Across the pond in Britain, Prime Minister Gordon Brown is trying to push legislation through Parliament that would dramatically increase government detention and surveillance powers (Sound familiar?) The only difference is that over there, politicians from both parties are defiantly rising up in protest, with Tory MP David Davis going so far as to resign his seat in order to run for re-election on a platform of protecting civil liberties.
Over at Salon, Glenn Greenwald chronicles the fascinating developments and challenges Congressional Dems to grow a spine and stand up to the Bush administration's blatant overreaches on the new FISA "compromise."
When the history of the post 9/11-era in America is written, it will record that our country was ruled by an administration as radical as it was contemptuous of our laws and basic liberties, but was also aided and abetted every step of the way by a putative "opposition party" too craven and/or supportive even to attempt to impede any of it, let alone succeed in doing so. The very few times when certain of its members tried to take principled stances of the type Britain is now witnessing -- such as Feingold's vigorous opposition to Bush's illegal spying program, the Military Commissions Act, and excesses of the Patriot Act -- the Democratic Party leadership itself intervened to quash them and ensure they failed.
Wouldn't it be nice to have leaders in our own government who were willing to protect the rule of law and our cherished civil liberties from the tyranny of fear mongering?
If Senator Obama truly wanted to prove himself as a leader and strongly rebuke the past 8 years of privacy abuse and lawlessness, he would use his standing as presumptive nominee to rally Democrats (and some honest Republicans) to propose a new bill that closes any real "intelligence gaps," but demands that the telecoms defend their conduct in a court of law to determine whether or not they broke the law. That shouldn't be a controversial proposition. The telecoms can't break the law just because the President told them they could.
This is a perfect opportunity to expose the criminality of the Bush administration and salvage the remaining privacy rights we have left. All we need are courageous leaders willing to go to the mat over it.
- All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.