The real truth for the ‘truth commission’

By Jordan Harp

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”

That was part of Barack Obama’s inaugural speech, given about one month ago.

It seems that Patrick Leahy, a Democratic senator from Vermont, was sick that day, or had a dentist’s appointment, or was on vacation, or just decided to completely ignore what the president said.

Last week, Sen. Leahy trotted out one of the far left’s most fervent dreams by proposing a “truth commission” to look into policies during the Bush administration including the firings of U.S. attorneys, the treatment of terror suspects and the policy of extraordinary rendition, as well as the authorization of warrantless wiretapping by the Bush administration.

Leahy isn’t the only or the first person to propose such a commission. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat in the House, has held numerous hearings into the legality of Bush programs.

He has introduced a bill into the House to create a commission that would investigate presidential powers and civil liberties that would potentially lead to prosecutions.

Leahy’s own version of the “truth commission” wouldn’t include prosecuting anyone, at least not at first, but rather to learn the “truth.”

In his mind, it would be much like South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was used to investigate the apartheid-era government.

Is it objectionable and callous to compare a democratically elected administration that completely fails to even approach the inhumanity of apartheid with a systemically racist government that denied basic rights to a majority of its citizens?

Probably, but this man’s trying to find the “truth.”

Leahy doesn’t know who exactly would lead the commission, he just wants “people with real credibility,” which is about the most thinly disguised spin for “someone who has the exact same ideology as I do and would be great at orchestrating a partisan witch hunt.”

Of course, the goal of the left is to force Bush administration officials up there and humiliate them, or better yet, charge them with crimes.

Who’s on the hit list? People like any Bush administration Justice official who helped craft the anti-terror policies, or the left’s most coveted goal, some of the really big fish, like (brace yourselves) Donald Rumsfeld, or (brace yourselves again) Karl Rove. Like Pavlov’s dogs, such a prospect has them salivating almost without control.

Yet Leahy says his purpose isn’t to punish or humiliate anyone but merely to “get the truth out.”

But the truth is a funny thing, and in Washington it is often a relative thing. With this “truth commission,” the “truth” would only be what Leahy and the rest of the left decide.

There is, however, one truth in all of this, something that Leahy, Conyers, the ACLU, The New York Times and the rest on the left can’t come to terms with, and that is the harsh reality of the fight we are in, and the often uncomfortable methods that must be used to fight effectively.

Whether it’s a CIA spook, an Army interrogator, or Jack Bauer, giving them the tools to do their jobs and keep this country safe is the most important responsibility of any administration.

Not accepting the reality of what they have to do sometimes doesn’t change what must be done. President Bush understood that, and his popularity suffered because of it.

Those on the left say that things like Guantanamo and the policy of extraordinary rendition bring shame on this country, but there is no shame in protecting this country.

Leahy and the left may want the “truth.” But as Jack Nicholson might say:

They can’t handle the truth.

Jordan Harp is a junior in MCB and hopes that is clear. Crystal.