Constructive Anger Is a Positive Force
I happened to watch the DVD movie of the film, “Bobby”, today, and I remembered where I was in 1968 when he was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan in the first instance of a major Islamic terrorist act against this country that I know of (not counting the Barbary pirates and overseas mischief). I remember being in Times Square and learning of the horrible act from reading the news billboard, and I remember how angry I was, even though I was not a Kennedy supporter. I was angry, not only because a person very familiar to me had been cruelly murdered, but because the assassination of a presidential candidate was a direct blow against my country. For many years I think most of us have assumed that Sirhan Sirhan was just a crazy person; but now we know he had the same kind of craziness that possessed the suicide bombers to explode those airplanes on 9/11. I will NEVER get over the anger I feel towards the Islamic terrorists for their murderous acts against Americans over the years.
When the “Flying Imams” pulled their stunt on US Airways flight 300 to Phoenix on November 20, 2006, and, with CAIR’s support, escalated the taunting charade by suing the airline and some of the passengers who felt threatened by them, I felt some anger at them, and at the multiculturalists who blindly supported them - and at CAIR for giving us one more reason to believe they (CAIR) are unhelpful at best – and have terrorist links at worst.
When the New York Times revealed the existence of one of our nation’s most important secrets, a surveillance program that prevented the plot to blow up 10 trans-Atlantic jet planes loaded with Americans and others, from succeeding, - a program that also helped uncover several other plots by Islamic terrorists to do great harm – I also became angry because it wasn’t the first instance of this kind of behavior by the Times. Revealing the existence of this program, which had been vetted with members of Congress, has undoubtedly caused terrorists to change their methods of communications. How many people will be killed because of this irresponsible and treasonous act by the Times will never be known.
Now I am also angry at the unbelievable irresponsibility of the Democrat Congress that just wasted time investigating steroid use in baseball while letting the extremely important FISA act expire. This is a statement that President Bush made just before Congress gave Republicans a major issue next fall by doing something unfathomable:
“Good afternoon. This Saturday at midnight, legislation authorizing intelligence professionals to quickly and effectively monitor terrorist communications will expire. If Congress does not act by that time, our ability to find out who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they are planning will be compromised. It would be a mistake if the Congress were to allow this to happen.
Members of Congress knew all along that this deadline was approaching. They said it themselves. They've had more than six months to discuss and deliberate. And now they must act, and pass legislation that will ensure our intelligence professionals have the tools they need to keep us safe.
Earlier this week the Senate did act, and passed a strong bill, and did so with a bipartisan majority. The Senate bill will ensure that we can effectively monitor those seeking to harm our people. The Senate bill will provide fair and just liability protection for companies that assisted in the efforts to protect America after the attacks of September the 11th. Without this protection, without this liability shield, we may not be able to secure the private sector's cooperation with our intelligence efforts. And that, of course, would put the American people at risk.
Now it's the House's turn to act. It is clear that the Senate bill would pass the House with bipartisan support. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate can put partisanship aside, and pass a good bill. There's no reason why the House cannot do the same, and pass the Senate bill immediately.
Our government has no greater responsibility than getting this work done, and there really is no excuse for letting this critical legislation expire. I urge congressional leaders to let the will of the House and the American people prevail, and vote on the Senate bill before adjourning for their recess. Failure to act would harm our ability to monitor new terrorist activities, and could reopen dangerous gaps in our intelligence.
Failure to act would also make the private sector less willing to help us protect the country, and this is unacceptable. The House should not leave Washington without passing the Senate bill.
I am scheduled to leave tomorrow for a long-planned trip to five African nations. Moments ago, my staff informed the House leadership that I'm prepared to delay my departure, and stay in Washington with them, if it will help them complete their work on this critical bill.
The lives of countless Americans depend on our ability to monitor terrorist communications. Our intelligence professionals are working day and night to keep us safe, and they're waiting to see whether Congress will give them the tools they need to succeed or tie their hands by failing to act. The American people are watching this debate, as well. They expect Congress to meet its responsibilities before they leave town on a recess.
Before leaving, he took this question:
Q Mr. President, I realize this is a sensitive matter, but I'm wondering if there's a way you can spell out for the American public what the practical impact may be, if this law expires, on our intelligence professionals, say, next week.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I hope it doesn't. But clearly, there will be a gap. And of course, we won't be able to assess that gap until the time. Step one is, I guess you got to come to the conclusion that there's a threat to America, or not a threat. And evidently some people just don't feel that sense of urgency. I do. And the reason I do is I firmly believe that there's still people out there who would do us harm.
Secondly, I know that the tools that I've just described are necessary to protect us. Why? Because we need to know what people are saying, what they're planning and what they're thinking. And the tool that I have just described has been very effective.
Thirdly, people are wondering why companies need liability protection. Well, if you cooperate with the government and then get sued for billions of dollars because of the cooperation, you're less likely to cooperate. And obviously we're going to need people working with us to find out what the enemy is saying and thinking and plotting and planning.
And so it's a -- to me it's a -- I guess one way to look at it is, some may not feel that same sense of urgency I do. I heard somebody say, well, this is just pure politics. No, this is what is necessary to protect the American people from harm. And I recognize there hasn't been an attack on our country, but that does not mean that there's not still an enemy that lurks, plans and plots.
And one of the reasons we've been effective is because we put new tools in place that give our professionals that which is necessary to protect us. This is a different kind of threat than we've ever faced before, it's a different kind of war that we're fighting, and it requires a different approach.
Again, I'll repeat to you that the Congress took a look at this issue and decided that the tools were necessary to give to our professionals last -- late last summer. And if it was necessary late last summer, why is it not necessary today? What has changed? Well, the threat hasn't gone away. It's still there, it's still real, and we better be worried about it as a nation. And the House has now got time to go out and get the deal done.
Yesterday -- a couple of days -- votes ago in the Senate made it abundantly clear that Republicans and Democrats can come together and put a good piece of legislation together and get it passed. And the House leadership has an opportunity to do that now.”
Constructive anger is a necessary and positive force; it makes you want to do something about some of the evils in the world. Publishing this weblog and political activism are my somethings.