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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mary V. Dearborn’s “Ernest Hemingway”
May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
Leslie Scott
Trump in the Middle East: New Ideas, Old Politics
George Wuerthner
Environmental Groups as Climate Deniers
Pauline Murphy
The Irish Dead: Fighting Fascism in Spain, 1937
Brian Trautman
Veterans on the March
Eric Sommer
Trumps Attack on Social Spending Escalates Long-term Massive Robbery of American Work
Binoy Kampmark
Twenty-Seven Hours: Donald Trump in Israel
Christian Hillegas
Trump’s Islamophobia: the Persistence of Orientalism in Western Rhetoric and Media
Michael J. Sainato
Russiagate: Clintonites Spread the Weiner Conspiracy
Walter Clemens
What the President Could Learn from Our Shih-Tzu Eddie
May 24, 2017
Paul Street
Beyond Neoliberal Identity Politics
Daniel Read
Powder Keg: Manchester Terror Attack Could Lead to Yet Another Resurgence in Nationalist Hate
Robert Fisk
When Peace is a Commodity: Trump in the Middle East
Kenneth Surin
The UK’s Epochal Election
Jeff Berg
Lessons From a Modern Greek Tragedy
Steve Cooper
A Concrete Agenda for Progressives
Michael McKinley
Australia-as-Concierge: the Need for a Change of Occupation
William Hawes
Where Are Your Minds? An Open Letter to Thomas de Maiziere and the CDU
Steve Early
“Corporate Free” Candidates Move Up
Fariborz Saremi
Presidential Elections in Iran and the Outcomes
Dan Bacher
The Dark Heart of California’s Water Politics
Alessandra Bajec
Never Ending Injustice for Pinar Selek
Rob Seimetz
Death By Demigod
Jesse Jackson
Venezuela Needs Helping Hand, Not a Hammer Blow 
Binoy Kampmark
Return to Realpolitik: Trump in Saudi Arabia
Vern Loomis
The NRA: the Dragon in Our Midst
May 23, 2017
John Wight
Manchester Attacks: What Price Hypocrisy?
Patrick Cockburn
A Gathering of Autocrats: Trump Puts US on Sunni Muslim Side of Bitter Sectarian War with Shias
Shamus Cooke
Can Trump Salvage His Presidency in Syria’s War?
Thomas S. Harrington
“Risk”: a Sad Comedown for Laura Poitras
Josh White
Towards the Corbyn Doctrine
Mike Whitney
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team
Jan Oberg
Trump in Riyadh: an Arab NATO Against Syria and Iran
Susan Babbitt
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Rannie Amiri
Al-Awamiya: City of Resistance
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The European Left and the Greek Tragedy
Laura Leigh
This Land is Your Land, Except If You’re a Wild Horse Advocate
Hervé Kempf
Macron, Old World President
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail