Alablawg

Commentary on Alabama Law and Society

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Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Censure Issue

I am under no delusions that either of our senators would even momentarily dare to defend our rights by signing on to Sen. Feingold's rebuke.

However, I hope they will at least explain to us their reasoning.

"This just gives aid and comfort to our enemies" is not acceptable. No one on either side of the war (whether the one in Iraq, or the global one on terrorism) is going to change their minds based on the senate's rebuke of executive hubris. What terrorist is going to wake up in a funk, thinking America is just too powerful, only to be rejuvinated by the news that the senate slapped the president's wrist? And what U.S. soldier is going to want to sit in his tent and cry rather than go out and fight because folks dislike W? Besides, even if calling the president an arrogant liar could undermine the war effort, given W's poll numbers and the world's view of this country, wouldn't this just be cumulative evidence? It can't do any more harm than W himself has already done.

Nor is it acceptable to say "this is just petty politics." Sure the motives are probably mixed. Every democrat hopes to benefit at the poles. But the that does not necessarily mean the charges are frivolous. On the contrary, the allegations are very serious. Living in a free society means living in a society where everyone is subject to the law. So if W decided he is not subject to the law, he has undermined an essential component of our free society.

No, if they want to maintain even a semblance of integrity, the Alabama senators must argue that the charge is not true. They must explain to us why W acted lawfully and properly by spying on Americans without warrants and misleading congress about what he was doing.

If these charges are true, Sen. Sessions and Sen. Shelby have a choice: They can dare to defend our rights, or they can be lap dogs for the president.