Why Ari Should Have Resigned in Protest

At the White House today, Ari Fleischer announced that he will resign as press secretary to President Bush effective in July. Ari says he has spent 21 years in government, he never intended to spend the rest of his life in government, he’s recently married and wants to spend some time with his wife, he wants to do some speaking and writing and take it a little easier.

But we wanted to know from Ari, concerned as we are for him as a conscientious human being, whether there was anything about President Bush that rubbed him the wrong way.

This is how it went:

Ari, one of your predecessors, Jerald terHorst, resigned as President Ford’s press secretary, he said, as a matter of conscience — because he couldn’t defend President Ford’s pardon of President Nixon. Is there anything President Bush has done as President, that made you think, even for a moment, that you would resign as a matter of conscience?

Ari Fleischer: No.

Question: Not for a moment.

Fleischer: Not for a moment. Why should there be?

We started to answer the question, but Ari, realizing immediately that he had violated one of his cardinal rules — never ask a question of a reporter to which you don’t know the answer — cut us off — and he segued into a long-winded answer how President Bush is better than sliced bread.

But since he asked, the question, “Why should there be?” and didn’t let us answer, we thought we might try and come up with some of the reasons why, if we were Ari — that is, if we were conservative Republicans who cared about conservatism — we would resign in protest as a matter of conscience.

We would resign because of the slaughter of innocents that can be directly linked to President Bush wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — wars that could have been avoided had the President even listened to his father and his father’s keepers — like Brent Scowcroft and others — to give peace a chance, to not thumb your nose at the international community, to follow the rules of international law.

We would resign because of the President’s failure to crack down on corporate and white collar crime, his abject failure as a conservative Republican to uphold the rule of law and put white collar criminals behind bars.

There is a long history of Republican prosecutors who knew how to do this, including former U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani. But President Bush’s administration has been so infused with corporatists that they have driven the prosecutors to despair.

Take the prosecution of pollution crimes. (By the way, this is not trivial business. According to a book review in yesterday’s New York Times, “Martin Rees, Britain’s Astronomer Royal, a professor at Cambridge University, one of the world’s most brilliant cosmologists and a longtime arms control advocate, gives civilization as we know it only a 50-50 chance of surviving the 21st century.”)

According a report released earlier this month by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), the number of new cases referred by the Environmental Protection Agency for federal prosecution has dropped dramatically during the Bush Administration

“EPA chief Christie Whitman is quietly presiding over the largest enforcement rollback in agency history,” said PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “Field agents say that EPA management is not interested in investigating corporate crime — as a result, the enforcement program is dying from the roots.”

The PEER report found that new criminal pollution cases referred by EPA for federal prosecution are down more than 40 percent since the start of the Bush Administration, new civil pollution referrals are down by more than 25 percent under Bush, and with the drop in new referrals, the number of environmental prosecutions, after initially holding steady, is also beginning to fall.

We would resign because President Bush has become a profligate spender, driving the country into bankruptcy by shoveling billions in taxpayer monies to his buddies in the war industry, with no heed to brazen conflicts of interest so raw that the blistering is beginning to offend even the most conservative of commentators, like Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch, who has called on President Bush’s father to resign as a paid advisor to the Carlyle Group, a multibillion beneficiary of the war build up.

In short, Ari, President Bush’s war policy has killed thousands of innocents, the administration is allocating trillions of dollars to weapons and military spending and tax cuts for the rich, while starving funding for vital social programs and investments in public infrastructure, and while the world looks to the Middle East, federal and state white collar prosecutors are being stripped of their resources, and the corporate and white collar criminals are ravaging the Middle West, and the rest of the homeland.

Reason enough.

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor, and co-director of Essential Action. They are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1999.)


More articles by:

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

March 20, 2019
Elliot Sperber
Empedocles and You and Me 
March 19, 2019
Paul Street
Socialism Curiously Trumps Fascism in U.S. Political Threat Reporting
Jonah Raskin
Guy Standing on Anxiety, Anger and Alienation: an Interview About “The Precariat”
Patrick Cockburn
The Brutal Legacy of Bloody Sunday is a Powerful Warning to Those Hoping to Save Brexit
Robert Fisk
Turning Algeria Into a Necrocracy
John Steppling
Day of Wrath
Robin Philpot
Truth, Freedom and Peace Will Prevail in Rwanda
Victor Grossman
Women Marchers and Absentees
Binoy Kampmark
The Dangers of Values: Brenton Tarrant, Fraser Anning and the Christchurch Shootings
Jeff Sher
Let Big Pharma Build the Wall
Jimmy Centeno
Venezuela Beneath the Skin of Imperialism
Jeffrey Sommers – Christopher Fons
Scott Walker’s Failure, Progressive Wisconsin’s Win: Milwaukee’s 2020 Democratic Party Convention
Steve Early
Time for Change at NewsGuild?
March 18, 2019
Scott Poynting
Terrorism Has No Religion
Ipek S. Burnett
Black Lives on Trial
John Feffer
The World’s Most Dangerous Divide
Paul Cochrane
On the Ground in Venezuela vs. the Media Spectacle
Dean Baker
The Fed and the 3.8 Percent Unemployment Rate
Thomas Knapp
Social Media Companies “Struggle” to Help Censors Keep us in the Dark
Binoy Kampmark
Death in New Zealand: The Christchurch Shootings
Mark Weisbrot
The Reality Behind Trump’s Venezuela Regime Change Coalition
Weekend Edition
March 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Is Ilhan Omar Wrong…About Anything?
Kenn Orphan
Grieving in the Anthropocene
Jeffrey Kaye
On the Death of Guantanamo Detainee 10028
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
In Salinas, Puerto Rico, Vulnerable Americans Are Still Trapped in the Ruins Left by Hurricane Maria
Ben Debney
Christchurch, the White Victim Complex and Savage Capitalism
Eric Draitser
Did Dallas Police and Local Media Collude to Cover Up Terrorist Threats against Journalist Barrett Brown?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Straighten Up and Fly Right
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s $34 Trillion Deficit and Debt Bomb
David Rosen
America’s Puppet: Meet Juan Guaidó
Jason Hirthler
Annexing the Stars: Walcott, Rhodes, and Venezuela
Samantha M. - Angelica Perkins
Our Green New Deal
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s Nightmare Budget
Steven Colatrella
The 18th Brumaire of Just About Everybody: the Rise of Authoritarian Strongmen and How to Prevent and Reverse It
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Riding the Wild Bull of Nuclear Power
Michael K. Smith
Thirty Years Gone: Remembering “Cactus Ed”
Dean Baker
In Praise of Budget Deficits
Howard Lisnoff
Want Your Kids to Make it Big in the World of Elite Education in the U.S.?
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Foreign Policy is Based on Confrontation and Malevolence
John W. Whitehead
Pity the Nation: War Spending is Bankrupting America
Priti Gulati Cox
“Maria! Maria! It Was Maria That Destroyed Us!” The Human Story
Missy Comley Beattie
On Our Knees
Mike Garrity – Carole King
A Landscape Lewis and Clark Would Recognize is Under Threat
Robert Fantina
The Media-Created Front Runners
Tom Clifford
Bloody Sunday and the Charging of Soldier F