January 13, 2005

Quoting Myself: Religious Wars and Warrentless Wiretaps

REVIEWING MY RESPONSES TO my analysts @ Sigmund, Carl and Alfred: In The Garage: American Digest On The Couch With SC&A , two not unconnected points seem to bear repeating:

1. Religions at War

How do you define what Bernard Lewis calls the Clash of Civilizations?

It is, indeed, much of what Lewis defines it as in that seminal essay; a Religious War. But I think it is important to understand exactly which religions are at war.One the one hand we have the Religion of Islam (and by this I mean a very broad swath of Islam and NOT the popular PC group we call 'Islamic Fundamentalism'). On the other hand we have the Religion of Freedom, by which I mean the entire concept of personal and social freedom as most highly expressed by American Liberalism today. That this far edge of freedom is determined to give, in the name of freedom, the edge to Islam and its determination to destroy all individual freedom in the name of submission to on god, theirs, is the leading irony of our time. For, at the far edge of personal freedom, we see that this concept is indeed a suicide pact between liberalism and its deepest values.

2. Listening in on "Americans"

The warrantless wiretap story is disturbing, even if you support President Bush. Is there a compromise?

In the overheated political imagination it seems disturbing, but those who bleat the loudest clearly do not have "the good of the country" at heart. Rather it is the hate of the President that's driving them. If I thought they had the good of the country motivating them I might listen more closely but they do not. The compromise is to stop letting Bush Derangement Syndrome drive the policy of the Democratic party, and to start letting what is best for the country lead the dance. I don't think they are capable at this point of being cured. As they say out West, "Once a bear is hooked on garbage, there's no cure."

I am also not so sure that the pre-existing and present wiretap laws prohibit 1) interception of wireless cellular traffic and 2) calls that originate in a foreign country and are inbound or calls that originate in the United States and are outbound. It also, it seems to me, depends on who is calling whom.

The Amanapour issue is germane here. It is clear from her reporting over the years that this writer has a lot of contacts among people in the Middle East and among our enemies. If the NSA is tracking known terrorists or terrorists and these people call Amanapour have they bugged Amanapour or her informants. If Amanapour is in the middle east or elsewhere out of the United States and the NSA listens to her cellular conversations or other calls because she has contacts that are known to be antithetical to the interests and safety of the United States, is she supposed to be given a pass because she's a journalist? It seems to me that the entire "special privileges" of this self-appointed fourth arm of government needs to be re-examined in the digital age.

So, yes, it is disturbing but not in the way the President's enemies want Americans to think and I suspect that most American's support the concept of listening in on suspected terrorists' conversations here and abroad.

What is much more disturbing to me is the recently reported item of fudging the law with a signing statement, but I suspect we'll see the Clinton version of this revealed in the next day or so. Either way, it is disturbing.

Posted by Vanderleun at January 13, 2005 12:13 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.


' I don't think they are capable at this point of being cured. As they say out West, "Once a bear is hooked on garbage, there's no cure." '

Thank for the bellyaching laugh! I needed it.

Posted by: John Barbour at January 14, 2006 7:28 AM

As stated, war is hell.

Posted by: jeffersonranch at January 14, 2006 7:45 PM