I have to say it's been a pretty fun week of reading watching some of the latest fallout of things connected to the 9/11 tragedy and the Iraq war.
In case you've been living under a rock the first bit of fun started when the House of Representatives unveiled a new surveillance bill
that was different from the version the Senate created. Pretty common at times, but the best part? Bush wanted the Senate version passed. Why? Well, if you take what Bush says at face value it's because he doesn't want the various phone companies that provided information after 9/11 to be open to civil lawsuits. Don't believe the hype though. I'm pretty sure it's just a smokescreen.
While I do believe people are upset with the phone companies for offering up private information to the government that was obtained in a questionable manner, I believe those people are actually more upset with the government. The problem is that it's difficult to sue the government without the government's approval that you sue them (as I've come to understand such things over the years). So, if you can't sue the government then you go after the people who gave the government information on you.
The Senate's version of the surveillance bill would have given retroactive immunity to the companies that provided our personal information to the government. It seems the House Democrats aren't big on that. Still, it could be a moot point though as the House's bill would allow the phone companies to make their case in a closed court without the plaintiffs present. To me, that's still questionable but as it does have a connection to national security and personal privacy I can accept it. So, to me the hinge factor is the retroactive immunity for the companies. Why is it important to Bush? In my mind it's simple. He's saving his own hide.
You see, if the phone companies are found to be guilty of crossing certain lines regarding the use and sharing of information of private citizens I'd say the next logical step becomes to go after the people who asked for that information, especially if obtaining it is determined to have been done through questionable means. Oh, and I'm not just talking Bush and his cronies here, I'm talking our whole intelligence community. This week has also had an interesting report of how the FBI has been found to have been obtaining personal information on citizens without proper authorization
Back to the President though. I'm sorry, but I don't believe for one instant that his primary goal in having the Senate's version of the intelligence bill has a THING to do with protecting the phone companies or their financial situations. His choices as President have done more than enough to screw up the economy. This could make the dam get close to bursting, but he started building the pressure long ago. Oh, and if you didn't know the House version of the bill was passed
. I'm hoping for a showdown.
Finally, in a connected story of lack of connections....
The Pentagon (yes, THE Pentagon) released a report stating that there was NO connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda
. Now, while the findings do support that Hussein was supporting terrorists inside and outside Iraq their focus was keeping him and his Baath party in power. So, if we're constantly fighting al Qaeda in Iraq and there was no connection between Hussein and Iraq then what is the new factor in Iraq that would/could have allowed al Qaeda to encroach? Wow, I'd guess it's the fact we headed into the country to make our changes (for them of course).
Please keep in mind that this isn't me saying that we were wrong in wanting Hussein out. This is me saying that the way we did it was wrong on a NUMBER of levels. Not only that, we regular citizens are paying a much more hefty price than any of those who approved our military action. We're paying through the economy, the lives of fallen soldiers and our standing in the world in general as a nation. I really do believe that anyone that continues to argue that Bush will be remembered as one of the greatest presidents ever needs to be smacked. Any benefits to our country or the world in general that come through our response to 9/11 and our military action in Iraq will have happened in SPITE of that man. Of that there is no doubt in my mind.
It seems many things are coming to a close for the Bush regime.