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Backsliding Towards September 10

Michelle Malkin has an excellent post questioning the wisdom of George Will’s latest column attacking the President's decision authorizing the NSA program of eavesdropping on international-domestic communications involving terrorist suspects. Malkin writes:

Earlier this week George Will argued that President Bush should have asked Congress for permission to carry out warrantless eavesdropping of Americans. He is confident that Congress would have changed FISA to approve the program:

Congress, if asked, almost certainly would have made such modifications of law as the president's plans required.

Just one teensy weensy problem: the NSA program was (and still is) classified. Is Will suggesting that Bush could have requested the authority he needed without revealing the existence of the NSA program? Or does he think Bush should have trusted 535 members of Congress to keep the program secret?

On those key questions, Will is silent.

Will goes on to say that the key legal brief about the NSA program written by former deputy assistant attorney general John Yoo "should be declassified and debated."

Even if that means disclosing technical details about the program that would help al Qaeda evade surveillance?

Will not only does not answer the question, he doesn't even bother to address it, as if disclosing highly classified information about our intellgience-gathering techniques is a niggling detail that doesn't deserve even the slightest acknowledgement.

It's the sort of unreality-based thinking one expects from Molly Ivins or a Daily Kos diarist, not the nation's premiere conservative columnist.

I had a similar reaction when I read Will’s column Tuesday. Michelle goes on to cite National Review’s editorial on the subject which begins: "We are once again living in September 10 America." Daniel Pipes strikes the same theme with a recent column in the New York Sun titled “My Gloom: Back to September 10.” Pipes documents a whole host of troubling items that point to a backsliding in the nation’s commitment to fighting and winning this war.

In my column at the beginning of the week I alluded to the fact that most in Washington seem to have forgotten about 9/11. It's hard to dispute that with all the angst and hand-wringing in the last 18 months over Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, whether we’re treating suspected terrorists too “harshly,” and now with this last controversy over whether the President has the authority to authorize the NSA to monitor int’l-domestic communications originating with a terrorist suspect. The unfortunate reality is this backsliding will likely continue and the only thing that is going to arrest it will be another attack.