Youâ€™ve got to be kidding?
And just when you though it couldnâ€™t get any more Orwellian Henry Kissinger is named chairman of the â€œindependentâ€ commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Whatâ€™s next? Pete Rose being named chairman of a blue ribbon committee to investigate gambling in professional sports? Or how about Oliver North being appointed as head of a federal probe into the illegal arms trade?
At this point I wouldnâ€™t be surprised if the Bush administration appointed OJ Simpson chairman of a new national task force on domestic violence, given No. 43â€™s post-9/11 concern for womenâ€™s lib, especially in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. (The Marines are now fighting the feminist cause?)
My mother used to tell me: â€œSean, sometimes perception is everything.â€ Iâ€™m sure former Securities Exchange Commission chairman Harvey Pitt can relate.
Pitt resigned his chairmanship last month, realizing that with his record of meeting with the heads of companies under SEC investigation and with his close ties to the accounting industry at a time when the SEC is supposed to be cracking down on corporate accounting fraud, it was best that he step aside.
In a letter to President Bush, Pitt said he was resigning because of the â€œthe turmoil surrounding my chairmanship...Rather than be a burden to you or the agency, I feel it is in everyoneâ€™s best interest if I step aside now to allow the agency to continue the important efforts we have started.â€
Will Kissinger follow suit? Even though his international consulting firm client list has not been made public, â€œreports have been widely circulated that it includes Persian Gulf states, oil companies, and transportation firms,â€ the Boston Globe reported.
The Globe also reported the reaction to Kissingerâ€™s appointment by National Security Archive founder and former staff member of the Senate Watergate committee, Scott Armstrong. â€œHe laughed for a solid minute.â€
Perhaps Armstrong was laughing to keep from crying. Kissinger â€œhas so many clients whose interests are so completely tied up in the results of this investigation,â€ Armstrong told the Globe. â€œThe minute you start talking about clerics in Saudi Arabia, itâ€™s in no way in the interests of his clients for the whole truth to be told.â€
Anyone with even slightest political consciousness knows of the war crimes Kissinger is alleged to have been involved with. But in case you are not familiar with some of the lowlights, you ought to read Christopher Hitchens book â€œThe Trial of Henry Kissinger.â€
In it, youâ€™ll read about the esteemed statesmenâ€™s connection to the bombing of Cambodia and about his role in helping to set the stage for the 1973 coup in Chile that brought Pinochet to power.
Armstrong also told the Globe that when Kissinger left his government post in 1976, he took thousands of State Department documents to help him write his memoirs. Kissinger has yet to return them.
Kissinger, Armstrong said, is â€œa man with a private sense of history. He does not have a credible approach to assuring the public that heâ€™s interested in getting to the bottom of things or that we will do so through an open process.â€
President Bush urged Kissingerâ€™s commission to â€œfollow the facts wherever they may lead.â€ One thing the panel ought to get to the bottom of is the reports of two employees of the instant messenger service firm Odigo, which has offices in Israel and the World Trade Center (before the plane-bombings), having received warnings of the pending attack hours before it happened.
In the weeks following the attacks, one of Israelâ€™s leading dailyâ€™s, Haâ€™aretz, quoted Odigo CEO Micha Macover as saying â€œtwo workers received the messages predicting the attack would happen.â€
And Odigo vice president of sales and marketing Alex Diamandis told Newsbytes reporter Brian McWilliams that Odigo workers in New York were warned prior to the attack but that the message did not identify the World Trade Center as the target of the attack.
According to Computerworld reporter George A. Chidi Jr., Odigo officials have been cooperating with the FBI in investigating exactly what transpired. Donâ€™t you think itâ€™s important to know if, in fact, Odigo employees had better intelligence than the FBI and CIA?
Frankly, Iâ€™d like to see Kissinger go before the International Criminal Court. Oh yeah, the Bush administration doesnâ€™t recognize that court as a legitimate authority.
But even if Kissinger is never put in the dock for his alleged war crimes, Iâ€™d feel a lot better if he werenâ€™t the chairman of 9-11 investigation commission but instead devoted the rest of his public life to performing deep voice duets with Barry White or being cast as the voice of cartoon characters in Disney animated movies.
ZNet commentator Sean Gonsalves is a syndicated columnist. E-mail him at email@example.com.