Created on Thursday, 08 February 2007 08:27
Written by Dave Lindorff
by Dave Lindorff
President Bush makes a big deal out of his alleged "faith." Certainly a part of that faith ought to be speaking and behaving honestly. Just recently, New York Times
columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote a piece saying Vice President Dick Cheney should come clean with the American people by either answering a few questions or resigning. But if coming clean with the American people is required of the vice president, surely it is also required of the president, and Bush too, has a few questions to answer. If failure to answer honestly means Cheney should resign, Bush should be held to at least as high a standard.
Here then are a few of the questions Bush should be compelled to answer:
* Mr. Bush, what was your role in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame? And were you lying to the press and the public when you said you had no idea who did it and wanted a thorough investigation into that leak?
We know that when information was first leaked to Robert Novak disclosing that former ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife Valerie Plame was a CIA undercover agent, you promised a vigorous investigation to find out who had done this treacherous thing. You also promised that whoever did it would be fired. Now we're seeing some evidence in the trial of Scooter Libby--including a handwritten note by Mr. Cheney--which suggests that you knew all about his role and in fact were actively involved in the leak.
* Why did you say to Congress and the American people in the 2003 State of the Union address, just weeks ahead of your invasion of Iraq, that you had just learned from British intelligence that Saddam Hussein had "recently sought" to purchase uranium ore from an African nation?
We know now that the documents in question--the forged Niger letters which purported to be receipts of sale, but which actually contained the faked signatures of officials who had not been part of Niger's government for a decade--were not new at all. In fact they had been presented to you a year and a half earlier by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. We know that you were informed by CIA and State Department intelligence people back then that the documents were fakes. That, of course, is why you didn't go straight to the press and Congress with them back in October of 2001, when you were, reportedly, looking for any excuse to have the U.S. go after Iraq. So a second question in this vein would be:
* Since you clearly were alerted that the documents
were bogus way back in October of 2001, why did you cite them to
Congress and the American public on January 28, 2003, and pretend that
they were new information?
* While we're on the
matter of the war, why did you claim in your official letter to
Congress on March 18, 2003, announcing your intention to attack Iraq,
that you were acting because Iraq posed "a continuing threat" against
the United States" when it posed no immediate threat at all? And why
did you claim the attack was part of "continuing" action against
"international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those
nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed,
or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001,"
when you knew that Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11
attacks, and that Iraq posed no threat to the US?
two justifications for going to war were both absolute lies, weren't
they, and you certainly knew it, didnâ€™t you? You knew the UN inspectors
were saying there were no weapons of mass destruction, and anyhow, you
knew Saddam had no air force and no navy and no long-range rockets, so
he had no delivery systems anyhow, and he was no threat to anybody. And
since not one of the terrorists on those planes was Iraqi, and since
there was no linkage ever demonstrated between Saddam Hussein and the
hijackers or Al Qaeda, the second justification was just as bogus,
Why did you tell the American people, in an address in Buffalo, NY on
April 20, 2004, that "any time you hear the United Stated government
talking about [a wiretap], it requires a court orderâ€? That a
bald-faced lie, wasnâ€™t it?
It was way back in
September, 2001 that you ordered the National Security Agency to start
wiretapping people--thousands of people in fact, or maybe more--without
going to the secret judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
(FISA) court for warrants as required by law. So why did you lie about
this? Don't you have an obligation to be honest with the people of the
United States, or is honesty just another "quaint" relic of an older
time, like the Geneva Convention ban on torture (as your then White
House counsel and now Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez so inelegantly
* While we're on torture, why did you issue an executive order
authorizing the use of torture on captives in the so-called War on
Terror? Do you think that you are above the law?
have claimed that the Geneva Conventions are somehow vague and
ambiguous in their definition of torture, yet the wording of the Third
Geneva Convention on Treatment of Prisoners of War--which was signed by
the U.S. and has the full force of law under our Constitution--would
seem to be anything but ambiguous. It reads: "No physical or mental
torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners
of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners
of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed
to any unpleasant or disadvantgeous treatment of any kind." Where is
the ambiguity there, and how do you square this language with Don
Rumsfeld's instructions about the use of stress positions, etc.?
* Where do you find the authority to ignore acts of Congress with your
"signing statements"? Aren't you simply asserting the power of a
The Constitution seems crystal
clear when its states, in Article I, that "All legislative powers
herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States."
Note that it does not say "some legislative powers," nor is there any
asterisk or footnote attached. It's rather definitive. As for Article
II (that's yours), it says, "the executive power shall be vested in a
President of the United States.â€ Note that it does not say anything
about legislative or judicial powers, which is what you're claiming
with this "unitary executive" stuff. By the way, that raises another
question I think you ought to answer:
* Just what exactly do you think being commander in chief means? Does it mean you don't have to obey the Constitution?
After all, the Constitution, in Article II, only says this about the
title you love to use: "The President shall be commander in chief of
the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the
several states, when called into the actual service of the United
States." That's it. It doesn't say anything about unitary executive
powers. It doesn't say anything about being commander in chief of the
Congress, or of the courts, or of the American people (it doesn't even
say you run the Air Force). Where are you getting this stuff, anyhow?
Finally, while we're coming clean here, sir, how about answering us one more question:
* Are you deliberately trying to destroy the country by running it into
the ground financially and by destroying the military by having it
fight and lose two, or maybe even three wars at once, or has this all
just been ,a string of incredibly bad judgements on your part?
columnist Kristof thinks Cheney should resign if he canâ€™t answer his
questions truthfully. Certainly you should do the same. Honesty is a
Christian virtue--something I'm sure God has mentioned in His
communications to you. Surely you owe the American people some straight
answers. If you can't bring yourself to give them, maybe it's time for
Congress to put impeachment back "on the table."
If you're not willing to give us a "stiff dose of truth," an impeachment panel is the only way we'll get it.