Sunday, December 18, 2005

LINDSAY GRAHAM: NOT EVIL Here's the senior senator from South Carolina--a Republican and a lawyer--this morning on Face the Nation:
I don't know of any legal basis to go around [the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act]. There may be some, but I'm not aware of it. And here's the concern I have. We can't become an outcome-based democracy. Even in a time of war, you have to follow the process, because that's what a democracy is all about: a process.


The bottom line is there is a theme here that's a bit disturbing. Remember the debate with Senator McCain about immunity. The administration was pushing to give immunity to interrogators in the field. Well, if you allow the president to make a finding that this is a bad person and these techniques are necessary, the president would have the authority to set aside statutes like the torture statute. If you allow him to make the findings, he becomes the court. So you cannot give any executive, Republican or Democrat, the ability to make findings to set aside statutes that exist or play the role of a court because that becomes a model that other people will adopt when our troops are held by them.


I reject the idea that any president can sit down with a handful of congressman and deal the courts out if the law requires the court to be involved. It is about the process. It's not about the politics. It is about winning the war, adhering to the values that we're fighting for and you can't set those values aside in the name of expediency.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.