The ruling this week by a federal appeals court that the Bush Administration did not violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) when it monitored phone calls by suspected terrorists in foreign countries, including those who called into America, was not just a Bush Administration victory.
The ruling really was a victory for all Americans, at least those who want to continue living in a free, democratic society. The court tossed a lawsuit brought by a handful of liberal apologists for the Democratic Party who claimed that eavesdropping on terrorist suspects amounted to warrantless wiretapping of domestic phone calls.
The problem, as the court saw it, was not only that the plaintiffs couldn't prove their claims, they couldn't even prove that they had been the victims of phone taps by the federal government. That meant they lacked standing to bring the lawsuit in the first place, so the court told the plaintiffs to hit the bricks.
All patriotic Americans should rejoice over this ruling, because it emphasizes what most people with an ounce of intelligence and a pound of common sense already knew, that if we want to keep terrorists from attacking us again we have to use every means at our disposal to stay ahead of them.
But this then raises the question, why did the New York Times and the liberal tools for the Democratic Party who filed the lawsuit publicize this program in the first place? They had to know they weren't going to win in court once they got away from a pre-selected judge at the district level. So why spend all that time and money on a lost cause?
Perhaps because the lawsuit was never the goal, it was only a means to achieve an end, that being to publicize and thus render ineffective the program's existence in the first place.
Let's take a quick trip down memory lane to put this into perspective. At the outbreak of World War II the United States and its allies were monitoring Japanese and German radio transmissions, much as they were monitoring ours. But what the Germans and Japanese didn't know was that the allies had broken their codes early in the game, and were privy to all sorts of inside information that helped chart our efforts against them.
Breaking the Japanese code enabled American naval leaders to successfully evade a planned Japanese trap at the Battle of Midway. But that was just the beginning of the advantage America gained.
For instance, in April 1943, the US discovered through monitored radio transmissions that the top Japanese admiral, Isoroku Yamamoto, was travelling to bases in the South Pacific by plane. Our side found out when, what type of plane, and even his route. The admiral's plane was shot down and he was killed.
A little more than one year later, in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, 23-26 October, 1944, Admiral Yamamoto's skill and expertise were noticeably absent. The Japanese navy had successfully lured American Admiral William 'Bull' Halsey and his task force far from the scene of the main battle, leaving American forces horribly outmatched and outgunned by a huge Japanese battle force.
The picture accompanying this article is an official US Navy photo of the USS Princeton burning after being struck by a Japanese bomb during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. My father was serving on board at the time.
But just when it appeared the Americans would be overpowered by the Japanese, exposing Gen. Douglas MacArthur's vaunted return to the Philippines to an attack from the rear, the Japanese admiral in charge of their task force inexplicably disengaged and withdrew taking his battleships, heavy cruisers, destroyers and massive firepower with him.
It is safe to project that if Admiral Yamamoto had been in charge, the Japanese would have carried the day and inflicted untold casualties on American ships and troops.
But what if the New York Times, Washington Post, and members of the opposition party in Congress had publicized that we broke the Japanese code, leading them to change it? Yamamoto's trip would not have taken place, or we wouldn't have known about it, and the fighting in the Pacific at the very least would have gone on longer with even more American casualties.
Interestingly, Adm. Yamamoto never expected to beat America at war. His plan was to inflict sufficient early casualties to demoralize the American populace, forcing the US Congress to negotiate a peace that would have been highly favorable to the Japanese. Sound familiar?
Of course, had the Times, the Post or any members of Congress been stupid enough to reveal military secrets during WWII, they would have been charged with treason, tried as spies and shot.
But we aren't in World War II now, are we? Now, many in the American media and government obviously believe that we shouldn't win any war.
This is easily discerned by news stories that serve to demoralize troops and the populace, while boosting the morale of our enemies, and near daily press briefings by legislative bigwigs that reveal military plans, troop movements and what they see as flaws in our strategy. All are instantly available to the terrorists we are fighting.
It is obvious that there are many in America, some of whom were blatant communist sympathizers during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and support the terrorists now, who don't want America succeed. They see our country as bad, rather than a beacon of hope and an example for the rest of the world, and do whatever they can to subvert our anti-terrorism efforts both in the military and civilian sectors.
Many Americans have roundly criticized the Bush Administration for not pursuing treason charges against those who reveal our military and intelligence secrets, and work to demoralize our troops and populace.
But why would this administration take action against its critics, or how could it, when it has imposed restrictions on our military that are leading directly to the deaths of our troops who are fighting terrorism face to face while shackled with inexplicable and lethal Rules of Engagement?
A prime example of this is related by former Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell in his new book Lone Survivor: Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10. In Lone Survivor Luttrell reveals that his SEAL team was on a behind-the-lines mission to take out a major Al Qaeda leader in Afghanistan last year when they were discovered by three Taliban supporters, who happened to be herding goats at the time.
Luttrell told KSFO radio hosts Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan on their show Friday (you can listen on the Internet if you don't live near San Francisco) that he knew if they let the terrorists go the Taliban would be alerted. But the Rules of Engagement prohibited them from shooting the men. The SEALs then, and I'm not kidding here, took a vote on whether or not to shoot the terrorists. They voted not to, and in short order the 4-man team was under fire from some 180 Taliban.
Luttrell was the only survivor from his team, but beyond that, a rescue helicopter with relief forces was shot down too, and in all 23 Americans died so that three terrorist supporters could live. All because our troops now have to VOTE on whether their actions to save their own lives will ultimately land them in prison as a result of rules imposed by their own government!
I am not being critical of Luttrell or the SEALs here, but I am highly critical of any administration that puts our military personnel in a situation where they have to VOTE on how they will proceed in a war!
I strongly believe in the 26 Rules of Warfare, labeled A through Z. Rule A is: Do whatever is necessary to survive and win. Rules B through Z are; See Rule A.
So I guess that even though when viewed in an historic perspective much of what goes on in Washington and in the media can reasonably be viewed as treasonous, we can't expect much from a Commander in Chief who is part of the problem, not the solution. Interesting isn't it, that the bulk of the people who impose the rules on others never intend to live by them?
I am not joining the call by some for President Bush's impeachment. But if this is really a global conflict and the greatest challenge that our country faces, then lets get serious.
Putting our troops out for target practice is not what the American people want. That is why people think we are losing the war in Iraq and on terror.
Not because we can't win but because political correctness has run amok. I believe, and I have plenty of support for this, that those who sit in nice, safe comfortable places, and then have the audacity to second guess the decisions made in combat, should be given an all inclusive tour of the front lines.
I bet the troops would be ever so accommodating.
Saturday, July 07, 2007