Lies and Criminality About Justice Department
and Georgia -- "So?
By Bernard Weiner, Co-Editor,
The Crisis Papers
August 19, 2008
This is an essay about the consequences of lies and law-breaking
emanating from the top levels of government. We'll get to Russia's Putin
and Georgia's Saakashvili below. First:
How can you tell when the Busheviks in America are telling lies or
trying to hide the truth? One could resort to the old saw "When their
lips are moving," but sometimes these guys inadvertently spill the
beans. Remember Bush's own accidental truth-bomb when he said his role
as president is to "catapult the propaganda"?
And often they just shove the truth in your face and dare you to
For example: Attorney General Mukasey last week said that no indictments
will be filed against Department of Justice employees who, in violation
of the law, used partisan political criteria for hiring and firing.
Mukasey just came right out and said it:
"Not every...violation of the law is a crime."
That's an interesting interpretation of the law. When YOU Democrats do
it, it's definitely a crime, to be punished to the fullest extent of the
law. But when WE Republicans do it, even though it's against the law,
since we're the good guys, we'll just let the matter rest.
OUR GUYS AND YOUR GUYS
Other examples: If Bill Clinton or John Edwards tells a lie about his
secret sexual trysts, we'll destroy those guys and make sure they never
serve in public office again. True, John McCain was having a sexual
affair with a younger woman, his current wife Cindy, while his then-wife
was battling uterine cancer -- but, hey, he's OUR guy, that's old news,
no harm done, nothing to see here just move along, folks.
But all those are examples of lies that have mainly personal
consequences. What about lies that have grave ramifications? Well, the
GOP has an answer to that as well. If OUR guy, George W, tells lies and
hundreds of thousands of people are killed or maimed as a result -- our
troops along with "collateral-damage" Iraqi civilians -- it's no big
deal, get over it, mission accomplished, "victory" will be coming along
any day now.
That's how the hardliners in the CheneyBush administration proceed to do
their dirty work: OK, you caught us out violating the law. What are you
going to do about it? (And, by the way, we'll make sure never to appoint
a special prosecutor to investigate our indiscretions -- never ever --
so suck on that.)
The House issues subpoenas to Administration officials to testify and
produce documents relevant to government business. The officials, acting
on orders from the White House, refuse to appear. A court, citing the
separation of powers established by the founders, backs the House and
says Administration officials are required by law to appear and also
must supply the relevant documents. The officials do neither. The House
writes nasty letters to them. Eventually it cites them for contempt of
Congress. And that's the end of it. There is no move made to have those
law-breakers arrested, charged and tried.
THE BIG SHRUG OF "SO?"
Taking a leaf from Dick Cheney (who responded with "so?" when reminded
that the American public has been overwhelming opposed to his Iraq
war-policy for several years now), the Administration's response to
public anger about the Executive refusing to obey lawful congressional
subpoenas is: "So? Whatcha gonna do about it?"
Since the Democrats wimp out and do nothing that could make any
difference, the upshot of this kind of behavior is that the corrupt,
power-hungry officials in the CheneyBush Administration feel free to do
whatever they want whenever they want because they know they will suffer
no political or legal consequences for so doing.
The one constitutional remedy available to the Legislative branch when
the Executive branch goes out of control like this, impeachment, has
been ruled "off the table" by the Democratic leadership, thus further
enabling the unconstitutional, run-amok behavior of the CheneyBush
"OFF-THE-TABLE" A MISTAKE?
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who issued the "off the table" dictum
prior to the 2006 balloting -- presumably so as not to scare off
potential moderate voters in that midterm election -- now has come up
with more non-sensical excuses not to impeach. Basically, what this
rationale suggests is that:
1. It simply doesn't make sense to enter into such a time- and
energy-draining enterprise as impeachment this late in the game. Obvious
reply: Impeachment could have been initiated two years ago, if Democrats
had been willing to OK a preliminary House hearing on the
Administration's alleged violations of the Constitution. But at the very
least, beginning impeachment hearings now would alert future presidents
that they will be held accountable if they ever overstep their
legitimate authority. By doing nothing, all presidents now have a green
light to violate the Constitution whenever they so choose. This is a
dagger in the heart of democratic, constitutional government.
2. Pelosi now says she'd consider holding impeachment hearings if anyone
can show her compelling evidence of crimes committed by Cheney and Bush.
Apparently, Pelosi didn't catch the Democratic primary debates, where
the issue of impeachment was broached by Dennis Kucinich and Joe Biden.
And it would seem that poor Ms. Pelosi didn't acquaint herself with
Kucinich's list of 35 impeachable offenses committed. Maybe she simply
doesn't read newspapers, or watch television or know how to use the
Google on the internet tubes.
But wait. A third explanation presents itself: That on the most
important issues that might make Cheney and Bush liable for impeachment
and/or criminal prosecution, key Democrats, including Pelosi, were and
are complicit: authorizing the Iraq war and occupation (and continuing
to fund it off the books, as it were), acquiescing to Bush's warrantless
spying on and amassing data about millions of Americans, approving of
retroactive immunity for the giant telecom corporations that broke the
domestic-spying laws, etc etc.
In other words, to accuse the White House of immoral, illegal and
unconstitutional behavior would be to focus attention on their own
similar lapses and potential criminal acts. Hence, the Congressional
Democrats make sure not to look too hard into Administration
McCAIN: GEORGIA ON HIS MIND
There's no way one can even begin to provide a shorthand version of the
Georgia/Russia clash. If anyone tries to tell you that one side is the
victim and the other a monster, don't you believe them. Everyone is
lying,. deceiving, acting on their own power agenda, attempting to use
history to rationalize their actions. There are no simple black
hat/white hat situations in the Caucasus. This is one of those
infinitely tangled Eastern European social/political/economic webs where
everyone is to blame for the death and dying and social dislocations.
And that includes the U.S., which has supported and encouraged Georgia
to bash the nose of their neighboring Russian bear. Saakashvili may have
chosen to believe that Bush Administration had encouraged Georgia to
attack the ethnic-Russian region of South Ossieta. (Oh, by the by, did I
mention -- surprise! -- that there are huge oil reserves in the
Caspian basin, and a vital pipeline across Georgia?)
To McCain and his neo-con supporters, itching to return to the
oh-so-simple proscriptions of the Cold War era, last week's events are
as plain as plain can be: With no provocation, Russia invaded a
sovereign state, peace-loving Georgia, and occupied the country in order
to foment "regime change." (The hypocrisy of Bush leveling these charges
at Russia with a straight face, given his behavior in Iraq, is almost
laughable, especially this line: "Bullying and intimidation are not
acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.")
Therefore, according to McCain and Bush -- and, to a certain extent,
Obama as well -- Russia needs to be confronted for its perfidy in
invading Georgia, which just happens to be a firm ally of Bush's U.S. of
A. (Oh, by the way, McCain's top foreign-policy advisor, Randy
Scheunemann, up until a few months ago worked as a high-priced lobbyist
for the Georgian government, and remains the president of the lobbying
firm that continues to pick up contracts for pushing Georgia's point of
view inside the White House.)
McCAIN: RECKLESS AND DANGEROUS
McCain, who never met a situation that shouldn't be handled with a show
of strength and violence, is displaying his true militarist colors:
shoot first and ask questions later. Show strength, act with
muscularity, go to war if the other guys don't back down.
McCain, as usual, shoots from the lip. In this, he is dangerous and
reckless and, it would seem, increasingly out of his gourd. But that's
the man who could be President in six months, making Bush and Cheney
seem almost reasonable by comparison.
It seems clear that McCain and his neo-con backers feel most comfortable
and energized when there's a military confrontation going on. McCain got
stuck in the. "must-not-give-in-must-show-strength" mode when he was a
POW in North Vietnam, and he's still caught up in that groove, even when
current situations call for other approaches.
And, after watching Barack Obama behaving "presidential" on his recent
world tour -- meeting with foreign leaders, mingling with U.S. troops,
flying around Iraq in a helicopter with General Petraeus, addressing
hundreds of thousands of admirers in Germany, etc. -- McCain felt
insulted, diminished, unable to respond in kind. He was reduced to
visiting a German sausage restaurant in Pennsylvania.
So, offered the gift of an ongoing war in Georgia, McCain decided now it
was his turn to act "presidential" in the foreign-policy field. So he
dispatched his envoys (Lieberman and Graham) to Georgia on a
"fact-finding" mission -- which, if they engage in any kind of
negotiations with the parties there, would be a serious violation of the
Logan Act, which states that only the Executive branch is authorized to
do so. McCain, backed up by the neo-con chorus behind him, is calling,
in essence, for a return to the Cold War against "evil" Russia. He and
Rice and Bush are threatening NATO action against Russia.
THE ORIGIN OF QUAGMIRES
As I write this, a ceasefire of sorts has been worked out by the French,
even though the Russians are continuing to destroy Georgian military
capabilities as they oh-so-slowy depart and/or redeploy to South Ossieta.
(The French, who have street-cred in Europe, were able to arrange the
ceasefire, whereas America under CheneyBush has lost all credibility and
moral stature there, and elsewhere around the globe.)
Initially, McCaine's overheated rhetoric was too much for the
Administration. CheneyBush preferred, at first, to tone down the
bellicose verbiage and tried to cajole and diplomatically lean on the
actual Russian leader, Putin, to alter his policies in Georgia. But
CheneyBush, with few if any creative foreign policy design of their own,
soon adopted the McCain line and spoke of moving U.S. troops into the
key ports and cities of Georgia -- for "delivery of humanitarian aid."
This is throwing gasoline on a smoldering fire, dangerous and reckless
as can be. Defense Secretary Robert Gates had to come out in public and
make clear that the U.S. would take no untoward action.
Now, Bush and Rice and McCain are threatening to send NATO forces to the
area, which potentially could ignite a military response from Russia.
And the Americans are tightening their influence over the Ukraine and
other ex-Soviet satellite states, by promising them entry into NATO as
they sign on to the CheneyBush missile-defense system in Europe.
It never fails: The U.S., anxious to police the world and control
various regions' natural resources, moves into ongoing conflicts outside
its geographical zone of influence and knowledge (Vietnam, Iraq,
Georgia, etc.), doesn't understand the complex local politics and thus
gets sucked into age-old conflicts between warring tribes and factions,
and endlessly repeats the quagmire syndrome: wrong war, wrong place,
McCain, CheneyBush and their neo-con backers are lighting matches in the
explosive situation in Georgia, and elsewhere in Europe (now Russia says
it will target its missiles at U.S ally Poland, since that country has
signed on to Bush's missile-defense system), and thus are risking a
renewed Cold War, and maybe even a hot one, with Russia.
Nobody in their right mind would want to do that. Unless, like McCain
and his neo-con backers, you thrive on war and chaos.
Copyright 2008, by Bernard Weiner
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D., has taught
government & international relations at universities in California and
Washington, worked as a writer/editor at the San Francisco Chronicle for two
decades, and currently serves as co-editor of The Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org).
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