Saturday, March 31, 2007

a few dead-tree-items worthy of your attention. . .

while we wait for the next barrage
of public hearings in congress,
i'll point to encouraging evidence
that even the hard-right, old-guard
media is finding the courage to con-
front the multiple disasters that
have defined this bush presidency.

first, from the wall street journal,
a story lauding the courage of a marine.

but -- contrary to our first guess,
this marine is not killing people
securing freedom in iraq, at the moment.
no, this marine is being singled out for
praise by the right-side-business-executives'
paper of record for. . . refusing to
prosecute a terror case almost
certainly built on statements
obtained through torture

this is significant.

very significant. . . not that col.
v. stuart couch refused to prosecute
a torture-tainted (read: violative of
the geneva conventions) gitmo case.
no -- it is significant that at least
the more-principled -- right or left,
will openly praise good people of
conscience who stand up to the rove/
cheney/bush sneer of distain for the
role of the rule of law in our system
of ordered libety -- do take a look:

The Conscience of the Colonel

By Jess Bravin

". . .When the Pentagon needed someone to prosecute a Guantanamo Bay prisoner linked to 9/11, it turned to Lt. Col. V. Stuart Couch. A Marine Corps pilot and veteran prosecutor, Col. Couch brought a personal connection to the job: His old Marine buddy, Michael "Rocks" Horrocks, was co-pilot on United 175, the second plane to strike the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. . .

Col. Couch refused to bring charges against a suspected terrorist because he thought evidence was tainted by torture. The rare case was a wrenching personal challenge for Col. Couch. . . Going forward, these concerns will likely become more prevalent. . ."

we certainly hope so. and we also
certainly hope the journal will begin
to report on them, regularly -- and in detail.

next -- this from friday's editorial
page at the grand old gray lady:

". . .The senators questioning Mr. Sampson pointed to a troubling pattern: many of the fired prosecutors were investigating high-ranking Republicans. He was asked if he was aware that the fired United States attorney in Nevada was investigating a Republican governor, that the fired prosecutor in Arkansas was investigating the Republican governor of Missouri, or that the prosecutor in Arizona was investigating two Republican members of Congress.

Mr. Sampson’s claim that he had only casual knowledge of these highly sensitive investigations was implausible, unless we are to believe that Mr. Gonzales runs a department in which the chief of staff is merely a political hack who has no hand in its substantive work. He added to the suspicions that partisan politics were involved when he made the alarming admission that in the middle of the Scooter Libby investigation, he suggested firing Patrick Fitzgerald, the United States attorney in Chicago who was the special prosecutor in the case.

The administration insists that purge was not about partisan politics. But Mr. Sampson’s alternative explanation was not very credible — that the decision about which of these distinguished prosecutors should be fired was left in the hands of someone as young and inept as Mr. Sampson. If this were an above-board, professional process, it strains credulity that virtually no documents were produced when decisions were made, and that none of his recommendations to Mr. Gonzales were in writing.

It is no wonder that the White House is trying to stop Congress from questioning Mr. Rove, Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel, and other top officials in public, under oath and with a transcript. The more the administration tries to spin the prosecutor purge, the worse it looks. . ."

that is certainly true. and while saturday's
nyt opinion page seemed -- to me -- ill-informed
about why the judiciary committee's decision
to take the statements of the underlings and
peripheral players in the purge scandal might
be a very savvy move (see earier my post, on
that topic), i do agree with the lady's
ultimate punch-line, here:

[Private interviews]". . .must not become a substitute for what this investigation really requires: sworn public testimony under oath by Karl Rove, the presidential adviser; Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel; and everyone else involved. . .

let us hope that this day, and the
day that dick cheney is called to
explain himself, under oath, and at
public hearings, is fast-approaching. . .

keep the pressure on -- write sen.
leahy, and rep. conyers (see right
margin for pictures -- and e-mail
contact addresses) to praise them,
and to offer your continued support
of their valiant efforts to assert
the role of the legislative branch
in keeping its eye on the manifold
unconstitutional excesses of this
particular incarnation of the
executive branch. . .

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