Sunday, October 30, 2005

From the mouths of babes...

..."The reason for not misleading the Congress is a very practical one," said Rep. Richard Cheney, R-Wyo. "It's stupid. It's self-defeating ... Eventually you destroy the president's credibility." ...
-- From a July 20, 1987 Associated Press report on the Iran Contra investigation.

And this, Rep. Richard Cheney (R-Wyoming], vice chairman of the House committee, at the conclusion of public hearings on the Iran-Contra affair, as reported by the AP, August 4, 1987:

...Mr. Chairman, I think it's _ a couple of quick points I would like to make in closing. Questions have been raised about why we had these committees established. I think it was preordained that there would be such an investigation once it became clear the administration was trading arms to Iran. Congress clearly has a legitimate role of oversight in reviewing the conduct of foreign policy by the administration, and the president himself supported these activities and encouraged us to form these select committees.

I also think it's important that credit be given to the president. He's given his complete cooperation and support to our investigation throughout. He's provided administration witnesses without ever claiming executive privilege, provided thousands of pages of documents, classified and unclassified, provided access to his own personal diary, and given these committees and the nation an in-depth look at some of the most sensitive and excruciatingly painful events of his administration....

It takes a strong, confident leader to subject himself and his administration to the very thorough nature of this congressional investigation. And we are here today, concluding the public phase of our hearings, on time, in large part because of the president and his administration.

President Reagan has enjoyed many successes during his more than six years in office, clearly, this was not one of them.

As the president himself has said, mistakes were made...

Clearly, there is plenty of work to be done if Congress is going to equip itself to play a constructive role in the conduct of U.S. _ U.S. foreign policy in the years ahead. And I fervently hope that future presidents will take away from these hearings one important lesson, that no foreign policy can be effective for long without the wholehearted support of the Congress and the American people. It is often easier to develop a policy to be pursued overseas than it is to muster the political support here at home to sustain it. Covert action has its place in the kind of world we live in, but it is no substitute for the kind of effective political leadership that brings around a recalcitrant Congress and persuades the American people of the importance of supporting those who share our faith in democracy.

Text copied from Laura Rozen, who goes on to write:

And ask yourself this. When Congress and the relevant committee leadership knows it's being stonewalled, when it doesn't say a word (until the eve of an investigation's anticipated indictments that could embarrass it), when it doesn't use its Constitutional powers and access to the American public to demand compliance, when it pretends that there's nothing even there to investigate, then who really is at fault? The stonewaller? Or the stonewallee? And would you call the problem stonewalling at all? Or collusion?

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