Thursday, July 25, 2013


The Wall Street Journal editorial page attacks the House bill intended to curb the NSA's collection of phone metadata (which failed in a close 205-217 vote) by going after its principal sponsors, libertarian Republican Justin Amash and Democrat John Conyers:
Mr. Amash has no experience on the Armed Services, Intelligence or Foreign Affairs committees, but he nonetheless claims to know that his amendment wouldn't hurt U.S. security. He's teaming up with Michigan Democrat John Conyers and other anti-antiterror liberals who want the U.S. to return to a pre-9/11 mindset of treating terrorists like street burglars.

A better guide to reality are those who have had experience defending the country.
Well, it's true that Amash has never worn the uniform, but Conyers? Um, he has a bit of "experience defending the country," given that he was actually in the Korean War. In fact, he served in the Michigan National Guard from 1948 to 1950, in the Army from 1950 to 1954, and in and the Army Reserves from 1954 to 1957. He acknowledges that he was not on the front lines in Korea -- he was part of the Army Corps of Engineers, and worked on repairing aircraft -- but, um, he served in a war.

Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot? He never served.

Journal deputy editorial page editor Daniel Henninger? He never served.

And I cross-checked the roll call vote on this bill against the list of miltary veterans in the House: 38 out of 81 veterans who voted supported a curb on the NSA. So the vote among veterans was pretty close to the vote among non-veterans.

(And I have to say it's disappointing to see the likes of Tammy Duckworth voting to retain the status quo while Louis Gohmert -- yes, he's an Army vet -- voted to rein the NSA in.)

Now, I've had harsh things to say about Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald, mostly because I thought their revelations would weaken the president (and thus strengthen the hand of Republican nihilists) without weakening the national security state. But this vote suggests that what Snowden and Greenwald did might have a positive effect. I guess it's the obnoxious, self-important squeaky wheel that gets the grease.


Victor said...

"I guess it's the obnoxious, self-important squeaky wheel that gets the grease."

Truer words have not been written.

Continuum said...

I'm always amazed that people believe that wearing the uniform automatically makes you an expert on all military affairs. I fail to understand how shooting a rife some how changes your brain and makes you an expert on military spying. Certainly we should honor those who put their lives on the line in war, but that doesn't automatically confer upon them any magical understanding of war strategies, spying, logistics, or much of anything else.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Gigot is the loon who famously gushed, back in the day, that Newt Gingrich was always "the smartest man in the room."

Victor said...

Newt was, when there were only the two of them in that room.

paulocanning said...


The vote would also have enshrined Gitmo now and forever. This seems to have been ignored - one wonders why?

Bob Cesca has been (amongst others) excellent on Greenwald. I despair of any progs falling for this libertarian shtick. It is not about anti-Obama, it is about anti-gov.

Gov needs accountability. This vote wasn't about that but gestures to tinfoilers and Jeffersonians provoked by a serial grandstanding, Barnum level grandstanding, libertarian.

Greenwald/Snowden's entire project is to blow up the Dems/Obama. I would have thought this was obvious,no?