Thursday, July 20, 2006
President Candide & The Schemes of Pangloss
In Voltaire's biting satire of 18th century pretensions, the naive Candide was tutored by an philosopher named Pangloss whose view of the world was so self-contained and sufficient that his name has become synonymous with "self-delusion". Among other theories, Pangloss is most famous for : "...if everything is made for an end, then everything is necessarily for the best end..." By extension, therefore,
"...observe that noses were made to wear spectacles, therefore we have spectacles. Legs were visibly instituted to be breeched, and we have breeches..."
So it might be said of the Panglossian Bush Administration that advises it's Candide-like Commander Extrodinaire.
"...observe that deciders were made to make decisions, therefore we have a decision. Commanders were instituted for times of war, therefore we have war..."
Everthing that fits in service of the president is, by definition, legitimate; anything that does not is illigitimate or unimportant.
On Tuesday, July 18, 2006 Attorney General Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee that President Bush personally blocked a Justice Department investigation of the anti-terror eavesdropping program that intercepts American's international calls and emails. When asked by Senator Arlen Specter why the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) was denied access when "...many other lawyers had access" Gonzales replied:
"The president of the United States made the decision."
See? He's the Decider.
Yet, according to OPR chief Marshall Jarrett, many prosecutors and FBI agents were granted clearance to pursue an investigation into leaks of information that resulted in the program's disclosure in December. Justice Department inspector General Glenn A. Fine and two of his aides were among other department officials who were granted clearances, Jarett said in an April Memo that was released on Tuesday and prompted Specter's questions.
So, if Bush blocked an internal wiretap probe by the OPR, doesn't that mean he obstructed justice?
Justice was clearly obstructed by someone. Gonzales says it's the president.
But the president is the decider.
So it's okay.
The strategy of the Bush White House is clear. Spend 5 years setting precedent for absolute power in the Commander-in-Chief through a War on a Noun and then kick every violation of law up to him. That is what was done in the Plame Affair. No violation of the law occurred because The President declassified the information that was leaked to Judy Miller and Bob Novak by Rove and Libby at the direction of Cheney.
Wiretaps, intercepted email...who knows what-all. When you get caught doing something wrong in this White House--like obstructing justice or lying to congress--kick it upstairs...
...to President Candide.