Press Releases and Statements
New Watergate Soaks White House
By Carolyn Eisenberg
October 7, 2003
As alarming evidence of the Bush administration's mendacity began to surface this summer, there came an odd voice from the past. In a public television documentary marking the 30th anniversary of the Senate Watergate hearings, President Richard Nixon's White House operative Jeb Stuart Magruder confessed to hearing Nixon order the break-in of the Democratic headquarters.
Few Americans under the age of 50 will recognize his name. But in the distant summer of 1973, millions of people were glued to their TV sets, watching Magruder and his colleagues testify before Congress. Would these Nixon stalwarts incriminate their boss? And would they answer the riveting question: "What did the president know and when did he know it?"
Today's Congress is avoiding this kind of tough inquiry. Two weeks ago
They evaded the more fundamental question of whether members of the Bush administration engaged in fraud. So far congressional Republicans have blocked a full-scale investigation, while the Democrats are quiescent.
As presidents, the famously proactive Nixon and the notoriously inattentive
Bush have little in common. Nevertheless, the Watergate experience has
Nixon's transgressions originated in the Vietnam War. Once he decided
Viewing this dissent as "disloyalty," Nixon and Kissinger developed the habit of breaching normal governmental procedures: wire-tapping their own subordinates, doctoring classified documents, deceiving cabinet members and violating the military chain of command. Eventually their preoccupation with "leaks" produced the plumbers and precipitated the chain of events that led to the Watergate burglary.
In the George W. Bush administration, the usurpation of power has been
It took four years before Nixon and Kissinger abandoned their incoherent
Vietnam strategy. By then almost 20,000 more American soldiers were dead,
It is the same disdain for inconvenient facts, which characterized the Cheney-Rumsfeld drive to war, that currently underpins the failure of the occupation. Having marginalized their own Middle East specialists and those military people who had experience of nation-building, they indulged a fantasy of a euphoric liberation. For that illusion our youngsters in uniform are dying almost every day.
Before their suffering and that of Iraqi civilians overwhelms our nation,
The new euphemism is that Bush officials made "selective use"
If Jeb Magruder is telling the truth, we can finally put to rest the old Watergate mystery: "What did the president know and when did he know it?" As for Bush, the public has a right to learn whether he participated in a hoax or was simply the first dupe.
That can help us determine whether he should be impeached or simply retired at the next election. In either case, it is time for Congress to step up to its constitutional responsibility. Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.