For several years the Democratic leadership and the mainstream media have been depicting President Bush as a power-hungry executive who "tramples on" the Constitution. But the New York Times, in its July 16 editorial, wrote, "It is only now, nearly five years after Sept. 11, that the full picture of the Bush administration's response to the terror attacks is becoming clear. Much of it, we can see now, had far less to do with fighting Osama bin Laden than with expanding presidential power."
Maybe Charlie Sheen has become a shadow member of the editorial board. Sheen, you will recall, recently demonstrated he had his father's penchant for radical left-lunacy when he hinted that a U.S. government conspiracy was behind the 9/11 attacks. Twenty Muslim hijackers just couldn't have pulled off the attacks absent collusion with the government.
Well, go ahead and write Sheen off as a fringe leftist kook if you choose, but when the leading liberal editorial page of the nation is saying things just as maliciously preposterous, it's hard to describe far-left kooks as "fringe" anymore.
To say that Bush has been aggressive in the war on terror as a means to gaining more power for himself and not to defeat the terrorist threat is shockingly paranoid. And there's more. The Times cites a piece by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker describing how this grandiose Bush scheme to usurp power from the other two branches of government "grew out of Vice President Dick Cheney's long and deeply held conviction that the real lesson of Watergate and the later Iran-contra debacle was that the president needed more power and that Congress and the courts should get out of the way. To a disturbing degree, the horror of 9/11 became an excuse to take up this cause behind the shield of Americans' deep insecurity."
Folks, if this doesn't give you insight into leftist thinking today and the obstacles we face among our own people in the war on terror, perhaps nothing will. While you're trying to figure out whether it was the sinister Cheney or the hapless Bush who hatched this scheme to ratchet-up executive power, you might ponder what motive either has to expand the presidency, since Bush will be out in two years and Cheney has no presidential aspirations. As a gift to Hillary, perhaps?
The Times' Bush/Cheney paranoia is only exceeded by its misapprehension of the nature of the terrorist threat. What it really appears exercised about -- beyond its sheer hatred for George Bush -- is that we are treating terrorists as the enemy instead of criminal defendants who are entitled to the full spectrum of constitutional rights.
The Times is furious that President Bush eavesdrops on these people without a warrant, tracks their finances and maintains the Geneva Conventions don't apply to them.
The editors wrote, "Undoing the Geneva Conventions would further endanger the life of every member of the American military who might ever be taken captive in the future." Excuse me, but how could anyone who understands the terrorist mindset believe that by showing kindness to terrorists they'll pose less of a danger to American soldiers captured in the future? Terrorists don't negotiate, and they don't abide by rules or "conventions"; they torture and slaughter human beings for sport.
And our refusal to extend the Geneva Conventions to those not covered by them now and who themselves don't honor them will certainly not cause any civilized enemies we may encounter in the future to mistreat our troops. Of course, the idea that we're going to have civilized enemies in the foreseeable future is pure fantasy.
The Times wants Congress to condemn President Bush for his "excesses," including his treatment of Gitmo detainees. It sees his refusal to extend the Geneva Conventions to the terrorists as part of his executive arrogance rather than a good faith, reasonable, and much more commonsensical view of the Conventions than that of the majority of the Supreme Court. That's because it regards Bush, not Osama bin Laden and his armies, as the real threat to America. And that tells you all you need to know about the Times.