Trotting out the Losers to Defend the Terrorists
The next in a long line of Democrats to chime in on the wiretap issue is the former Senator from South Dakota, Tom Daschle. And if all the Dems can do is bring out their big losers to get their message across, they are in about as much trouble as I thought. Tom Daschle lost his Senate seat last year because the Bush Administration did a very effective job portraying him as a leftist who fakes conservatism at home. But instead of learning and applying the lesson that losing his seat should have taught him, Daschle returns only to recycle the same unfortunate rhetoric that got him fired.
Daschle's op-ed piece in the Washington Post rails against what he calls, "a program to wiretap American citizens without getting warrants", "warrantless wiretaps of American citizens", and of course, "methods that can only breed fear and suspicion." But there is no evidence that Bush authorized a program to "wiretap American citizens" making the Daschle's article little more than an effort to create a Big Brother conspiracy straw man for him to rip apart. But a closer look at the former Minority Leader's words indicate that it is really he and his party that don't get it.
He notes that there are right and wrong ways to fight terrorism, but that Bush has never seemed to grasp that. But it is Daschle who is hopelessly confused.
If by "wrong" he means "ineffective," I would agree. There are ineffective ways of combatting terrorists, and the Democrats helped prove that in the 1990s. Ignoring the problem and treating it as a law enforcement issue is truly ineffective. We discovered that to our detriment on September 11, 2001. But I feel safe arguing that Daschle's point is that there are improper ways of stopping terrorists. And if those improper means involve violating rights that terrorists may claim, the debate has already taken a wrong turn.
Terrorists, as unlawful combatants, seek to commit acts of sabotage on our political, economic, and military infrastructure (or have we forgotten the targets of 9/11/01-- the WTC, the Pentagon, and presumably the Capitol?). Any effort to clothe them with civil liberties that will only be used to further their plots is borne of the mind of a simpleton. And terrorists CAN be American citizens. But Daschle makes a fairly significant category mistake in his short-sighted editorial.
There is a difference between protecting the nation from terrorist attacks and prosecuting the people planning and executing such attacks. Wiretapping people on our soil to gain information without a warrant may thwart a criminal prosecution under the Fourth Amendment, but it will not and should not prevent the interdiction of a terrorist plot in the execution phase. And that's the point that the left has been consistently missing. It's not about putting them in jail. It's about putting them out of the terrorist business. Because while terrorism does indeed run afoul of our law, it cannot be viewed as a law enforcement problem, but rather as a national security problem.
These are foreign agents, entering our nation for the purpose of destroying it. It is no different than if they had lobbed a missile from Iran, Syria, or even Saudi Arabia. But to the left, because this enemy lacks the sopistication and funds to produce rocket technology to deliver a devastating weapon and therefore must rely on subterfuge to enter our nation to wreak destruction locally, they are entitled to special rights simply because they are here. So not only do they fail to see terrorism as a national security problem (as their party's candidate for the White House proved last year), they see the fighting of terror within our borders as a civil liberties problem.
This is nothing more than politics over practicality. These are the same people who rush to court every Christmas any time a nativity scene or a Menorah is found within sight of a public place. And the same immoral attitude that fuels that engine is the same one that leads them to plead the case for terrorists' rights. Only at the ACLU does such logic make sense. And it is a logic that is uniquely un-American and unpatriotic.
And in that vein, it makes one wonder what is going on in the hearts of the Democrats and the media-left when they prefer to confer upon a terrorist a Constitutional right to privacy--as he plots to destroy the nation giving it to him--rather than the rights of his targets, the American people they are sworn to protect to live in safety.
Ask Tom Daschle. Losing an election over similar issues apparently didn't change his mind.