Monday, January 02, 2006

The Need for Oversight

he administration, and their right wing supporters, is trying to portray the NSA wiretap issue as a matter of acting in the interests of national security. Indeed they are now claiming that the President has absolute authority to act in any manner he wishes, with no oversight at all. This position is absurd. As many others have pointed out, it is clearly at odds with the constitution and our values of democracy, freedom, and civil rights. But it is absurd in a more concrete and common sense way. There is no human activity of any sort, in which the outcomes are improved by removing all oversight. Consider your accountant, a home contractor you hire, an employee, a babysitter, or any other field at all. In every case, if you remove all oversight you can predict, with confidence, that you will get disastrous results. Indeed the only reason any of these people would object to you checking up on their performance periodically and that their actions be subject to review is that they know their performance is substandard or incompetent and they don't wish to be caught. And that is clearly what we are seeing with this administration.

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