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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/13/10

If Not Now, When?

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I know -- we're not supposed to "look back but ahead." That's become a virtual bi-partisan mantra.

Republicans don't want to look back because, "back there" is all the stuff that got their party run out of power.

Democrats don't want to look back because they fear it would only make already unpleasant Republicans angry, and making Republicans angry is apparently something Democrats fear more than anything else.

As a result the GW Bush administration has been granted a defacto immunity bath for an 8-year wave of crime, misdeeds and policy disasters. And this blind-eye to the past persists even as we continue suffering the results of those policies, deeds and crimes.

Republicans prefer to frame any attempt to review of Bush-era policies as simply Democrats seeking political cover for their own failures. But, as is their way, the GOP's take on all this turns the argument on its head: Democrats fail, for sure. But, in this case, their failure is a failure to look, their failure to uphold domestic and international laws and the US Constitution and their sworn responsibilities under that constitution

So let me venture ever so boldly into that backward thinking paradigm and ask
again;why the hell isn't Congress ripping into the Bush/Cheney secret energy policies, even though the Gulf of Mexico and the citizens whose lives and livelihoods are being destroyed before their eyes? If not now, when?

A sane person would assume that, with such an enormous disaster on the news every night, those in charge would be interested in finding out precisely what it was that Dick Cheney and the head of BP decided during their secret 2001 meetings:

BP Chief Met With Cheney Task Force
Washington Post Staff Writers"¨Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A White House document shows that executives from big oil companies met with Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001 -- something long suspected by environmentalists but denied as recently as last week by industry officials testifying before Congress...The document, obtained this week by The Washington Post, shows that officials from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met in the White House complex with the Cheney aides who were developing a national energy policy, parts of which became law and parts of which are still being debated.

The president of Shell Oil said his company did not participate "to my knowledge," and the chief of BP America Inc. said he did not know...Chevron was not named in the White House document, but the Government Accountability Office has found that Chevron was one of several companies that "gave detailed energy policy recommendations" to the task force.

In addition, Cheney had a separate meeting with John Browne, BP's chief executive, according to a person familiar with the task force's work; that meeting is not noted in the document. (Full Story)

Congress should drag the pathologically secretive Dick Cheney before a congressional committee, under subpena if necessary and putting that slippery character under oath and demanding answers. Instead congress drags BP in to testify at one of its kabuki dance-like hearings, during which the perps obfuscate to a degree that no one leaves the wiser, while giving professional politicians a televised opportunity to appear concerned and engaged.

Which is why I have no faith or any remaining shred of hope that anyone in the administration or congress is about to do anything like taking a comprehensive and entirely transparent examination of the Bush/Cheney secret energy meetings or the policies that flowed from those meetings. Or determine what role, if any, those meetings and those policies may have played in the environmental disaster unfolding now in the Gulf.

One would think that, if his secret meetings had nothing to do with what's happening in the Gulf now, Dick Cheney would be eager to prove it so, rather than hiding behind the cowardly veil of "executive privilege."

I now believe that our last hope is that some prosecutor in a Gulf State, who has jurisdiction in this matter, empanels a grand jury and starts issuing subpoenas, beginning with Dick Cheney, BP and other oil and gas executives who participated in those secret meetings. Is it just another coincidence, for example, that the energy giant Cheney headed, Halliburton, which paid Cheney $32 million when he left to become VP, is right in the middle of the Gulf oil mess?

Am I asking too much? I mean hell, the Bush/Cheney folks have already gotten away at least one illegal war, torture and fiscal mismanagement on a scale that would have made Hurbert Hoover blush. Are we going to let them get away unsoiled by the colossal Gulf disaster as well?

When will become okay to "look back?"

Just asking.
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Stephen Pizzo has been published everywhere from The New York Times to Mother Jones magazine. His book, Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, was nominated for a Pulitzer.

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