Is Bush Just Following Lincoln's Example? This is an interesting new article at the History News Network. In it the author examines, "Does President Bush have the constitutional authority, as he claims, to order the warrantless surveillance of suspected al-Qaida agents in the United States? Yes he does, say some, who point to Abraham Lincoln's suspension of writs of habeas corpus during the Civil War to defend their position. Then and now they argue, the commander-in-chief during wartime has an obligation to place national security above Fourth Amendment safeguards that protect the privacy of the individual."
As a whole, I think thie piece is informative and has good points. But it is a bit unbalanced trying to show that Lincoln was OK but Bush is not. Note this quote, "While Lincoln retained his credibility with Congress and the American people, Bush is diminishing his."
Lincoln maintained his credibility with the American people? Many of them, yes. For half the country though he was a dictator who was illegally waging war on the southern states. Lincoln is seen as good now because he won. If he had failed to preserve the Union, he would be seen as a miserable failure today instead.
The same will be seen in the future of Bush. He has a similar divided opinion from Americans today. If he make progress in the War on Terror, a hundred years from now he will be seen as a good president. If he fails, he will be looked upon as another Franlin Pierce. In the meantime, I expect he will continue to invoke the same war powers that Linclon successfully set as a precendent for Presidents when they are leading a nation at war.