We often complain about judges and courts. The complaint is usually along the following lines: The courts and its judges are out of touch with America and common sense and need a bucket of ice water poured over their heads to bring them to their senses.

And usually the media is held up as an antidote to this problem. It is the media which focuses a spotlight on the judge who lets a child molester wander the streets freely.

Well, today we turn this conventional wisdom on its head. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed the Bush administration to continue its warrantless wiretapping for now while an appeal goes forward at the usual glacial pace.

A federal judge in Detroit had ruled the Bush wiretapping program, or terrorist surveillance program, was unconstitutional and should stop. Now the Court of Appeals has stopped her, which is good.

Here's where today's lesson gets funky:

Ted Koppel, the celebrated former anchor of "Nightline," wrote an op-ed today saying, in a nutshell, that we should go ahead and let Iran have the nuclear bomb, with the understanding that if nuke terror then occurs we will assume the Iranians supplied the terrorists with the nukes, and we'll incinerate Iran.

I was shocked when I first read Koppel's idea because it seemed so casual, so cavalier about the people who would die from nuke terrorism before we acted to stop a second occurrence.

Koppel's idea, evidently, is that pre-emptive war is such a horrible notion we should be prepared to sacrifice a few thousand — perhaps a few hundred thousand — civilians before we act. This makes some kind of weird sense, unless you or your loved ones are the civilians who will have to be the trip wire that must be crossed before we act.

I realize there is a revulsion at what has gone on in Iraq. It has given pre-emptive war a bad name. But it still shocks me to hear a respected newsperson actually say out loud that hitting the other guy before he hits you is such a bad idea he is willing to accept a mountain of dead fellow citizens before he is willing to countenance force against people who have announced they want to see us disappear.

Ahmadinejad wants Israel wiped off the map. One or two bombs would do it. He says he dreams of the day America would vanish.

If we hear he has the bomb, or will soon, are we really supposed to wait to see if he kills a few hundred thousand of us?

In this case, the celebrated newsman has demonstrated why retirement was a good thing. And the Court of Appeals that has allowed the terrorist surveillance program to continue has demonstrated true wisdom.

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