A very good choice by President Bush, and not just because of General Hayden’s obvious competence, but also because the selection again proudly asserts that the NSA program to conduct surveillance of al Qaeda abroad contacting its operatives in this country was not only the right thing to do, it was completely within the law. President Bush is not afraid of this debate. He welcomes it, and he should.
President Bush on Monday chose Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to lead the embattled CIA, re-igniting a debate over the domestic surveillance program that he once ran.
But Russ Feingold plus the fever swamp plus old media does not “a debate” make. Thirty tenured law profs, a few angry bloggers and Barbara Boxer can’t “re-ignite” anything. In fact, the confirmation of General Hayden will again affirm that the NSA program was not only legal but necessary, even as the debate over the nomination once again alerts the American people to the fact that there is a serious party and a silly party when it comes to the war. There are a few serious people in the Democratic Party and MSM, but only a few. The left and the leadership of the Democrats which it controls simply cannot be trusted to wage the war with purpose, with victory as its only end, and with every legal tool at its disposal.
(How’s that censure resolution going, Senator Feingold? Co-sponsors up to four yet?)
Much of the Hayden hearings will probably have to be behind closed doors because of the nature of the NSA program, but the final floor vote will tell us all we need to know about who can be trusted to run a war on a deadly enemy.