Like many others, I have been deeply troubled by Bush’s breathtaking scorn for our international treaty obligations under the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Conventions. I have also been disturbed by the torture scandals and the violations of US criminal laws at the highest levels of our government they may entail, something I have written about in these pages [see Holtzman, “Torture and Accountability,” July 18/25, 2005]. These concerns have been compounded by growing evidence that the President deliberately misled the country into the war in Iraq. But it wasn’t until the most recent revelations that President Bush directed the wiretapping of hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)–and argued that, as Commander in Chief, he had the right in the interests of national security to override our country’s laws–that I felt the same sinking feeling in my stomach as I did during Watergate.
I doubt this is likely, but the argument that Bush’s conduct is not much different from that of Richard Nixon during the Vietnam War is rather compelling. And unhappy and disturbing.