4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 19, 2006
e Uan jDadu
Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor
EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890.
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other
signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their author.
Editorial Board Members: Amanda Andrade, Emily Beam,
Jared Goldberg, Theresa Kennelly, Christopher Zbrozek
FROM THE DAILY
Decision to hear NSA case marks welcome change
RYAN JABER JUST MAKFr MU
44I'll do whatever she
wants, and I have no
idea what that is. I
honestly don't know
whether she's going
- Former president Bill Clinton discuss-
ing his role in his wife's possible presidential
bid, as reported Saturday by USA Today.
A COLUMN FROM A MEMBER OF
THE DAILY'S STAFF
More than just 'inconvenient'
The uproar over the Bush Adminis-
tration's domestic-spying program
led this past week to a lawsuit
filed by the American Civil Lib-
erties Union against the National Security
Agency. In an effort to curtail efforts by
the government to obtain phone and other
records without a warrant, the lawsuit is one
of the first against the many new measures
the government initiated since Sept. 11.
The ACLU has an impressive case
against the NSA. Its argument alleges that
the surveillance program violates not only
the fourth amendment to the U.S. Con-
stitution, but also the first. Infringements
upon the fourth amendment's protection
against unreasonable searches and seizures
are obvious. But the ACLU also asserts an
infringement upon the first amendment
because communications across the world
from within the United States are hindered
as a result of the program.
But the suit's grievances don't end there.
The ACLU also claims a violation of the For-
eign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.
Thus, even if any court rules the program
constitutional, it may still be found in viola-
tion of FISA, which allows for limited wire-
tapping by the executive branch. But FISA
allows only for a maximum of 72 hours of
warrantless wiretaps, within which the attor-
ney general must obtain a warrant. NSA's
program of warrantless wiretaps has certain-
ly been functioning for longer than that.
The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern Dis-
trict Court of Michigan, and will be heard
by U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor.
In agreeing to hear the case in the first
place, Judge Taylor has already taken a sig-
nificant step. Previous efforts by both the
Justice Department's Office of Professional
Responsibility and the Federal Communi-
cation Commission to investigate NSA's
policies have been thwarted, supposedly
because the findings would be detrimen-
tal to national security. But Judge Taylor
declined to dismiss this particular case on
similar grounds, perhaps marking a turn of
the tide, where potential violations of civil
liberties may actually be investigated and
heard by the courts.
Until now, the Bush Administration has
not answered the charges levied against
the NSA surveillance program sufficiently.
Instead of debating the charges themselves,
its response has simply been that such a
program is needed due to the war against
terrorism. Not only is such a reply inade-
quate, it's also evidence of this administra-
tion's circular reasoning that works only to
suspend certain civil liberties indefinitely.
The American public understands fully
that there is a war, but we also understand
that we fight this war to protect our liberties
and freedoms, not to lose them to our own
government. This case is an important mile-
stone in this war because it will determine
how far the government can reach into our
lives to fight it. But government attorneys
will likely not argue the ACLU case on its
merits, but rather scold the judge for even
agreeing to hear it in the first place. For a
nation that prides itself on justice, govern-
mental openness and accountability, that's
simply not acceptable. Hopefully, the courts
will send an important message that unmon-
itored violations of Americans' constitution-
al rights cannot go unpunished.
BY IMRAN J. SYED
We are told that ours
is a democracy
where issues win
out. Partisanship and polarity
may invade debate, but they
never dominate it.
Recent years have brought
hollow stature to these sup-
posed truths. Now more
clearly than ever before, we
see that anything, even our nation's beloved democ-
racy, can falter if it is not tended. Our founding
fathers planted seeds that sprouted into a wealthy,
innovative nation, but no matter how grand a tree,
its roots still feed in a soil easily depleted. And
while it would be untruthful to deem the reser-
voir of America's unquenchable passion for social
progress depleted, there is no question that it's now
as bare as our generation has ever experienced.
Nowhere does complacency and negligence
of our esteemed American values hold greater
sway than in regard to global warming. Some
still deem the concept simply a "theory," and for
this there is a sad reason. There was a time when
Americans would question what they were told,
both by their leaders and their media - indeed,
this is why our nation ever came to be in the
first place - but we seem to have entered an era
where the majority believe governmental lies and
deceit are a thing of the past.
But what would our venerable founding fathers
say if we told them we believe global warming
is not a threat because the politicians tell us so?
Surely James Madison would quake at the notion
of an American citizenry that blindly accepts
what politicians say?'
And now for some facts, which are the core,
mantle and crust of Al Gore's documentary "An
Inconvenient Truth." It's easy to dismiss this as
a political film, and, after all, isn't Gore a politi-
cian? Certainly, and that is why we must hold him
accountable for what he says. No one is entitled to
their own facts, and the facts Gore introduces in his
film are not under dispute. It is a fact, for instance,
that of the 936 articles written about global warm-
ing in peer-reviewed scientific journals (the gold
standard for academia), not a single one disputes
the fact that global warming is real and that it is
exacerbated by human activity. So, taking these
articles as an indication, there is a strong consensus
in the scientific community that global warming is
real and human activity is compounding it.
Thus, attempting to discredit global warming
as "only a theory" is about as practical as dis-
missing gravity as simply theory. One hundred
percent of scientists will tell you that if you jump
off a building, gravity will pull you down to a
calamitous crash, but certainly that's only a "the-
ory." There is no way to say with absolute cer-
tainty that the next person to jump won't sprout
wings and fly, but it wouldn't be wise to ignore
that falling-down "theory."
Why, then, do we continue to ignore the "theory"
that says if we continue to burn upeverything that
burns to power our apartment-sized SUVs, we will
generate enough greenhouse gasses to make the plan-
et's temperature hostile to its life-forms? Alas, it's
because we have been told to ignore it - literally.
Though the scientific community may be at
near 100 percent consensus, it's the politically
driven media that creates doubt and confusion
about global warming in the mind of the public.
As the film states, more than 50 percent of news
stories written about global warming purport the
phenomenon as unconfirmed. And we believe it.
Why? Because it's easy to do so.
But consider for a moment the consequences.
The world is not indestructible, and what if what
the "crazy liberals" (not to mention scientists) say
about global warming is indeed true? Is it worth
doing nothing simply because it's easy, cheap and
popular? It's certainly not the American thing to
do. But again, Gore is a politician (possibly gear-
ing up for a presidential run), so we can't take
everything he says as a given; it's our duty to scru-
tinize it and derive its credibility.
That's what I attempted to do. There is near-
absolute consensus among film critics that the
film is a success (see page 10 for that side of the
story), but that doesn't prove the point. Wouldn't
it be best if we could have scientists evaluate the
film from a scientific perspective?
After some snooping around, I came upon
www.realclimate.org, a leading environmen-
tal website run by climate scientists. They did
find minor inaccuracies in Gore's film, but
concluded: "For the most part ... Gore gets the
science right ... The small errors don't detract
from Gore's main point, which is that we in the
United States have the technological and institu-
tional ability to have a significant impact on the
future trajectory of climate change."
So remember, we as American citizens have
the responsibility to question what the politicians
tell us, and so we must question Gore, too. But if
we learn that global warming is a danger, then
it's just as incumbent upon.us to take action by
holding accountable those other politicians who
play down the issue.
Be us liberals or conservatives, the science
is on Gore's side. It's immoral and a dereliction
of our duty as American citizens to stand aside
and not take action.
Syed is the current editorial page editor.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LIVE ON YOUR FEETJJORI OQUL T
WE WOULD LIKE TO SHUT DOWN EXCUSE ME MS. RICE, I HAVE A STOP CLAIMING THAT THEY ARE U1.DID i MENTION THAT
THE PRISON ING 50 TAsOME O REUESWOULDN'T IT MAKE MAJORU SCERIT ATonR R OTEY ARE REALLY DANGEROUS?
B"~.,. A, BTSMEMRESN B O UT BOWS IHUTOFRIGAYPROOF, -
OF TOE CAMP X-RAY, GE THE AND SEGIN UPHOLDING THE
PRISONR R HLI COSTITTION, THEREBY
GEROS THERE U EPROCESS DEMO RATI HAT AMERICAN
TO OE RELEA5E. OF LAW. JUSTICE IS THE MOST LAUDABLE
AND FREE FORM OF JUSTICE IN