Despite admitting that the National Security “vacuums up information about virtually every telephone call to, from, or within the United States,” William Pauley, a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, decreed last week that the NSA’s dragnet approach is constitutional because, well, he believes that it is necessary. As William Pitt the Younger observed, “necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”
As this issue goes to publication, we hear reports of Russian troops crossing into Ukraine. There will no doubt be complaints from the traditional opponents of President Obama that he is “soft” and that the “lessons from history” indicate that decisive U.S. force is urgently required. We are neither historians nor military strategists. But we do understand the historical connection between war and the growth of government. When once the dogs of war are unleashed, it is very difficult to bring them to heel.