The biggest issue behind the legalize currently in play before Congress and the general public is most importantly one of trust. We are expected to rely on the assertions of an administration that has proven to be both duplicitous and incompetent in the areas of national security and the welfare of ordinary Americans. Actions always speak louder than words, and there are serious misgivings about the actions of this government.
It is continuous double speak when the leadership addresses security and budgetary matters. Republicans insist we are safer now than we were before 9/11 yet the world is aflame with radical elements, and democratic progress hasn’t exactly augured either stability or hope for just societies in many parts of the world. The fact that we aren’t engaged in armed combat on our shores is small comfort to the disrupted lives that have resulted from our presence in Iraq nor has our own status in the world improved in any measurable way; in fact just the opposite is true.
As more information becomes available, albeit with scant coverage in our major media, it is infuriating to realize the knowingly false premises upon which the invasion of Iraq was justified. Still we are asked to believe the administration spin, our patriotism called into question if we demur. But we are ‘there’, and that is a reality we cannot escape and with which we have to deal. Yet beyond the original missteps and poor after-invasion planning is the matter of the millions of dollars unaccounted for and a continued flood of no-bid contracts to the same entities that have ‘misplaced’ or misspent those funds. In the current budget, already deficit ridden, there is no acknowledgement of the huge outlays that will be requested in supplementals down the road. Can this be called an honest budgeting procedure?
Corruption in Iraq and corruption in the halls of Congress have caused a crisis of confidence throughout the country except among those who never question anything they are told by the government in the name of national security. The oddest things become classified along with the oddest disclaimers – – for example Attorney General Gonzales in the Senate trying to justify what the administration likes to call “terrorist surveillance.” In replying to a question he maintained that if an American citizen contacts an Al Qaeda operative abroad the government wants to know about it, yet if two Al Qaeda operatives were talking to each other in this country it would not be proper to conduct unwarranted surveillance of them. Now if there is some hidden logic here, it is very deeply concealed, however his assertion brings into sharp relief the shaky ground upon which the entire premise of this surveillance rests.
It simply defies reason to believe that the terms “terrorist” or “Al Qaeda” are applied in any clear and consistent manner when it comes to surveillance methods. How could the sweep of thousands of callers, e-mailers or whomever within this country be accurately described as possible terrorist contacts? If that were true we’d be awash in terrorists within our borders, as terrifying a notion as it is hard to believe. And why wouldn’t the president make use of the FISA Court with the huge 72-hour window it allows?
Upon due consideration, to engage in a veneer of legalize, what the president and his attorney general lack is credibility. The American people want to be protected; that goes without saying. But they want to know that what they are told bears some relationship to the truth and what they are being protected against is not simply some vague target of the administration’s choosing undertaken without oversight or legal restraint. That just makes folks nervous.

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