By Joe Fields
Does anyone really believe that anything will come from
the 9/11 commission hearings? So far we have witnessed a lot
of sound and a little fury, with some finger pointing and
self-righteous indignation thrown in by all of the principal
players. But substance? Hardly.
Given George W. Bush's penchant for squashing and manipulating
investigations, the answer must be a resounding no. These
are strong words, to be sure, yet, in the case of our 43rd
president, numerous examples result in more than mere coincidence.
There has been much speculation by the press and the public
concerning George Bush's private life before he turned the
age of 40. His family and their influential contacts have
done fairly well in sanitizing a number of things, from Dubya's
drinking and drug abuse, and possible cocaine arrest, to his
military record. Never before has a president's life been
shrouded in such secrecy and intrigue.
While Bush's youthful indiscretions may be forgiven by some,
what should not be overlooked - or worse yet, allowed to remain
covered up - are matters concerning his military history,
illegal business practices and illegal conduct while holding
public office. It is precisely these things he seems best
Harken oil is but one example. Not only was Bush guilty
of using his father's influence as president to gain overseas
drilling contracts, he was equally guilty of numerous insider
trading violations. But, as he found himself under investigation
by the SEC, he must have taken comfort in knowing that Poppy
was occupying the White House, SEC chairman Richard Breedon
was George Sr.'s former deputy counsel, and the general counsel,
James Doty, had, at one time, been G.W.'s personal lawyer.
Funny thing; no evidence of any wrongdoing was found.
This lifelong pattern of deceit and cover-up continued as
Bush governed the state of Texas. As governor, he became involved
in yet another scandal which was mysteriously swept under
the rug. SCI, the world's largest funeral home company, was
under investigation by the Texas state commission on funeral
homes (TFSC), for allowing unlicensed people to embalm corpses.
After having donated $45,000 to Governor Bush, ponying up
$100,000 to George Bush Sr.'s presidential library, as well
as paying the elder Bush $70,000 for a speaking engagement,
the head of SCI, Robert Waltrip, felt that it was time for
a favor. Soon after a meeting with Governor Bush, the inquiry
was dropped, and the investigator for the commission was fired,
after all of his findings were confiscated.
And now it appears that this pattern will continue with
the 9/11 commission. It is clearly an investigation that George
Bush didn't want and tried hard to squash. When he couldn't
stop the formation of the commission from happening he decided
to do the next best thing - stack the deck.
The commission's credibility has been tainted from the beginning
by Bush's appointment of Phillip Zelikow as executive director
of the commission. Zelikow had participated in administration
briefings on al Qaeda prior to 9/11, and enjoyed a close working
relationship with Condoleeza Rice. Also, the president's restriction
of information, and his tap dance, regarding his appearance
in front of the commission, insures a whitewash by the administration.
There is something quite telling about a president who is
more interested in holding back information concerning his
administration's intelligence, planning, and readiness to
combat terrorism before 9/11. A president with nothing to
hide might want to demand answers to some embarrassing questions.
A president who claims that terrorism was a top priority might
want to pay heed to his top counterterrorism expert, maybe
even allow him to sit in on a meeting or two.
Unfortunately, it looks like we are in for more of the same.
The whitewasher is once again stuck on the spin cycle.