Saturday, January 17, 2009

We Can't "Move Forward" Without Truth and Justice

"I don't believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards... My orientation is going to be to move forward."- President-elect Barack Obama

"If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated."- Presidential candidate Barack Obama

"President-elect Obama and I are not sitting thinking about the past... I think we should be looking forward, not backwards."- Vice President-Elect Joe Biden
"If there has been a basis upon which you can pursue someone for a criminal violation, they will be pursued, not out of vengeance, not out of retribution, out of the need to preserve the notion that no one, no attorney general, no president -- no one is above the law."- Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden

I see two options here...

"Split personality: Multiple personality disorder, a neurosis in which the personality becomes dissociated into two or more distinct parts each of which becomes dominant and controls behavior from time to time to the exclusion of the other parts."


I think Biden actually hit the nail on the head when he stated that we need to look into the Bush administration, "not out of vengeance, not out of retribution" but "out of the need to preserve the notion that no one is above the law." Because if we were to apply the logic of their recent statements regarding "moving forward" to murder cases, all murderers would walk free, I mean "sitting thinking about the past" isn't going to bring them back, let's just "look forward as opposed to looking backwards", right?

Even the President-elect's former statement of, "if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated," is ridiculous, IF THERE WERE CRIMES!? This isn't a matter of opinion,
U.S. Congressman John Conyers, Jr wrote a 350 page report detailing the crimes of the Bush Administration, you can read it in its entirety HERE.

As Arianna Huffington, of The Huffington Post, pointed out in her article, Memo to Obama: Moving Forward Doesn't Mean You Can't Also Look Back, Conyers has even proposed a way in which to deal with the content of his report by creating...

"A National Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties -- a DC version of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission created after the fall of apartheid in South Africa. The new Commission would come with subpoena power, a $3 million budget, and the mandate to investigate a host of issues ranging from Guantanamo, to torture, to extraordinary rendition."

On this past anniversary of the September 11th 2001 terror attacks Congressman Dennis Kucinich proposed a similar Commission in regard to the issues surrounding 9/11 with the...

"Establishment of a National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation, which will have the power to compel testimony and gather official documents to reveal to the American people not only the underlying deception which has divided us, but in that process of truth seeking set our nation on a path of reconciliation."

Ironically he titled his webpage speaking of the matter "Remembering 9/11 and Moving Forward."

These two proposals are inescapably intertwined of course, as 9/11 was the foundational event that allowed all of the subsequent abuses. As Steve Watson of the website pointed out...

"Without 9/11 there would be no “war on terror”.

Without 9/11 there would be no “clash of civilizations”

Without 9/11 there would be no war in Afghanistan.

Without 9/11 there would be no war in Iraq.

Without 9/11 there would be no war in Iran.

Without 9/11 there would be no war in… (insert any country classified as part of the “axis of evil” or defined as being “with the terrorists”)

Without 9/11 thousands of U.S. troops would not have been sent to their deaths.

Without 9/11 hundreds of thousands of citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan would not have been sentenced to their deaths.

Without 9/11 there would be no inaction on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Without 9/11 there would be no civilian contractors in Iraq and the scandal that has followed them would have been averted.

Without 9/11 there would be no false military reporting (Pat Tillman, Jessica Lynch), and no crack down on the freedom of the press (banning photographing the returning coffins).

Without 9/11 there would be no Patriot Act.

Without 9/11 there would be no NSA warrantless wiretapping program.

Without 9/11 there would be no Camp Delta and no Camp X-ray at Guantanamo Bay.

Without 9/11 there would be no Military Commissions Act and no coordinated program of extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention and torture of those defined as “enemy combatants”.

Without 9/11 there would be no vast increase in secrecy and complete militarization of intelligence under the newly created office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Without 9/11 there would not be thousands of dead and dying emergency workers who are suffering crippling and fatal respiratory illnesses.

Without 9/11 there would be no vast increase in military and security spending that goes arm in arm with huge cutbacks in other key social programs (such as levees in New Orleans).

Without 9/11 there would have been no total abandonment of fiscal restraint, which has contributed to plunging the nation into an abyss of debt and looks likely to tip the world into a deep recession if not a complete depression.

And on and on and on.

Perhaps most importantly, without 9/11 there would be no “post 9/11 society/mentality”."

In light of all of these points, how can one argue that it is not imperative that before "moving forward" we ensure it is not on a false premise.

The conflicts of interest of the 9/11 Commission alone bring its conclusions into doubt...

Executive Director Philip Zelikow had "deep, lasting ties to several members of both the Bush I and Bush II administrations," co-authored a book with Condoleeza Rice, was a part of the Bush II transition team, participated in White House briefings on al-Qaeda in 2000 and 2001, and sat on Bush's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

According to an unnamed source on the Commission Zelikow was "calling the shots" and "skewing the investigation and running it his own way."
One of the first Commission members Max Cleland even resigned calling the investigation a "white wash."
This in combination with the aftermath of 9/11 as detailed in Conyers' report should be more than enough to raise legitimate suspicion of complicity for any logical person, not to mention the massive list of reasons to doubt the official story, and those pesky things known as facts.

Obama stated that he did not want his "first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve."

Who cares how Republicans perceive him!? He should care more about how WE THE PEOPLE perceive him. At the same time that George W. Bush first dropped to an approval rating of 28 percent a scientific poll found that 61% of historians rate the Bush Presidency the worst ever. And in 2006 a Zogby poll found that 45% of Americans think "congress or an International Tribunal should re-investigate the 9/11 attacks."
Truth and reconciliation commissions as the ones proposed above don't even assign blame! What a perfect middle ground right? Politically safe, and all that jazz, I don't prefer it by a long shot, but I, and many others would settle for it. Granted it goes against the previously mentioned example of murderers walking free, but these are issues that are ongoing and global in scope, partial justice in this case means the saving of many lives through policy change. Professor David Ray Griffin recently voiced his support for such a Commission on the Alex Jones radio show...

The people are on Obama's side, history is already on his side, and the facts are on his side, and in light of all of this, the comparatively politically safe option of truth and reconciliation commissions, is even more so. So, unless those with grave doubts about him are correct, I fail to understand why he fails to understand all of this.
However, I hold hope that a failure to understand is the issue.