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Okay, I've Had It Up To Here

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I have had it with investigations. There was a time I once believed that a Congressional investigation was supposed to determine a wrong-doing, and, if there was sufficient evidence of malfeasance, the issue became a prosecutorial matter and the accused was brought before a court of law, or, in the case of impeachment proceedings, before the House of Representatives to determine if there would be a trial in the Senate. This no longer appears to be the case. The investigations take on a life of their own, accomplish nothing but endless paperwork,serve no purpose, mercifully come to an end, and are quickly forgotten even by our legislators.

But wait. Along comes another investigation, and the same dreary process begins all over again. Actually, something is accomplished. Members of the Senate and House get to score some political points in the press with their holier-than-thou attitudes, ignoring the unalterable fact that real accomplishments are but a surreal dream.

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In terms of frustration shared by many Americans, no one put it better than columnist, Tom Englehardt. He first states, "We've just passed through the CIA assassination flap, already fading from the news after less than two weeks of media attention. Broken in several major newspapers, here's how the story goes: the Agency, evidently under Vice President Dick Cheney's orders, didn't inform Congress that, to assassinate al-Qaeda leaders, it was trying to develop and deploy global death squads." Englehardt admitted that the term, "global death squads," was not exactly the authorized legal terminology, but thought the name fit.
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He then added, "After all, can you honestly tell me that you think often about the CIA torture flap, the CIA-destruction-of-interrogation-video-tapes flap, the what-did-Congress/Nancy Pelosi-really-know-about-torture-methods flap, the Bush-administration-officials-(like-Condi-Rice)-signed-off-on-torture-methods-in-2002-even-before-the-Justice-Department-justified-them flap, the National-Security-Agency-(it-was-far-more-widespread-than-anyone-imagined)-electronic-surveillance flap, the should-the-NSA's-telecom-spies-be-investigated-and-prosecuted-for-engaging-in-illegal-warrantless-wiretapping flap, the should-CIA-torturers-be-investigated-and-prosecuted-for-using-enhanced-interrogation-techniques flap, the Abu-Ghraib-photos-(round-two)-suppression flap, or various versions of the can-they-close-Guantanamo, will-they-keep-detainees-in-prison-forever flaps, among others that have already disappeared into my own personal oblivion file? Every flap its day, evidently. Each flap another problem (again we're told) for a president with an ambitious program who is eager to 'look forward, not backward.'"
Englehardt continued, "Of course, he's not alone. Given the last eight years of disaster piled on catastrophe, who in our American world would want to look backward? The urge to turn the page in this country is palpable, but -- just for a moment -- let's not."

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Weary from all the "flaps," Englehardt omitted the one flap that actually got someone prosecuted, although that "someone" was the wrong "someone," scapegoat, if one prefers, and he was accused of the wrong charge.I refer, of course, to the Valerie Plame "flap." Outing a CIA agent is a federal crime. Someone within the White House did just that, and the usual suspects are Karl Rove and former Vice-President Dick Cheney.Month after dreary month Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald conducted investigations, interviews, and made preparations to find someone guilty of something. He settled on Cheney's chief-of-staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby. On March 6, 2007, Libby was found guilty of obstructing justice, perjury, and lying to investigators. No one was ever charged with outing Plame. President Bush commuted Libby's sentence, and he never spent a day in prison.

The endless investigations that have gone on for years beg a question. What is missing? What is missing is the underlying cause for all these investigations that reminds one of bridges to nowhere. What is missing is an investigation as to whether or not the U.S. invasion of Iraq was illegal. Were our laws broken during the course of events which led to the war in Iraq? Did the U.S. trample on international laws to which we have agreed through various treaties, making such laws the law of the land, according to our Constitution? During the course of the War on Terror, was our Constitution violated? An example of the latter might include the Military Commissions Act, a law that cancels the right of habeas corpus for foreigners accused of terrorism and for both Americans and foreigners who have been designated as "enemy combatants" by the Executive branch. Did the President commit "high crimes and misdemeanors" with the abundant use of signing statements, more than any other President, in which he proclaimed that he would not abide by certain parts of the law he just signed because it was against his better judgment? Many of those signing statements involved, in one form or another, the war in Iraq.

If there had been no war in Iraq, the vast majority of the issues involved in these useless investigations would not have occurred in the first place. Understanding that statement involves a worthy hypothetical. If we had not gone to war with Iraq, it stands to reason that our military resources would not have been diverted from Afghanistan. If we had adhered to the mission in Afghanistan, providing the military resources to accomplish that mission, one can easily theorize that the war in Afghanistan would have been over a long time ago. Al-Qa'ida would have been smashed, bin Laden and al-Zawahiri captured or killed, and the Taliban defeated. Instead, due to depleted military and intelligence units and assets, Al-Qa'ida and the Taliban were allowed to escape to Pakistan where they are tormenting us and Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation, to this day.

Thus, the war in Iraq becomes the egregious blunder. Had it not occurred, many of the issues raised inthe investigations that followed would not have occurred or would be severely minimized. If the hypothesis mentioned above has validity, there would be no investigations today, and the few that did occur solelyas a result of our invasion of Afghanistan would have been over long ago. In view of all this, if the war in Iraq was as a result of an illegal invasion, then common sense dictates that matter should have priority over all others.

It would appear that William Rivers Pitt agrees with me. He states, "Let's investigate. Let's prosecute. Let's clean out the Augean stables of the Bush administration and put things right again. It's not as if the desire to do exactly that isn't already present in the body politic. A majority of Democrats and a whole passel of Americans want to see the crimes and cover-ups of the Bush administration looked into and punished with vigor."

Unfortunately, there might be an equal number of Congressional members who do not want to investigate the legality of the Iraq war. They share the blame, or so one might think. In October 2002, an overwhelming majority of Senators and Representatives voted for a War Powers Resolution that authorized the use of military force in Iraq. What is overlooked by many is there were conditions for use of force in Iraq. The use of force had to comply with U.N. resolutions. The U.S. invasion of Iraq did not comply with any U.N. resolution. Also, before use of force is applied,the President had to present proof to Congress that Iraq endangered the national security of the United States. The Bush administration never provided that proof. They supplied a ton of rhetoric, though.

On May 9, 2003, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, often described as the architect of the war in Iraq, in an interview with Vanity Fair, stated,

"The decision to highlight weapons of mass destruction as the main justification for going to war in Iraq was taken for bureaucratic reasons."Bureaucratic reasons? We did not go to war because the other guy attacked us or his attack was imminent. We went to war for bureaucratic reasons. There are no words.
Iraq's WMD's were a myth created by the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG,formed by the then White House Chief of Staff, Andrew Card.

The group's members included Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove, who chaired the meetings,Bush's former adviser Karen Hughes, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff to the vice president and co-author of the administration's pre-emptive strike policy.WHIG fueled the rumors of Iraq's WMD's, and then fanned the flames as members of theBush White House took to the Sunday talk show circuit.

On Sept. 8, 2002, Judith Miller, a reporter for the New York Times wrote a front-page story for the Times, quoting anonymous officials who said aluminum tubes found in Iraq were to be used as centrifuges. Her report said the "diameter, thickness and other technical specifications"showed that they were "intended as components of centrifuges." She closed her piece by quoting Rice, who said the United States would not sit by and wait to find a smoking gun to prove its case, possibly in the form of "a mushroom cloud." Any guess as to who the "anonymous officials" were? WHIG, of course.

After Miller's piece was published, administration officials pressed their case on Sunday talk shows, using Miller's piece as evidence that Iraq was pursuing a nuclear bomb.Rice's comments on CNN's Late Edition reaffirmed Miller's story. Rice said Saddam Hussein was "actively pursuing a nuclear weapon" and that the tubes - described repeatedly in U.S. intelligence reports as "dual-use" items - were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs ... centrifuge programs."

Cheney, not to be outdone, arrived at NBC's Meet the Press,to announce the aluminum tubes story in the Times was Bible and said "increasingly, we believe the United States will become the target" of an Iraqi atomic bomb. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld chimed in on CBS's Face the Nation and asked viewers to "imagine a September 11th with weapons of mass destruction."
And so on it went during the fall of 2002 and the winter of 2002 and 2003. The Bush administration provided only rhetoric. No proof from experts, no intelligence experts who questioned many of the statements made by Bush administration officials, no photos, no videos, just words. In the meantime, weapons experts in Iraq had found no WMD's, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)disputed Bush administration claims. Turns out, they were right.

In terms of whether or not to investigate the underpinnings of the war in Iraq, I cannot cite any other higher source than President Bush, himself. He stated, "Our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth, and if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable."Uh-huh.

In October 2002, President Bush gave a speech in Cincinnati and spoke about the imminent threat Iraq posed to the U.S. because of Iraq's alleged ties withAl-Qa'ida and its endless supply of chemical and biological weapons. Both assertions were false.

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I am the author of two novels, "The Bode Testament" and "Impeachment." I am also a columnist who keeps a wary eye on other columnists and the failures of the MSM (mainstream media). I was born in Minnesota, and, to this day, I love the Vikings (more...)

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