Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like A Coverup, All Through The White House

Each time an allegation of improper conduct by the Bush administration comes to light, I find myself wondering if it will be the one that brings the Bush presidency crashing to the ground. As the story of the destruction of CIA tapes depicting the interrogation of al Qaeda suspects comes into focus, it seems like things may have reached critical mass. The truth is, they should have happened a long time ago.

For those of you keeping score at home, here's a brief recount of the improprieties involving this latest scandal.

1) The interrogations were conducted in secret prisons abroad. This avoided a law that prohibits this kind of treatment of prisoners on U.S. soil.

2) The tapes are reported to depict interrogation techniques that are widely viewed as torture and which violate the Geneva Conventions, specifically Article 3 which prohibits, "Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;" The administration contends that waterboarding does not amount to cruel treatment.

3) In June 2005, U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy ordered the administration to safeguard "all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay."

4) The administration failed to comply on the grounds that the tapes were not made at Guantanamo Bay. However, the existence of CIA secret prisons was not widely known until November of 2005.

Every step of the way, the administration has attempted to justify its egregious behaviour by way of technicality and to date it's gotten away with it. This time, however, things may be different.

As news of the tapes' destruction broke, the administration assumed a defensive position. First Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused to cooperate with Congressional requests for information. Then, the administration warned off both Judge Kennedy and congressional investigators on the grounds that their inquiries would interfere with a joint Justice Department/CIA investigation. Both have decided to continue their investigations.

And, now for your consideration, the tipping point . . .

The New York Times reported today that four senior Bush lawyers including Alberto Gonzales and Harriet Miers participated in discussions between 2003 and 2005 on the destruction of the tapes. The White House had previously denied such extensive conversations.

Sing along kids: "It's beginning to look a lot like a cover-up, all through the White House!"

And if history is any teacher, the public will not stand for a cover-up or even the hint of one. It took down Richard Nixon, it hurt the Reagan Administration and it paralyzed Bill Clinton's presidency. It may well take down George W. Bush, and it's about damn time.


Post a Comment

<< Home