Balkinization  

Saturday, January 24, 2004

JB

Stonewall on 9/11?

Several people in the blogosphere are upset that the media have given George W. Bush a pass on stories indicating that he was AWOL when he was supposed to be serving in the Texas National Guard.

Quite frankly, I'm much more upset that the press is giving Bush a pass on his repeated attempts to stonewall and derail the investigations of the bipartisan commission on 9/11, and to keep any report that might be critical of the Administration secret until after the November elections.

The story about Bush being AWOL tends to prove only that he's a hypocrite, something which many people already suspected. The stonewalling of the 9/11 commission, however, raises much more serious questions about how democracy is supposed to function. The point of regular elections is to hold government officials accountable for their mistakes. Letting officials hide potentially damaging information about their actions with impunity undercuts the premises of democratic government. Where is the media on this one?

Particularly because the election of 2000 was hotly disputed, Bush's legitimacy as president stems from his ability to rally the country in the wake of 9/11. It would be ironic indeed if that event was caused in part by the negligence of his own officials. The public has a right to know if anything like that is the case, and they have a right to know it before the November elections.




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