BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
Bush Cannot Be Allowed to Get Away With What He's Done to America
I'm in total agreement with Obama's sentiment that it's time for America to heal itself and move forward, but I certainly hope he's not so fixated on that sentiment that he allows the Bush/Cheney gang to get away with the damage that they've done to America.
Of course, there are those who are going to insist that we have so many challenges before us that we can't be distracted by engaging in vengeance, but this is not a matter of vengeance, it's a simple matter of governmental housekeeping.
Just as it is necessary to refurbish and restore our national monuments from time to time, it is even more important that our American ideals be maintained in pristine condition. Thus, by allowing the Bush/Cheney administration to get away with what they've done to those ideals, and the damage they've done to America's image around the world, allowing them to walk away with impunity would be the moral equivalent of allowing them to leave graffiti behind on the Statue of Liberty.
It is extremely important to the future of America that we establish once and for all, and without equivocation, that no one is above the law. Without establishing that fact as one of the unequivocal and definitive pillars of the American ideal, every other syllable and comma in our founding documents become meaningless.
The primary reason that we find ourselves in the condition that we're in today, is that we stood by without comment as President Ford short-circuited the law with his pardon of Richard Nixon. That made it just that much easier for Ronald Reagan to thumb his nose at our laws during the Iran/Contra episode, and the allegation that he flooded our inner-cities with drugs in pursuit of his shortsighted and illegal crusade.
Assuming the latter allegation is true, and a congressional investigation into the matter strongly suggests that it is, Ronald Reagan's lawlessness was responsible for wiping out close to an entire generation of inner-city youth, resulting in many of their children in the current generation leading lives of crime, as oppose to being productive members of our society. While Reagan assuaged his conscience in this matter by saying inner-city youth had the option to "just say no," some of the very arms that he traded to Iran during that same episode could very well be the ones killing American troops today–and they couldn't just say no.
Had America maintained its expressed ideal that no one was above the law, Reagan would have been impeached and jailed over that episode, but instead, his legacy has been spun to the point that I recently heard one pundit describe him as "one of America's greatest presidents."
It's time we set the record straight. America is paying a severe price for the luxury of indulging in that kind of hypocrisy, because our rationalization that it's less divisive to move on since the offending rodent can do us no more harm, neglects the fact that there are baby rodents cocooned within the government infrastructure, watching, and being instructed on the impunity of power, and the ease in which the American people can be manipulated.
Both Cheney and Rumsfeld were key players during the Ford administration, and while technically outside the Reagan administration, were key players in what was, literally, a shadow government per Reagan executive order. In a March 2004 Atlantic article entitled "The Armageddon Plan," James Mann wrote the following:
"Rumsfeld and Cheney were principal actors in one of the most highly classified programs of the Reagan Administration. Under it U.S. Officials furtively carried out detailed planning exercises for keeping the federal government running during and after a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The program called for setting aside the legal rules for presidential succession in some circumstances, in favor of a secret procedure for putting in place a new "President" and his staff"–with, yes, Ollie North as "action officer". "The idea was to concentrate on speed, to preserve "continuity of government," and to avoid cumbersome procedures; the speaker of the House, the president pro tempore of the Senate, and the rest of Congress would play a greatly diminished role."
Thus, in their arrogance, these are men who always felt they had a better idea for running America than our founding fathers, and therefore, have no qualms about circumventing the law of the land when THEY feel that it's necessary. So it is incumbent upon us to demonstrate to such men that America is a land where the LAW is supreme, not their own personal vision of what's in America's best interest–and as a part of this effort, we should initiate a constitutional amendment that allows congress to overturn any presidential pardon with a two-thirds majority vote in congress.
George Bush's commutation and literally certain pardon of Lewis "Scooter" Libby is nothing less than a blatant obstruction of justice. If it hadn't been for the fact that Libby was certain he was going to go scot-free, chances are he would have provided evidence to show that Dick Cheney was guilty of treason for the outing of Valerie Plame. That one petty, vindictive, and irresponsible act was not only, and undoubtedly, responsible for the death of individuals operating in defense of America, but may very well result in the sacrifice of additional American lives in the future, due to the needless loss of badly needed intelligence.
Thus, while simply "moving on" may in the short run be the easiest thing to do, recent history has shown that it will undoubtedly come back to bite us in the future. Because the fact is, you can't move away from precedent. If we hadn't moved on after Watergate during the aftermath of the Nixon administration, chances are, we wouldn't have had the excesses of Iran/Contra during the Reagan administration. And if we had prosecuted Reagan to the letter of the law for Iran/Contra, we may have saved close to four thousand American lives, and several hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives in Iraq.
Therefore, this may very well be America's last opportunity to reinstate the rule of law, because if history is indeed instructive, the Bush administration has clearly demonstrated, that IT CAN HAPPEN HERE.
Eric L. Wattree
A moderate is one who embraces truth over ideology, and reason over conflict.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Posted by Eric Wattree at 6:58 AM