Mark, no doubt about it that, at the time it passed its resolution, while bodies of murdered Americans were still being pulled from the WTC wreckage, congress would have authorized just about anyting in the war-fighting area if the administration had thought to ask for it — whether it was an easing up of FISA restrictions, express permission to capture and hold enemy combatants, and perhaps any number of things we should have assumed would be subsumed in an authorization to use force.
But Will is a brilliant guy. He must know the spirit of post-9/11 bipartisanship in this country lasted about 10 minutes. Then, the left declared Afghanistan was a “quagmire” and started calling the Ashcroft Justice Department “the American Taliban” (I remember — I was still there at the time.)
What in the world makes him think that a congress that has fought — and now killed — the Patriot Act would have enacted more robust authority for the administration to eavesdrop on Americans? What makes him think the same people who railed at the detention of Hamdi and Padilla as alien combatants would have said — to JOHN ASHCROFT of all people — “sure, let us get you more domestic investigative powers. Anything else we can do to help”?