Saturday, June 21, 2008

The walls still have ears

“It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives – and the liberty – of the American people” said Barak Obama yesterday.
Obviously he is less of a polemicist than I am. I would have hoped for his utter objection and opposition to the FISA bill that passed the House of Representatives yesterday, but in his calm fashion, he seems to be far less dogmatic and more practical and dare I say more conservative than I am by saying in essence that this is an improvement because it restores oversight and so he will support it with the pledge that further improvements are to be expected.

A good compromise fully satisfies no one and perhaps, although I loathe the actions of the Bush administration and it's swashbuckling lawlessness, it may be necessary to allow domestic surveillance but subject to legal guidelines: perhaps it may be a good compromise.

Perhaps what Obama shows here is leadership. It takes a stronger man to recognize the objections of people he does not agree with and to accept what practically can be acieived at any given moment rather than to play up to hard core supporters by chest pounding and foot stomping obstinacy that divides and does not achieve much. Sometimes a grudging admiration leads to more respect than unrestrained approbation.

4 comments:

adspar said...

noooooooooo how can you try to talk yourself into this?

"chest pounding and foot stomping obstinacy that divides"

you call it obstinacy, i call it having a shred of principle. principles are always divisive. obama certainly won't be that.


"A good compromise fully satisfies no one"

yeah those neocons seem really unsatisfied with this


"dare I say more conservative than I am"

dare you say?

Capt. Fogg said...

Well I did say "perhaps." :-)

Yes, I would get emotional satisfaction out of having some telcom execs go to jail, but then is that really fair when the people who ordered them to do this walk away? It's not that I don't admire principles, but too often when people talk about principles, they mean emotions.

adspar said...

I wouldn't get any emotional satisfaction from seeing telecom execs in jail. I'd get some satisfaction knowing that laws protecting my rights mean something. Obama says they don't.

Is it fair that the people who ordered lawbreaking walk away? Of course not. Bush and company should be in jail. So should the telecom perps. That we'll fail in bringing one side to justice can't be used as an excuse for the other side.

Too often people's principles are ridiculed as unreasonable emotions.

Capt. Fogg said...

I'm not ridiculing your comments or your principles. I'm wrestling with myself to make sense of it all. I do agree that the Bush administration committed crimes here and in other areas, but I am bothered somewhat that some who cooperated in this did it with the assurances of the administration that it was necessary and wasn't actually illegal. Of course I don't know all the facts about it.

I'm also wrestling with what this says about Obama. I'm not yet willing to believe that he is saying our rights mean nothing and I recognize that I may be wrong.