December 22, 2005
Live and Let Spy
By Ann Coulter
Apart from the day The New York Times goes out of business
-- and the stellar work Paul Krugman's column does twice a week
helping people house-train their puppies -- the newspaper has done
the greatest thing it will ever do in its entire existence. (Calm
down: No, the Times didn't hold an intervention for Frank
Monday's Times carried a major expose on child molesters
who use the Internet to lure their adolescent prey into performing
sex acts for Webcams. In the course of investigating the story,
reporter Kurt Eichenwald broke open a massive network of pedophiles,
rescued a young man who had been abused for years, and led the
Department of Justice to hundreds of child molesters.
I kept waiting for the catch, but apparently the Times
does not yet believe pedophilia is covered by the "privacy
right." They should stop covering politics and start covering
more stories like this.
In order to report the story, the Times said it obtained:
copies of online conversations and e-mail messages between
minors and the creepy adults;
records of payments to the minors;
membership lists for Webcam sites;
defunct sites stored in online archives;
files retained on a victim's computer over several years;
financial records, credit card processing data and other information;
The Neverland Ranch's mailing list. (OK, I made that last
Would that the Times allowed the Bush administration
similar investigative powers for Islamofacists in America!
Which brings me to this week's scandal about No Such Agency spying
on "Americans." I have difficulty ginning up much interest
in this story inasmuch as I think the government should be spying
on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport,
dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East, and
sending liberals to Guantanamo.
But if we must engage in a national debate on half-measures:
After 9/11, any president who was not spying on people calling
phone numbers associated with terrorists should be impeached for
being an inept commander in chief.
With a huge gaping hole in lower Manhattan, I'm not sure why
we have to keep reminding people, but we are at war. (Perhaps
it's because of the media blackout on images of the 9/11 attack.
We're not allowed to see those because seeing planes plowing into
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon might make us feel angry
Among the things that war entails are: killing people (sometimes
innocent), destroying buildings (sometimes innocent) and spying
on people (sometimes innocent).
That is why war is a bad thing. But once a war starts, it is
going to be finished one way or another, and I have a preference
for it coming out one way rather than the other.
In previous wars, the country has done far worse than monitor
telephone calls placed to jihad headquarters. FDR rounded up Japanese
-- many of them loyal American citizens -- and threw them in internment
camps. Most appallingly, at the same time, he let New York
Times editors wander free.
Note the following about the Japanese internment:
1) The Supreme Court upheld the president's authority to intern
the Japanese during wartime;
2) That case, Korematsu v. United States, is still good
3) There are no Japanese internment camps today. (Although the
no-limit blackjack section at Caesar's Palace on a Saturday night
comes pretty close.)
It's one or the other: Either we take the politically correct,
scattershot approach and violate everyone's civil liberties, or
we focus on the group threatening us and -- in the worst-case
scenario -- run the risk of briefly violating the civil liberties
of 1,000 people in a country of 300 million.
Of course, this is assuming I'm talking to people from the world
of the normal. In the Democrats' world, there are two more options.
Violate no one's civil liberties and get used to a lot more 9/11s,
or the modified third option, preferred by Sen. John D. Rockefeller:
Let the president do all the work and take all the heat for preventing
another terrorist attack while you place a letter expressing your
objections in a file cabinet as a small parchment tribute to your
2005 Ann Coulter
by Universal Press Syndicate