Sad news story out of small town Missouri about the Elks Club roof collasping and the injuries and deaths. The building was over 100 years old. The Elks were initiating new members and the Exulted Ruler was one who was killed. I was thinking of my father in law, who was an Elk and a Mason. He reached the highest levels of membership. Every day at lunch time he headed out to the Elks Club to eat lunch with his circle of friends. Every day, it was his week time routine. These social/service clubs are an important ingredient for small towns and cities. Or at least they were in the heyday of my father and my father in law. My parents' generation used these memberships as a form of self-identity. As a rule, my father scorned most club memberships, even going so far as to ask my sisters and me not to join a sorority at college as they were elitist in nature. He was, however, a member of the Kiwanis and used it as a vehicle for community service.
My husband began the process of joining the Elks Club in his hometown when we were newly married as a way of bonding with his father. He joined the lodge in his hometown but wasn't active. My generation hasn't continued on in the tradition of their fathers, as a rule, as many of these lodges are suffering from the lack of new members to keep them operating. I guess we baby boomers tend to go our own way doing community service. Also, I think since we are such a transient society now, many traditional ways of life have suffered the toll.
My father was a Korean War veteran and my father in law was a veteran of World War II. I wonder what they would think of the current debate concerning today's press and the first amendment. The New York Times once again exposed a secret program used in our war against Islamic fanatics hell bent on destroying us and our way of life. Yes, other newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, followed suit. The New York Times, however, was in the lead at breaking the story and it was their reporters. You remember Lichtblau and Risen, don't you? The same pair that won the Pulitizer Prize for exposing the NSA surveillance program to the world. Yeah, thanks again, guys.
Many people were called upon to discourage the New York Times to abandon their plan to run the story. People from both political parties and all kinds of opinions were called upon by the administration to reason with the unreasonable Bill Keller. The co-chairs of the 9/ll commission asked him not to publish the story. Members of the intelligence committees in congress who were briefed on the program asked him not to publish the story. Cabinent members asked him not to publish the story. Keller claims it is the public's right to know that motivated him to ignore these people and go ahead with publishing the story. What an incredibly arrogant man with the sole purpose of moving ahead with his own personal agenda, which is venting hatred towards the current administration.
Over and over again we have been told that dots must be connected in the pursuit of the terrorists. National policy has changed from prosecutorial in nature to preventative actions. This is a good thing and it will take time to fully implement. It's all about taking the fight to the enemy and not allowing threats to thrive in this country. Keller knows the world is watching us and reading our publications but it doesn't matter to him. This is the same man who thinks leakers are entitled to secrecy, just not national security policies. And, yes, I'll say it - in a time of war. When the security of an alleged covert CIA agent, who wasn't covert at all, was in jeopardy in the mind of Mr. Keller's newspaper, well, he was screaming from the rooftop for investigations and a special counsel. The security of American soldiers and the American population? Nevermind.
This letter was published on Power Line's blog from Lt. Tom Cotton in Baghdad. This is what the soldier's think of Bill Keller and his treasonous acts:
Dear Messrs. Keller, Lichtblau & Risen:
Congratulations on disclosing our government's highly classified anti-terrorist-financing program (June 23). I apologize for not writing sooner. But I am a lieutenant in the United States Army and I spent the last four days patrolling one of the more dangerous areas in Iraq. (Alas, operational security and common sense prevent me from even revealing this unclassified location in a private medium like email.)
Unfortunately, as I supervised my soldiers late one night, I heard a booming explosion several miles away. I learned a few hours later that a powerful roadside bomb killed one soldier and severely injured another from my 130-man company. I deeply hope that we can find and kill or capture the terrorists responsible for that bomb. But, of course, these terrorists do not spring from the soil like Plato's guardians. No, they require financing to obtain mortars and artillery shells, priming explosives, wiring and circuitry, not to mention for training and payments to locals willing to emplace bombs in exchange for a few months' salary. As your story states, the program was legal, briefed to Congress, supported in the government and financial industry, and very successful.
Not anymore. You may thnk you have done a public service, but you have gravely endangered the lives of my soldiers and all other soldiers and innocent Iraqis here. Next time I hear that familiar explosion -- or next time I feel it -- I will wonder whether we could have stopped that bomb had you not instructed terrorists how to evade our financial surveillance.
And, by the way, having graduated from Harvard Law and practiced with a federal appellate judge and two Washington law firms before becoming an infantry officer, I am well-versed in the espionage laws relevant to this story and others -- laws you have plainly violated. I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars.
Very truly yours,
"The exposure of this program is disgraceful." - President George W. Bush