Friday, December 23, 2005

Recent commentary: The NYT wiretapping story

Should the New York Times have revealed the president's wiretap methods?

(published 26-Dec-2005, Appleton Post-Crescent)

Sure is a convenient plug for New York Times reporter James Risen’s book, “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.” They sat on it for 14 months and now, just before the book release, the story comes out. Curiosly the Times did NOT run it before last year’s Presidential election. Kind of puts a different spin on liberal bias in the media. But should they have revealed it? I'm more interested in the larger question “Should our government be doing this sort of thing?” Or, “Will whoever’s the President during the next spectacular terrorist attack on American soil be lynched or not?” While you ponder that one, remember what Dostoevsky said: “Man is tormented by no greater anxiety than to find someone quickly to whom he can hand over that great gift of freedom with which the ill-fated creature is born.”


Ellie said...

Yes, yes, yes they should have revealed it. No, the government should not be doing it. It flies in the face of everything this country is supposed to stand for. Raise your hand if you're tired of the Bush administration using 9.11 as an excuse for every sleazy act the commit.

Steve Erbach said...


This is similar to the release of photos from Abu Ghraib or the pictures of the charred remains of the four civilian contractors strung up on the bridge in Fallujah. Lets get it out in the middle of the floor where we can poke at it.

If they shouldn't be doing this sort of thing then what's to be done about it when they do? On the one hand is the view that the President is doing everything in his power to ensure that we're not attacked again. 9-11 was not an isolated incident.

On the other hand, there's no possible way to ensure that we'll never be attacked again. Witness Israel, one of the most heavily secure states in the world. Of course, they're surrounded by "neighbors" who'd like to see them bulldozed into the sea...

If, say, Bush were impeached, do you really think that the wiretapping would stop? If a Democrat had been elected President in 2000 and he managed to avoid invading Iraq, would that have made us more secure? Do you really believe that if we just leave the Middle East alone that we'll be safer?

Sorry, too many questions...

Steve Erbach