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Monday, October 25, 2004
Non-policy reason #8: Bush is secretive

Though there are many important issues this election, for some elections we must put the issues aside.  This occurs when a man who is thoroughly unfit for office holds power, and must be removed.  The way we do it in America is by the vote.  Let us work to ensure it will remain so.

This is the non-policy countdown of reasons to vote for Kerry over Bush.  One each day through Election Day.

Reason #10:  Kerry is hard-working, Bush is lazy.
Reason #9:  Bush is careless with his words.

And now...

Reason #8:  Bush is secretive and doesn't respect the public's right to know.

Bush and his Administration have ignored the Freedom of Information Act almost at will, and without consequence.

When the 9/11 report came out, the only large redaction was a total removal of Saudi Arabia's connections to the 9/11 plot and hijackers.  Since the Saudi Royal Family are Bush Family buddies, this amounts to using the U.S. government power of secrecy to reward their cronies.

When Valerie Plame Wilson was reported by conservative journalist Robert Novak to be a covert agent on July 14, 2003, which was done to punish her husband, who had set the record straight "about the Bush Administration's bogus claim that Niger provided uranium to Iraq." (Worse Than Watergate, 171)  There are only a handful of people who would have access to that fact who would have reason to punish Wilson's husband, and all of them are high up in the Bush Administration.  The "investigation" into this act of treason (Bush Sr.'s words to describe the act of a U.S. citizen uncovering a U.S. agent) has been slowed to a crawl, and will have absolutely no chance of moving forward until well after the election, if at all.

Helen Thomas, who has been a White House Correspondent since Kennedy, long was given the distinction of asking the first question at every Presidential press conference.  Bush doesn't allow her to ask any questions at all.  Why?  Because she asks tough questions, of the kind Bush doesn't like.  By similar press punishments, Bush has beaten down the White House Correspondents to the point where they don't bother asking tough questions at all.  Thus, he is protected.

Bush attacks anyone who leaks information to the press, and has people on staff whose job it is to prevent leaks and go after leakers. (Worse Than Watergate, 58-69)

Bush didn't want a 9/11 Commission AT ALL, despite the fact that 9/11 was one of the most blatantly important criminal acts in history, that similar acts of terror had been successfully thwarted by the Clinton Administration, that similar commissions had been started immediately after such events as Pearl Harbor, and that the 9/11 families were clamoring for one.  Bush first didn't want one; then he tried not to fund it; then he tried to stymie it by appointing Henry Kissinger (!) as the Head of the Commission.  Condoleeza Rice hoped to testify without being under oath.  Bush refused to testify under oath, and only testified at all with Dick Cheney, in the White House, with no recordings OR notes taken.  He only allowed it to go forward if it wouldn't point any fingers of blame, and if the report would come out early enough that it wouldn't be anywhere near the election.

Yikes.

While a certain amount of secrecy is necessary to perform certain functions of government, Bush goes way over the line.  His methods of secrecy bear more parallels to authoritarian governments than to Western-style democracies.

John W. Dean, in Worse Than Watergate, goes over some of the dangers and evils of excessive secrecy, and discusses them further than I will here:

Secrecy is undemocratic
Secrecy threatens liberty
Secrecy precludes public accountability
Secrecy alienates
Secrecy negatively affects character
Secrecy is dangerous
Secrecy encourages incompetence

Ah, but will Kerry be any more open?  I think it almost inevitable that he will.  After all, this is the Kerry who, instead of burying his memories of Vietnam when he came home, testified before Congress in the "Winter Soldier" investigation.  Here's a link to that testimony--it's fascinating.

As Senator, Kerry also headed the "Kerry Commission"--an investigation into the Iran-Contra affair, Nicaraguan cocaine trafficking, the Oliver North connection, and so on.  Big deal, you say--that's Reagan and Bush Sr. as targets.  Well, Kerry also uncovered some big Democratic Party donors along the way, and he was urged by many within his party to let it go.  He did the right thing, and proceeded.

So Kerry has shown through tough actions that he believes that sunshine beats secrecy in government.

And that's #8-- Bush is super-secretive, to a dangerous level.

Posted at 02:50 pm by brandonstarr

 

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