Truth and Consequences hearing

On Wednesday, March 4, 2009, Patrick Leahy convened a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the creation of a “Truth and Consequences Commission” to hear the abuses and remedies of the George Bush and Dick Cheney administration. Joining this panel were Thomas Pickering, Ret. Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, John Farmer, F.A.O. Schwarz, David Rivkin and Jeremy Rabkin.

Senators asking questions at the hearing included Patrick Leahy, Arlen Specter, John Cornyn and Sheldon Whitehouse. As was expected there were people picked on the panel to advocate for a Republican position ala David Rivkin. Rivkin is the ubiquitous apologist who appears when the Bush Administration is under question and proceeds to cloud and fog about the relevance of these issues. During the 8 years of the Bush administration, Rivkin and others were keen to arrive and dispel any notion of wrong doing. But he never uses evidence or rational argument to do so. Instead he just acts as if the mere question is ludicrous and often engages in games of semantics. For instance in a debate with William Shultz, Rivkin focuses in on the terms “gulag” and other hot words being used by Shultz instead of dealing with the issues Shultz was raising.

Here’s Partisan Senator John Cornyn going directly to his tool, David Rivkin:

Note that instead of asking about the honorable examination, he places the emphasis on how this would “appear”. Can you imagine a defense attorney using these arguments to exonerate their clients based on the inconvenience of appearance?

Then when asking Vice Adm. Lee Gunn, Cornyn suddenly applauds the “legislation” skills of Congress and emphasizes the “unaccountable” nature of a commission.

In the case of Valerie Plame Rivkin often appeared on shows to be the advocate voice for Scooter Libby and the Cheney ilk, exposing his partisan apologist behavior instead of any sense of objectivity about the merits of the case or accusations leveled against Cheney and Libby. History has proven him to be a partisan now that we have reached the conclusion of the Libby trial.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse responds with vigor and clarity to David Rivkin’s slippery rhetoric.

So, why is it that John Cornyn and others have their convenient tools to come throw wax in the works instead of an honest discussion about transgressions? And will the GOP ever gain credibility for their party by constantly resorting to being the party of “No” instead of a party of principles?

David Rivkin is an embarrassment regarding legal opinion because at best he is a gadfly devil’s advocate no man. Instead of offering a view that is cogent to restoration of integrity or at least appearance of integrity, Rivkin works doubly hard at casting doubt by using “poison the well” argument and thinking. His delivery is filled with contempt and arrogance each time he appears on the scene.

I know many conservatives who are principled and focused beyond any party loyalties. And though we often do not agree on fundamental policy positions they are keenly aware of the need to maintain honor as a nation when engaging in foreign policy. We have to be the good guys, always.

What say you?

One Response to “Truth and Consequences hearing”

  • im4wur Says:

    Excerpts from Retired Vice Admiral Lee Gunn’s testimomy before Congress. March 4th 2009:

    “An independent commission could undertake the task of examining the facts and, in so doing, weigh the true effectiveness of the Bush administration’s torture tactics. Did torture actually uncover actionable intelligence? Did it interrupt plans? And did it actually save lives? If so, what were the countervailing costs to our national security?”

    “Did the use of torture spark terrorist recruitment, increase danger to our troops, and damage U.S. leadership and prestige? And did these costs outweigh the benefits? Might actionable intelligence have also been obtained by the non-coercive methods experienced intelligence interrogators experts recommend and employ? What strategic security gains could be reaped from shifting to a policy of complete, consistent and transparent compliance with human rights norms?”

    “The Bush Administration’s misguided embrace of torture, secret prisons and renditions to torture came at an enormous cost to our American values, our laws, and our counterterrorism efforts. Repairing our reputation as a nation committed to human rights and building a more sustainable framework for national security policy going forward requires a comprehensive examination of the policies and practices that sanctioned torture and abuse.”

    “This Congress and the new Administration have a window of opportunity to conduct an examination that signals to the American people and to the world that the policies of the last seven years were an aberration and that the United States is invested in creating an effective, long-term strategy for counterterrorism and intelligence gathering which adheres to American principles and values and to United States and international law.”

    “The stakes are incredibly high. In the balance hangs the ability of the United States to maintain the integrity of our counterterrorism policy; improve intelligence cooperation with allies; support the human intelligence community in employing proven, effective methods for gathering actionable information; and re-establish the moral authority necessary to restore the United States as a world leader in upholding human rights.”

    (source: )