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If a Fella Won't Let Ya Look, He Must Be Hiding Something
July 20, 2002
By Doug Pibel

Back in March, George W. Bush held a brief press conference with his good friend Vicente Fox, President of Mexico. A reporter asked him to hold forth on Saddam Hussein; he happily took the opportunity to discourse on that evildoer.

Among other things, he said, "And this is a man who refuses to allow us to determine whether or not he still has weapons of mass destruction, which leads me to believe he does."

That's the sort of down-home, pithy logic that so many seem to find endearing. Put another way, "If a fella won't let ya look, he must be hiding something."

Who could argue with that, other than, say, some bleeding-heart criminal defense attorney trying to convince the jury that his client's failure to testify shouldn't be taken as an indication of guilt? As if.

Oh. Also, I guess, Dick Cheney. Who, after all, told the General Accounting Office to take a hike when it asked him to produce the records of his energy task force. "How's a guy to have good deliberations," he asked (and I do paraphrase slightly), "if people are going to be looking over his shoulder?" The GAO allowed as how, for starters, it would just like to know who Cheney met with, and not what they said. Cheney responded with the equivalent of, "What part of ‘no' don't you understand?"

But that, you see, was a matter of principle. The Office of President has been gravely weakened — who might have done that weakening (for instance, a group of partisan hacks seeking to railroad a president out of office) didn't come up for discussion — and Cheney was just trying to get a little spine back in the office. Apparently, the spines of the presidency and vice-presidency are conjoined, so that Cheney's defense of principle on behalf of his actions as vice would just naturally put some calcium back in the principal office as well.

He certainly wasn't hiding anything.

Kenny Boy Lay and Bernie Ebberts might tend to disagree with that bit of Bush logic as well. They've both rested their mighty haunches before Congress and neither could think of a peep to say beyond invoking the Fifth Amendment.

What must George think? Well, obviously, he thinks they've got something to hide.

Let's not forget George W. Bush, while we're at it. Since, as he has told us repeatedly, to the best of his understanding (which, he lately admits, is not perfectly clear), he has nothing to hide, why not throw open the full records of his Harken Oil dealings? How would that go? "And this is a man who refuses to let us determine whether there was anything shady about his business dealings, which leads me to believe there was."

Then there's the United States of America, which, for all of its fear of biological weapons streaming in from all sides, declared the Biological Weapons Convention dead, never to be resurrected. But that was another matter of principle. For one thing, we think all these other countries cheat, and we're not going to sign on to a set of rules if other people are going to cheat. For another (and one does wonder where this falls in the heirarchy of considerations), we're afraid that all these other countries would come in here and steal our proprietary information. Which is a great deal like saying we're building biological weapons, and we don't want anybody else finding out how much or what kind.

Perhaps before we sally forth to war based on George's deductive logic, we should ask him to apply it with equal force to Dick and Kenny Boy and Bernie. We could even ask him to apply the words of his favorite philosopher and see if he's really ready to fling the first stone.

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