Friday, December 23, 2005

The wave of prim outrage provoked by the revelation of George Bush's domestic spying program has only been eclipsed by the display of determined indignation at its explanation, as Attorney General Alberto Gonzales maintained that the president's powers as commander-in-chief gave him the ability to override and ignore the Foreign Intelligence Surveillence Act. Naysayers insist that the president has discarded the rule of law, ignored his duty to protect the Constitution, and left a stain of criminality on the Oval Office.

How soon we forget the lessons of September 11th! Faced with a threat unlike any before, America can no longer afford its cumbersome system of unwieldy checks and balances. Instead it must nimbly respond to terror with a single, streamlined, omnipotent executive branch. Instead of waiting for critical domestic spying programs to pass through Congress, where bickering Senators can selfishly subject them to public scrutiny, an efficient White House can put them into practice so quickly the country doesn't discover them for another four years.

All the usual suspects have begun ringing all the usual alarm bells, calling the president's new powers unconstitutional or even dictatorial. This, of course, is absurd. There remain numerous checks on the president's powers, such as God, who may override the president's veto with a two-thirds vote, and the president himself, who may bring himself to justice should he find himself to have violated his oath of office. Nor have Congress and the courts been rendered powerless, as all three branches of government have vital roles to play: the executive branch to be the president, the legislative branch to support the president, and the judicial branch to tell the president he is constitutional.

Is it actually constitutional to place the president above the law? The point is moot: in the weeks following September 11th, the United States Constitution was apprehended in Afghanistan and transferred to a military detainment facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Medium Lobster cannot divulge further details without compromising America's intelligence apparatus, but civil libertarians should rest assured that the Pentagon has established the Constitution's clear ties to al Qaeda, and that it is no accident that America has not been attacked since the deadly document's capture. Freedom, after all, is not free: at its last valuation, an ounce of liberty cost a good two million dollars' worth of police state.

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posted by the Medium Lobster at 5:18 PM



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