton had personally authorized secret wiretaps and FBI spying on not only the Militias, but also on other right-wing groups like the Federalist Society, the John Birch Society, the College Republicans, etc. Would you feel that was justified based on the fact that a right wing domestic terrorist organization had just killed hundreds of Americans? Why or why not?

(As Bruce Dickenson sang in that same song quoted above: "Kill the engine / Drop your bombs and let it burn.")

I don't recall any outrage when Bill Clinton signed an executive order in February of 1995 (was that after the Oklahoma City bombing?) authorizing warrantless "physical searches" for the purposes of obtaining foreign intelligence information.

Clinton's deputy AG Jamie Gorelick helpfully argued Bush's current case some five years before 9/11:

The Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes...

I bet Teddy Kennedy busted a blood vessel when he heard that.

Or not.

Nor do I recall it even being reported (though granted, I was 7 at the time) that the Most Moral Man to Ever Occupy the Oval Office and Be Attacked By a Vicious Bunny likewise authorized warrantless "electronic surveillance" to acquire foreign intelligence.

So yeah, I guess the level of outrage does have something to do with whether or not "your guy" is in office. To a certain extent.

White flags shot to ribbons,
The truce is black and burned.
Shellshock in the kitchen...

Damn, I haven't listened to Powerslave in a while. I think I'll give that bad boy a spin today.

UPDATE: WHEN LEFTIES ATTACK! If you look at the comments to this post, you will note that it is a tangled mess of crossed wires and missed points (in both directions) hastily dashed off. So in the interests of being perfectly clear here, I will just explicity answer Smartie's question, which in and of itself discredits the assertion of his post:

First let's note that Smartie's analogy turns way way south when he mentions the Federalists and the Birchies - unlike Bush's surveilance on militant Islamicists, there would have been no rational reason to suspect either of those organizations in the OKC bombing. Bush's net in question was not that broad. That aside, I would have been perfectly fine with Clinton ordering surveilance of this kind that is being attacked by lefties so vehemently on so-called right wing malitias that might reveal either the perpetrators of that terrorist act, or reveal any plans for future attacks.

So there.

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