The Pentagon, Bob, and war testimony

As a staunch opponent of this war, I am highly aware that Congress will have to step up to the plate to rein in President Bush. Yes, most Americans want to end this war but the political kiss of death won’t happen until members of the military begin to speak out on how this war is actually not the best way to “support the troops.” Getting these stories before Congress is critical in turning Republicans and the White House knows this. As a result,

The Pentagon has placed unprecedented restrictions on who can testify before Congress, reserving the right to bar lower-ranking officers, enlisted soldiers, and career bureaucrats from appearing before oversight committees or having their remarks transcribed, according to Defense Department documents. 

Robert L. Wilkie , a former Bush administration national security official who left the White House to become assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs last year, has outlined a half-dozen guidelines that prohibit most officers below the rank of colonel from appearing in hearings, restricting testimony to high-ranking officers and civilians appointed by President Bush.

This type of censorship is completely uncalled for and will further allow Bush to continually ask for patience until what do you know, it is January 20th, 2009. President Bush is deathly afraid of the truth getting out about this war. So what better way to control the “official” status of the war than restricting Congressional testimony to those who serve at the pleasure of the President? 

In a remarkable memo, Bob wrote “that all field-level officers and enlisted personnel must be ‘deemed appropriate’ by the Department of Defense before they can participate in personal briefings for members of Congress.” What in the heck does appropriate mean? We are talking about people who are risking their lives for a preemptive war based on false pretenses! I don’t understand how enlisted personnel could be deemed inappropriate if they are in good standing with the military. 

And what‘s up with the Bush Administration’s patent fear of having their testimony recorded for transcript?

At a closed-door hearing a few days after Wilkie’s memo was distributed, Defense Department lawyers sought to apply the guidelines to the testimony of three Army officers — a captain, a major, and a lieutenant colonel — set to testify about their first-hand experience training Iraqi security forces.

A few minutes into the proceedings, a representative from the Pentagon’s Office of General Counsel tried to apply the new provisions. Speaking from the audience, he declared that the officers could not participate if the meeting was being recorded for a transcript — a regular practice in congressional hearings.

Fortunately the chairman of the committee insisted that the recording continue. And in case you were wondering,  “David Golove , a New York University law professor who specializes in executive power issues, said there appears to be no legal basis for the Pentagon’s limits on lower-level officers speaking directly to Congress — and lawmakers’ power on this issue supercedes the military’s.”

These types of problems are proof positive that it does matter who is President. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.




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