Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the censor resolution against President Bush introduced by Senator Russ Feingold. The resolution was directed against the eavesdropping conducted without compliance with the law requiring a court warrant.
In the course of hostile questioning by Republican senators, reference was made to the need to support this wartime president. So, in what sense is this a wartime presidency? Is it the Iraq war? But, hurtful as it is for our troops, this is an occupation turmoil, not a war. Is it the war on terror? Yes, terrorist groups have staged attacks against us and other countries around the world. We must aggressively protect and defend against possible further incidents, but is it wise to consider this as a war? (Using the label of war on terror invites comparison with the war on drugs).
The danger of terrorist attacks may well go on for years and years. In addition to homeland defense, any long term solution lies in the realm of culture, foreign policy, and actions coordinated with other countries of the West. Considering this danger a war runs the risk of claims of presidential wartime powers lasting for decades.
As an aside, it does not seem like wartime in the U.S. Except for sacrifice by members of the armed forces and their families, life here is mostly business as usual. Tax cuts continue, no belt tightening, the mounting deficits to be the burden of our children and grandchildren.