Monday, February 06, 2006

Tip of the Hat to Lindsey Graham

The Republicans will argue that the Democrats are soft on terrorism because they are concerned about the erosion of our civil rights. That's horsepucky. The real deal is that Democrats are concerned about the President thumbing his nose at Congress. This is a significant concern because there is a law that says that it is the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance will be conducted, and the President says that law does not apply to him.

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the legality of the NSA program of surveillance under which U.S. persons in America were spied on. Here's one of the most telling exchanges:

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked the Attorney General the following question:

If the Congress decided to limit treatment or interrogation techniques of a detainee, would the President have to honor that? Is that part of our authority under the Constitution to regulate the military? Do we have the authority to tell the military you will not do the following things? Would that intrude on the inherent power of the President to run the military?

A.G. Gonzales: The question is whether or not this is an interference of the day to day command functions of the Commander in chief or does it fall does it fall within that clause of Section 8 of Article I which says that Congress …

Senator Graham: Do you believe it is lawful for the Congress to tell the military that you cannot physically abuse a prisoner of war.

A.G. Gonzales: I am not prepared to say that Senator. I think that’s – you can make an argument that that’s part of the rule …

Senator Graham: If we can’t do that, if we can’t during the time of war regulate the behavior of our troops then really we have no power in the time of war.

There, I've done it. I said something nice about a Republican.

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”

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