Monday, June 24, 2002

There's a bit of a debate in the blog (wotta fugly word) world about the lack of Senate votes for an independent commission to investigate the 911 intelligence and security lapses. The Media Horse is quite enthusiastically pointing to a Salon column by Smokin' Joe Conason. Eric Alterman does make a point that an independent commission might not be the best thing, given what we learned about the investigation into Iran-Contra and the whitewash that was the Tower Commission.

I can't say as I'm in total agreement with him, though. First of all, it seems likely that the Shrubbery will get what it wants and have the legislative commission meet secretly, which is no way to get anything but a whitewash. But regarding independent commissions from more recent times, the independent commission for the Branch Davidian conflagration headed up by Jack Danforth showed that you can get answers based on the evidence available, and not on wishful conspiracy theories.
Unfortunately, the lesson from these two examples appears to be that for an independent commission to be successful, you need someone whose rectitude is strong enough to annoy members of the Senate. Jack Danforth is definitely of that class, while John Tower would have made a sailor on shore leave blush.

It would seem that the most ideal way would be the open hearings where we could see goodies like Ollie North getting lit up, or Lauch Faircloth imploding. And quite naturally for the wannabe secret police that is the Administration, they'll fight to the death to keep open anything from happening.

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