More than once I have thought about President Jeb Bartlett on NBC’s drama ‘West Wing’ while reading the morning newspaper. When he offered to be censured by Congress for less than candid answers about his health and MS condition, he told his White House Chief Of Staff that no one in Washington takes the blame for anything anymore. Therefore no one is ever held responsible for anything that goes wrong. As such he stepped up to the front of the line and endured the political punches by doing the right thing on the award winning TV drama.
If only real life at times mimicked television. More often than not when there are serious lapses in judgment in government much finger pointing and commission creating takes place, but little in true accountability ever surfaces. We learn of the mistakes but rarely hear, as Bartlett said, anyone taking any self-blame.
After eight years of deception and lies about the reason that a war was started that claimed well over 4,000 American lives, not to count for the countless hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, there needs to be a reckoning. When the U.S. Constitution is regarded as something to be undermined, rather than followed, it is time for a through and complete investigation. History demands that the deeds done by the Bush White House see the full light of day.
That is the belief of this blogger.
What does former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards say about this matter? Hmmm…….I am not alone in knowing there is a right and wrong, and a need for accounting of the action taken by Bush and Company.
There should be a thorough investigation of the ways in which the current Administration may have disregarded the Constitution (examples: under the Constitution, the suspension of habeas corpus rights — for anybody — is flatly prohibited; the Constitution gives to the Congress, not the Executive, the sole authority to determine the treatment of captives; surveillance of American citizens requires a warrant). But that investigation should — no, must — be carried out not by an independent commission but by the Congress, just as Harry Truman, a Democratic Senator, investigated the War Department in a Democratic Administration and just as a Congress controlled by Democrats investigated the Watergate break-in during a Republican Administration. Party considerations must not trump legislative responsibility. The Congress has the obligation to examine whether laws were broken or new laws are needed. Members of Congress have taken an oath to defend the Constitution. During the Bush Administration, the Congress receded further and further into irrelevancy; it is up to its new members to ensure that it regains its position as the First Branch of government. The original post begins with the wrong premise: the competing forces in this drama are not Republicans and Democrats but the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch and it’s high time that the legislative branch re-established itself as a separate, independent and equal check on the presidency.