Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Who's a Weasel Now?

from the Tuesday, March 30, 2004, New York Times:

"WASHINGTON, March 29 — The chairman and vice chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks said on Monday that they would ask Condoleezza Rice to testify under oath in any future questioning because of discrepancies between her statements and those made in sworn testimony by President Bush's former counterterrorism chief.

"I would like to have her testimony under the penalty of perjury," said the commission's chairman, Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, in comments that reflected the panel's exasperation with the White House and Ms. Rice, the president's national security adviser."

Will Condi risk perjury to attack Richard Clarke? Doesn't look like it, does it. There are numerous precedents that fly in the face of our secretive, stonewalling administration when it comes to tesetifying before independent commissions. The ridiculous "separation of powers" argument is insulting to all Americans and particularly those directly affected by the Bush Administration's actions (or lack thereof) on terrorism.

When the REPUBLICAN chairman of a bi-partisan commission asks for the national security adviser to testify under penalty of perjury, it tells us all a great deal about credibility. That is, the Bush Administration, from top to bottom, has none.

In Bob Woodward's "Bush at War", George W. Bush himself flat out states he did not consider Al Qaeda and terrorism "urgent". Now Clarke must be crucified for saying what? That Al Qaeda was not an urgent priority of the Bush Administration. What did he do wrong? Agree with the President on a point that Bush now desperately wants to go away?

Dr. Condoleezza Rice's refusal to risk perjury speaks volumes. And Bill Frist's call to declassify some of Clarke's testimony solely to "prove" that he has contradicted himself shows pretty clearly that congressional Republicans place the Bush re-election higher on their priority list than anything else--including respecting classified information. But who's surprised? That Valerie Plame was a CIA operative was also classified--and clearly someone in the Bush Administration had no respect for that either. On the other hand, Dick Cheney had secret, closed-door meetings on ENERGY POLICY. What could be more central to the security of the United States and the preservation of the American Way of Life than keeping Dick Cheney's energy policy meetings secret?

Like a carcass left too long in the sun, everything about the Bush Administration's notions of integrity and honesty begins to smell worse and worse. C'mon Condi--take one for the team. You probably wouldn't even do jail time if convicted of perjury.

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