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Netting Dolphins Along with Tuna

02.21.2006 06:26 | DISPATCHES

A Zogby poll taken in early January revealed that 52% of Americans would like to see Congress weigh impeaching President Bush for authorizing NSA spying without a warrant.

Like all polls, it comes with a margin of error, in this case, plus or minus 2.9 percent. I'm sure I'm not the first to suggest this. But shouldn't polls also make allowances for respondents who answer the way they think they should instead of how they really feel?

In other words, presumably because they don't hear clicks on their phones and no one is showing up at their door in the middle of the night to spirit them away, much of the public has failed to internalize warrantless spying. After all, the NSA, which they never even heard of until now, isn't the KGB, is it?

Besides, why worry if you haven't done anything? Talk about margins of error -- as with the American justice system, the public consoles itself with the myth that the innocent are rarely apprehended. It extends this line of thinking to torture, to which entertainment like 24 helps the public become accustomed.

Illegal spying and torture have something in common -- how wide intelligence agencies cast their nets. Not only that, they're reluctant to throw back any of their catch, no matter how lacking in value. In other words, they have no qualms about stowing the dolphins they're just as likely to net as the tuna.


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