Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hitch Demarcates

British journalist Christopher Hitchens, a Kiko's House fave, has joined an ACLU lawsuit challenging the controversial National Security Agency domestic spying program.

I'm a bit squeamish about journalists wearing their political and social views on their sleeve. I've always avoided affiliating myself with any organization or special interest, but Hitchens and a number of other prominent journos have no such problem in this instance.

Here's an excerpt from Hitchens' statement on why he became a party to the litigation:

I believe the President when he says that [the war in Iraq] will be a very long war, and insofar as a mere civilian may say so, I consider myself enlisted in it. But this consideration in itself makes it imperative that we not take panic or emergency measures in the short term, and then permit them to become institutionalised. I need hardly add that wire-tapping is only one of the many areas in which this holds true.

The better the ostensible justification for an infringement upon domestic liberty, the more suspicious one ought to be of it. We are hardly likely to be told that the government would feel less encumbered if it could dispense with the Bill of Rights. But a power or a right, once relinquished to one administration for one reason, will unfailingly be exploited by successor administrations, for quite other reasons. It is therefore of the first importance that we demarcate, clearly and immediately, the areas in which our government may or may not treat us as potential enemies.
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Welcome to the Club: A surprising number of conservatives, including some heavyweights, are breaking with the prez over the NSA controversy.

A group called Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances (PRCB) have called on Congress to hold oversight hearings on Bush's authorization allowing the NSA to spy on Americans.

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, chairman of PRCB, was joined by fellow conservatives Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR); David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union; Paul Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation and Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, in urging Congress to use NSA hearings "to establish a solid foundation for restoring much needed constitutional checks and balances to intelligence law."

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Conservative commentators suggested that the NSA controversy would quickly die out. Instead it has grown and grown. I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that we will look back on it as President Bush's Waterloo as regards his unprecedented power grab.

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