Friday, May 04, 2007

I.G.s, Snow Jobs and More Dubya Talk

Woe is you if you land a plumb appointee job in the Bush administration and decide to take your job and your oath of office more seriously than you take loyalty to the Bush administration. Stuart W. Bowen, Jr., Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, whose investigations of waste and corruption in Iraq have repeatedly embarrassed the Bush administration, is now under investigation himself.

How about them bad apples?

According to James Glanz of the New York Times , both the White House and a spokesman for Congressman Thomas M. Davis (R-Virginia) say the investigations "were not started in retribution for the work undertaken in Iraq by Mr. Bowen." But, Glanz adds…
…the investigations are coming to light just a few months after Mr. Bowen’s office narrowly escaped what amounted to a termination clause tucked away in a large military authorization bill by staff members of another Republican congressman. A bipartisan group of lawmakers later managed to reverse that provision, but the latest action has renewed suspicions that Mr. Bowen--a Republican himself--has come to be seen as a serious political liability by his own party.

The investigation, according to Glanz, "originated with a complaint put together by roughly half a dozen former employees who appear to have left his office on unhappy terms." From whom did Glanz glean this information? "…Several officials familiar with the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is still going on."
Anonymous officials. How convenient. How familiar. Here's testimony from another anonymous source:
One of the former employees who filed the complaint, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of concern that he would face reprisals, agreed that all of those who brought the misconduct accusations had been unhappy with demotions, terminations or other sanctions during their time in the inspector general’s office.

Reprisals? This "former employee" either quit or got canned. What kinds of reprisals is he worried about? The kind that might come about if he doesn't help the Bush administration put a muzzle on Inspector General Bowen?
The investigation of Bowen is being conducted by "…an oversight committee with close links to the White House and by the ranking Republican on the House Government Reform Committee." That ranking Republican would be Thomas M. Davis. Funny thing about Thomas M. Davis. Back in 2004 when he was chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, Davis and his staff knew about the problems at Walter Reed hospital. His staff supposedly made phone and fielded phone calls on the issue, but Davis never pressed other congressional committees or Republican leaders to pass legislation or make money available to address the issue. Why not?

“We are not appropriators," Davis said. "I don’t know what else we could have done. If generals don’t go around and look at the barracks, how do you legislate that?”

Tommy, can you hear this? As members of Congress, especially the House of Representatives, you are appropriators. In fact, you're the only appropriators. And Article I of the Constitution assigns the power "To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces" to the legislature. So how is it you couldn't appropriate money to fix the problems at Walter Reed or pass a law that ordered a general to get up off his duffel bag and look at what was happening across the street from his sumptuous, government provided quarters?

A spokesman for Tom Davis says that politics played no role in the decision to investigate Inspector General Bowen, but one has to cast a skeptical eye at that claim in light of the fact that Bowen is seen as a potential political candidate in Davis's home state of Virginia.

Snow Jobs and Dubya Talk

Don't get the idea, though, that the Bowen investigation will be conducted by a congressional committee. Oh, no. The investigating council is drawn from the executive branch, and its chairman is Clay Johnson III, a longtime friend of one George W. Bush.

But that makes no never mind, as Bush administration mouthpiece Tony Snow tells it. Snow says the council is “an independent investigative organization” that doesn't follow the White House's direction. “The White House has no role in this, zero,” Snow says.

Yeah, right.

Snow also says that the council's investigation is being conducted by inspector generals from throughout the administration, and that Clay Johnson "is not, in fact, involved in the process.”

Clay Johnson is chairman of the council but he's not involved in the process? What in the wide world of sports, arts and sciences?

I once thought that despite its deplorable record over the past six years, I didn't want to see the GOP go completely down the sink for the sake of preserving a two party system. But I've changed my mind. For the foreseeable future, if I have a choice between Bugs Bunny and a Republican, I'm pulling the lever for the wabbit.


Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword.

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