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Attack of the Living Dead Special Prosecutors

Well, over at Findlaw it's attack of the living dead special prosecutors. Apparently: "If President Bush is truly the square shooter he portrays himself to be, he should appoint a special prosecutor to undertake an investigation."

And that'll happen on a cold day in hell. Even as the body count is ratcheting up, the hew and cry against the war and occupation is pretty much isolated to the frothing-at-the-mouth wing of the Democratic Party. Given that we Republicans drove ourselves near to self-destruction following the banner of the shamelessly salivating Clinton-haters, you would think the opposition would learn.

Oh, and don't bother looking to the article if you're hoping for a well-balanced evaluation of the facts. Yes, there's questions which should be asked, but Dean suggests that Congress was given false statements, and in six out of his eight points then rebuts points in the now-infamous State of the Union with concerns over such great matters as the difference between 'concludes' and 'estimates.' (Nevermind the fact that his sources for 'rebuttal' sat at the far-forgiving end of the spectrum, places like the International Atomic Energy Agency, as opposed to the Institute for Strategic Studies.)

The State of the Union was a speech, and meant to rouse the hearts and minds of the American people, not to be a lawyer's amicus. If there were facts that were 'misleading,' it certainly wouldn't be the first time it was done in war, nor only by Dean's cited Polk. I doubt Dean's prosecution would stand on the merits. But more important than the legal minutiae are the unescapable political facts, what should be called the Clinton Conclusion: the public does not like special prosecutions on subjects which, however illegal the actions investigated, do not go against their ethics.

After Lewinsky, it was impossible to doubt that President Clinton lied in court, but his popularity held because however lawful a prosecution might be, it was ugly. Similarly, it will be impossible to take up this cause without, implicitly, saying that one believes that the world would be better off with Hussein still in power.

Such prosecutions take time, and in that time the Corp of Engineers will have begun to restring the electricity and communications systems; an economy with reasonable fundamentals will begin to turn around; and with any luck a new and more impressive justice system will be in its formative stages. Bush's political career is already balanced on this particularly risky point, and if it fails, a special prosecution will be superfluous--Bush is doomed in his next election anyway.

And if it succeeds? Does Dean (or any sensible Democratic congressman, for that matter) seriously wish to begin a process in which the best witnesses may be former Iraqi citizens who, after testifying as to the haze around any 'fact' coming out of pre-war Iraq, will finish with the inevitable coda of Hussein's brutal treatment of his own people? Against this, does Dean truly wish to begin a debate over whether 'concludes' is misleadingly far from 'estimates?'

But perhaps Bush should merely appoint Dean to be special prosecutor? We already know the crux of his case, and while it will waste time and government resources, any such prosecution stands a good chance of ensuring his re-election. And between John W. Dean and Howard Dean, the Democratic Party might manage to beat the British Labour Party's 'longest suicide note in history,' at least if the length of the Starr report is anything to go by.


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"[T]he hew and cry against the war and occupation is pretty much isolated to the frothing-at-the-mouth wing of the Democratic Party"? My own finger-at-the-pulse-of-public-opinion says you're wrong; there is a quite a bit of grassroots opposition (and it's growing every day)... And as more and more of the sons and daughters of the working class come home in body bags, the opposition to the war (or more accurately, the opposition to the administration's bungling of the "peace") is only going to get stronger... Cheers, Len Cleavelin
We shall certainly see. I certainly don't see that occurring in the Washington Post polls, and I wouldn't trust either of our 'finger on the pule' inclinations, since yours would come seemingly from The Guardian and mine from National Review. But in any event, if the project is seen as a success, I doubt that a special prosecutor would make it seem less so; and if it is not, then prosecutor or no the administration would be doomed. It seems at least risky of the Democrats to take such action.
You know, its easier to take you seriously when you're not in 'Republican Apologist Mode'. The manner of the attacks may annoy your legalistic predelictions but that's not the point, Bush and Blair collectively overstated the intelligence reports they recieved, sent Colin Powell to decieve the UN and took their nations to war on spin and hype. Both should go for this. Of course right now the machine is in reverse. The war in Iraq was pretty much bloodless from the anglo-us point of view and still is but people still say the body count is doing things like 'ratcheting up'. And the US occupations a total balls up. Sure things are getting better but Iraq's half way to being the new Afghanistan and your dreams of a second Japanese reconstruction are fading fast.
Again, we could debate all day over whether the occupation's a ball's up (I'd still say Iraq's in better shape than Japan six months after the occupation began), whether there were lies to the UN (not at issue anyway, at least not for Dean), or to Congress. And Martin, I don't think there was a realistic conduct of the war, or indeed of Bush's administration outside the war, that might convince you that he shouldn't go. Fair enough, you're as partisan as I am. We'll see how it goes at the ballot box, though: I'm not feeling too stressed at the moment. But are you seriously thinking (and remember that 'legalistic predelictions' are sort of what this blog is about) that invoking a special prosecutor is going to harm Bush's electoral chances? It will only succeed if the public is against him on Iraq--and if they are, he's doomed to fail anyway. If they're not, the Democrats should prepare for the kind of humiliation that faced the Republicans when they kept the nation talking for so long about stained dresses and the meaning of 'is.'
God no can't imagine a special prosecutor doing any good at all. I'd rather see Bush taken out with a bravua piece of rhetorical smackdown. Something about sending troops to die to settle a family feud and then cutting their pensions, sick pay and death money. That'd be a good start. If I was Dean I'd even go so far as to hire good Dr H.S. Thomson to hate Bush full time on the offchance it would work as well as it did on Nixon ;-) And no, I don't believe that would work either, I just want to see Hunter blog an election in real time while actively participating in the 'pigs at the trough' school of democracy you lot are perfecting. If I can't get a job maybe Dean'll hire me... M

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