Monday, January 30, 2006

The Only 2 Things Bush Can't Do. Wait! make that 1 thing.

Finally, someone asked George W. Bush one of the questions that's been on my mind. According to this President, the Authorization to Use Force against 9/11 Attackers, is an authorization to do basically ANYTHING that will, in his sole judgment, protect the American People. So, I was wondering, if his argument holds, is there anything he CAN'T do?

Bush could only think of 2 things. 1) Order torture (!?!) or 2) Assasinate the leader of a country we're not at war with.

From Face the Nation, here's Bob Schieffer's question and Bush's answer:

SCHIEFFER: Let's talk a little bit about this whole idea of eavesdropping without court orders. You said very strongly, and the strongest language I've heard you use yesterday, that you believe it is not only legal, you believe it is absolutely necessary in the War on Terrorism. The--the question I have, Mr. President, is: Do you believe that there is anything that a president cannot do, if he considers it necessary, in an emergency like this?

PRESIDENT BUSH: That's a--that's a great question. You know, one of the--yeah, I don't think a president can tort--get--can order torture, for example. I don't think a president can order the assassination of a leader of another country with which we're not at war. Yes, there are clear red lines, and--it--you--you--you just asked a very interesting constitutional question. The extent to which a president, during war, can exercise authorities in order to protect the American people, and that's really what the debate is about. I--I made the decision to listen to phone calls of Al Qaeda or suspected Al Qaeda from outside the country coming in or inside the country going out because the people, our operators, told me that this is one of the best ways to protect the American people. And it wasn't an easy decision to make, but as I thought through the decision-making process, I asked a couple of questions: One, do I have the authority to do it? In other words, implicit in your question is, will I just act without determining if I have authority. And so, in other words, I got--I--I was convinced by the legal department of the--of this--of this White House and the Justice Department that I did have the authority, and we looked at it very carefully. And secondly, I wanted to make sure that civil liberties were guarded. In other words, that by unleashing this program there wasn't checks and balances on--inside the NSA so that they would circumvent my order, which was listening for phone calls outside the country and in vice versa; in other words, not listening to the phone calls within the country. It is important that this program go on. I understand the debate, and I understand the need to make sure people discuss and debate whether or not I have got the authority to do it, but as I told the American people--and I can't tell you how strongly I feel about this--if somebody is talking to Al Qaeda inside the United States, we need to know why, and that's what this program is aimed to do.

Item 1, contradicts the Signing Statement he attached to the McCain Amendment on Torture and item 2 does not make me feel safe... at all. That puts several billion of us in the Ok-to-Assasinate category.

Here's the CBS transcript.

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