FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Put Bush and Cheney Under Oath

by DAVID VEST

So the White House has finally, reluctantly, grudgingly agreed that national security adviser Condoleezza Rice will testify in public and under oath before the 9/11 Commission.

John Lehman, a Republican panel member, says that it is important for Rice to testify under oath because “like the prospect of hanging, being sworn concentrates the mind.”

Fine. But at the same time we learned that President Bush and Vice-President Cheney have cut a deal to “meet with the commissioners” together. They will most certainly not “testify.” They will not be under oath. Their minds will not be concentrated on anything but their talking points, and Cheney will be there to finish Bush’s sentences whenever he stumbles. As they “correct each other’s memories,” their executive jointedness will be neither filmed nor recorded, although details are almost certain to leak quicker than air from a bullet-riddled tire.

This is the whole ball game, people: to get Bush and Cheney into a situation where they have to raise their right hands and swear to tell the truth.

It is the one situation both Bush and Cheney must avoid at all cost in order to survive. Getting the commission to agree to meet with them in private, and not in public, on their terms, was the key point scored by the administration in the Condi Rice negotiations.

That is why it is important to demand now, and loudly, that they must testify, not condescend to merely “visit” with the commission, that they answer questions under penalty of perjury, and before the cameras.

Only then would it become fully apparent why God gave us Richard Ben-Veniste.

Never mind all the blather about how presidents don’t “do” that sort of thing. Condi not testifying was a matter of constitutional principle, too, they said — before they looked out the window and saw the peasants coming with their pitchforks and torches.

24 hours before they capitulated, they had been working the phones, cutting deals, trying to prevent other Republicans from escaping into sanity and force them to support the White House in clinging to “executive privilege.”

They had no luck.

These people took this country into war on false pretenses. The damage caused by their decisions may not be repaired a hundred years from now. Hundred of U.S. soldiers are dead, thousands maimed. Some 8-10,000 Iraqi civilians (and who knows how many Iraqi soldiers) have perished, by common estimates. Saddam Hussein is still alive and “may be having fun,” according to news reports. Osama bin Laden is still at large, and even if he were to be caught or killed, al-Qaeda has metastasized into something far more dangerous while Bush and Halliburton clanked around in Iraq. Our standing in the world is at an all-time low.

Furthermore, there is very real concern that the U.S., despite all its power, is at serious risk of losing this war on terrorism.

If this country cannot demand an accounting from its elected leadership under these desperate circumstances, when could it, pray tell?

Bush did not take questions in announcing that the White House was reversing itself on allowing Rice to testify. He does not want to take them ever again, in any environment he cannot control. (He is no fool: consider the fact that he has never allowed himself to be filmed or recorded even saying the word “cocaine.”) He is well aware that Clinton’s near-fatal error was allowing himself to be maneuvered into giving a sworn deposition, where he could be blind-sided with the sex questions.

Bush is never going to volunteer to hold himself accountable. If he were capable of that, he would have long since apologized to the country for allowing 9/11 to happen on his watch.

That is why we need to start demanding that he raise that right hand, whether he wants to or not. With the whole world watching.

DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, just released a scorching new CD, Way Down Here.

He can be reached at: davidvest@springmail.com

Visit his website at http://www.rebelangel.com

 

DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, have just released a scorching new CD, Serve Me Right to Shuffle. His essay on Tammy Wynette is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on art, music and sex, Serpents in the Garden.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Burkinis: the Politics of Beachwear
Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail