No to Al Qaeda surveillance, no to waterboarding. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Point's Memo."
Twenty-eight Democratic senators voted against coerced interrogation of captured terror suspects and warrantless surveillance of overseas phone calls made to suspected terrorist locations. That means that these senators want only Army Field Manual interrogation procedures, which would allow only psychological interrogation, and want to ban immediate listening of terrorist communications. Do you feel safer because of that?
Well, the full Senate voted 68 to 29 to allow the surveillance, but voted down coerced interrogation 51 to 45. President Bush says he'll veto that.
The senators against both these War on Terror tools are the following: Akaka, Durbin, Menendez, Biden, Feingold, Murray, Bingaman, Feinstein, Boxer, Reed, Harkin, Harry Reid, Brown, Kennedy, Kerry, Schumer, Byrd, Stabenow, Cantwell, Klobuchar, Tester, Cardin, Lautenberg, Wyden, Dodd, Leahy, Dorgan, Sanders and Levin.
Now you might notice Clinton and Obama did not vote, because national security is a very touchy issue for a presidential candidate.
As "Talking Points" has stated, the president should have the authority to order waterboarding and other coercive measures in an urgent situation. Site techniques are fine in the long run, but not when possible death is very near.
And in this high-tech world, if U.S. intel cannot zero in on communications immediately, then crucial information will be lost. Everybody knows that. All surveillance should be catalogued and reviewed by a federal judge after the fact, and any abuse of surveillance should be a felony.
But reasonable people understand that fighting fanatical terror killers requires speed and resolve. So why are these senators so opposed?
All of them are liberal thinkers. Some like Durbin and Leahy, very far out there on the left. That group believes the War on Terror has been used to erode your civil liberties. And there is as much danger from overzealous terror warriors as from the terrorists themselves.
Now I believe that point of view. Their point of view is dangerous and is not backed up by the facts. According to Senate testimony, waterboarding has only been used three times since 9/11. And if the government has illegally tapped a U.S. citizen, we don't know about it. It hasn't come to light.
National security will be a major issue in the upcoming presidential race, but all three contenders oppose coerced interrogations. So this time next year, that too will be gone.
But all Americans should think very deeply about the issue and how to defeat an enemy that's been badly damaged by aggressive American action, but not taken out. The left often lives in a theoretical world, but I live in a real world. Winning wars requires discipline and tough action. Pass the word to the left.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
Time now for "Pinheads & Patriots," the battle of the songs. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, locked in a tough campaign duel, as you know. And now supporters of both camps have put out songs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA: It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can. It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed the trail for freedom: Yes, we can. Yes, we can.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (SINGING): Hillary for you and me. Bring back our democracy. This country proud and free. Let's stand up for Hillary. Hillary for you and me. Bring back our democracy. Liberty to shining sea. Everyone for Hillary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Wow! Are those tunes patriotic or pinheady? You make the call this evening. Can't wait for the McCain one.