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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/22/21

Is It Finally Time to Overhaul Those Unwritten "Rules of Procedure?"

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We have not had any accountability from either military or civilian authorities since the Vietnam War, certainly not since "W's" senseless attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, attacks on two "tribal conglomerations," neither of which had any real involvement in "9/11." Neither have we had even an ounce of credibility from the FBI or the so-called "Justice" Department. Due to basic, and admittedly, often necessary military code, the many generals deprived of their commands because of legitimate disagreements with apparent homicidal maniacs Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld over initiation of the attack on Afghanistan and the incompetent plan of attack on Iraq designed by, of all people, Karl Rove, kept silent and thousands of their troops eventually paid the price. As a result of their unwelcome honesty, the generals were replaced by more compliant commanders whose hope it was to somehow help mitigate the needless carnage that they were certain would follow. Thus it was that political and greedy economic considerations were deemed far more important by party hacks than the lives of our own soldiers or those of our trusted allies.

After two more presidents and twenty years of sloshing around in the rancid waste excreted by the Junior Bush administration in Afghanistan, perhaps it is finally time for a real investigation into the lack of both military and civilian accountability in our handling of the war. If this is not done by a qualified bipartisan panel, then is there anything to prevent the same exact thing from happening tomorrow or next week? Just as important, the main actors in this tragedy finally need to be outed. Why should Cheney, Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Erik Prince, and so many other carpetbaggers continue to be shielded from investigation? Isn't it much easier to blame a Donald Trump or a Joe Biden twenty years later for the insoluble problems involved in the thankless and frankly impossible task of trying to engineer a clean exit from Afghanistan?

Now, before you decide that the purpose of this article is to throw accelerants on smouldering old wounds, understand that this is not the purpose at all! In fact, the guilt or innocence or even the responsibility for the fiascos in Afghanistan and Iraq are not as important as determining the reasons for the fiascos and, more importantly, why and if there is some justification for the coverup. The reason I say this is because of the recent insurrection engineered by opponents of an apparently duly elected U.S. president and the subsequent well meaning, but largely misdirected investigation into the insurrection. Certainly, the majority of the participants in the fiasco are to be congratulated on their varying degrees of blatant ignorance, stupidity, lawlessness and lack of patriotism. The "64 dollar question," however, is which is worse, to rebel against a seriously tainted election or to cover it up? The reason I say this is not because the election was bogus. Actually, it is the first presidential election that we have had that was actually legitimately vetted. It is also the first presidential election in which the loser did not "follow" the apparent "rules of procedure." No matter how certain a candidate is that he has been cheated, once the election is certified, according to these "rules," apparently the loser is not supposed to complain!

For years, I have criticized Eric Holder, the unfortunate Attorney General involved, ironically, in the non investigation into really serious, proven irregularities in both elections of Junior Bush to the presidency. Butterfly ballots and sloppy counting of votes in the Gore fiasco are a gray area, but Jeb and Katherine Harris knowingly and illegally transferring thousands of innocent likely Democratic voters to the criminal rolls because the rolls contained like or similar names... Nobody, NOBODY, can claim that did not sway the election! The question is why was that not investigated and pursued by Holder and why would Gore concede so readily considering the obvious nature of the evidence?

Then, in 2004, "W" won again in an even more tainted contest as Ohio Secretary of State and Republican State Election Chairman, Ken Blackwell eventually admitted to using his own company's voting machines in the famous "Middleman" scheme in which voting results were transmitted to intermediate servers then sent to Tennessee where they were altered by the vacuous "Swift Boat" clowns in favor of "W." Again, the losing Democratic candidate was silent. This time, however, armed with incontrovertible evidence of a "fixed" election, various counties in Ohio sued the election board. It seems that not only were the exit polls off by almost 14%, but the incompetent "Swiftboaters" had moved more extra votes to "W" than the counties could possibly register! Meanwhile, as the lawsuits began their slow matriculation through the courts, multiple proven allegations of voter fraud and suppression on the part of Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell and his associates were met with derision by Republican legislators. Even the official findings of Representative John Conyers' House Committee, damning as they were, were merely thrown into a suggestion box bearing an amazing resemblance to a trash can! In fact, Karl Rove, "handsome" co-star of the investigation, who didn't feel like showing up, was allowed to toss his subpoena in the same trash can. Due to "W's" ardent cries for executive immunity, Rove never has had to testify about anything, no matter how heinous! And so, things would get worse, much worse.

As a toothless Congress deferred to Jimmy Carter's and James Baker's well meaning election reform package, the lawsuits involving Blackwell, Rove, and cohorts pushed on. However, the news began to focus mainly on the "Middleman" scheme as the other irregularities had come to be accepted by both political parties as "routine" procedure. The Republican IT guru, Michael Connell, responsible for the implementation of the Ohio voter machines and servers scheme, now representing the McCain campaign and almost every other Republican concern, was clearly implicated. At first, he denied all allegations, but the pressure continued to mount. There were rumors that he was about to talk. His lawyer filed an official complaint with the U.S. Attorney General Mukasey against Karl Rove, stating that Rove had threatened Connell and asked for federal protection. Apparently, this was rejected as needless. Then, in 2008, Connell was killed in the crash of his private plane. His blackberry, which his wife insisted contained all of his private files and was always kept in his tote bag, was missing from the otherwise intact bag. Only a cursory 48 hour investigation of the airplane and the case itself was performed by the Eric Holder led Justice Department. Whether Eric Holder or President Obama made the decision to curtail a major investigation into the man's death and its relation to the dubious circumstances of the Ohio election is still unknown at this time. Whether Holder and President Obama felt they were actually protecting executive immunity or covering up a fixed election to preserve the illusion of a smooth and always legal transition between administrations is also unclear.

What is abundantly clear is that the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 were both eventually made to appear as relatively smooth transitions from one administration to another. It is also abundantly clear that neither election was actually constitutionally "legitimate," but still sanctioned by members of Congress and the Court in a combined "coverup" involving both political parties under their "gentlemanly" official "rules of procedure." So, let's see some of the results of these rules. We had twenty years of a needless war in Afghanistan from which we could not extricate ourselves and a similarly needles war in Iraq, costing thousands of innocent American and allies' lives. We had a massive recession and trillions of dollars pilfered from the social security fund. We enabled the massive buildup of the Taliban and for Isis to infiltrate into many countries. Worst of all, we assumed that by covering up our lies and failures, the consequences would simply "go away" as some people would forget and others would conveniently believe they never happened.

Then came a president, an administration and now, perhaps a Republican party, all of whom no longer play by those "rules of procedure." I don't think people understand how fortunate we were that our "insurrection" was carried out by a bunch of blockheads, possibly including corrupt senators and congresspersons who couldn't organize a Halloween party. We are even more fortunate that they chose to violently protest an election that was not fixed! Imagine the consequences of a fixed election scenario! Meanwhile, What if they were not blockheads and they had more ingenuity and the good fortune to have majorities in the House and Senate as they do in a dubious Supreme Court? They would not even have needed violence to mount an insurrection, but could easily have accomplished a "legal," nonviolent "coup."

The real problem is not a simple one to solve. It involves the question of how much executive immunity the president and his associates require and for how long after their administration. It also involves the ability of military and allied commanders to input their objections privately through military channels without severe reprimand as well as having the objections, if not the objectors' identities, discussed publicly in some limited way if there is a national emergency. It means that not only do we need thorough investigation of the people and intelligence agencies involved in the failures of 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the recent insurrection, but also into the obviously fixed elections of the past 20 years. Perhaps the old "rules of procedure" can't be thrown out completely, but they certainly need to be overhauled.

Al Finkelstein

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Dr. Allen Finkelstein, writing since 2006 under the penname “O’finky,” was born in New York, where he attended the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County as a boy. He continued his religious training in South Florida until his family, (more...)

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