Xmas Cheer: Well, I'm off on my usual two-week Christmas break. There are so many blog items I wanted to write before I left, but I never got around to it. And today seems to be full of news.
- President Bush apparently ordered domestic spying to find terrorists following the 9/11 attacks. The most shocking part is that The New York Times delayed publishing the story for a year to confirm it through additional reporting. Still, while we all expected the federal government to take additional leeway in finding terrorists, the thought of the NSA snooping on Americans' lives is chilling. We need to investigate to see whether the Bush administration went beyond the limits of the law. Then we need to see whether the law goes beyond the limits of common sense.
- Bush backed down and endorsed Sen. McCain's torture bill. The legislation is vague and restrictive. But it may be necessary considering all the bad publicity the United States has been getting. I personally haven't seen anything that indicates that the U.S. is crossing the line with any invasive interpretations or out-and-out torture. There may have been a few bad cases, but those are the exceptions. The problem is the torture bill may unnecessarily tie our hands. Don't get me wrong, torture is immoral and it usually doesn't even work. Nobody should want to torture, but we should keep the threat alive. Now the terrorists know they can sit on their hands and wait us out, no matter how harsh the interrogator's voice gets. Remember, these terrorists have broken international law by committing war crimes, targeting civilians, and torturing and beheading their captors. While we don't want to go anywhere near their level (I doubt we ever could), they don't deserve any special protection.
- Zarqawi might have been caught, then inadvertently set free over a year ago when Iraqi police didn't recognize him. And I was having such a good day today.
- The House of Representatives voted to create a 698-mile wall between the U.S. and Mexican border. Just great. I wonder where they expect to get the cheap labor to construct this wall.
- The Iraqi parliamentary elections were a tremendous success. This time the Sunnis even showed up. Unfortunately the major cities had to be held in virtual lockdown to prevent violence in order to facilitate the ballot process. But I think the joy from this small taste of democracy will ensure everyone in Iraq has a very merry Christmas (... er, wait).