The Kissinger Pardon
Thursday, July 26, 2007 1:23 AM
The administration of POTUS 43 is imploding, rudderless, out of control, and beyond reach. Anything can happen now, and most of it will be bad. And yet, the overall situation is not primarily Bush’s fault. You cannot hold an irresponsible, ill-prepared person responsible for his actions. Bush Jr. was selected by the Republican Establishment, then programmed and utilized as a frontman, and now he has ended up as a convenient, all-purpose bunching bag for the equally lamentable and almost-as-culpable Democrats on Capitol Hill.
It is a source of amusement and bafflement that G.W. Bush’s remarks about official matters, especially pertaining to the bloodbath in Iraq, continue to be taken seriously and commented upon in the press and among the talking heads of TV land. Are Bush’s utterances worth taking seriously? Of course not. It is a waste of time. Haven’t we learned anything? Haven’t we been lied to and kidded enough? Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.
Nothing personal, but POTUS 43 is an irrelevancy, a nonentity. In fact, he has been so from the start of his sojourn at the White House, back in January of 2001. That’s just the way it is, as most people are now finding out.
From the word go, it was Richard Cheney who acted as the CEO of the POTUS 43 Administration. Since this arrangement is highly irregular under the U.S. Constitution, Cheney has taken pains to stay off the skyline, and work in the background and in the shadows, where he feels comfortable and at home. The fiction that G.W. was in charge had to be maintained, of course, even for G.W. himself. It is one of the reasons why so much secrecy surrounds the White House.
The centrality of Cheney makes the “Scooter” Libby Affair all the more interesting and intriguing, doesn’t it? “Scooter” was the right-hand man of the White House CEO, Dick Cheney. Libby was also an Assistant to the nominal President, G.W. Bush. Libby was convicted for obstruction of justice. Libby’s prison sentence was commuted by the nominal President. Isn’t there an unambiguous, unabashed conflict of interest here? You bet there is.
Remember, G.W. never saw a prison sentence or a death sentence he didn’t like. That’s his style, and was his track record in Texas. All of a sudden, G.W. decides that Libby’s prison sentence was too “severe,” while proclaiming concurrently that he respects the jury’s verdict. Am I laughing. As with most of what G.W. says, it makes no sense. Prosecutor Fitzgerald pointed out, after the commutation, that Libby’s 30 month jail sentence was not out of the ordinary for a Federal obstruction of justice conviction. The Reagan-appointed trial judge, Reggie Walton, agreed, and so did the appeal judges.
Again, at the risk of repeating the all-too obvious, I pose the simple question: why would Libby lie to obstruct justice? What was he hiding? He was obstructing the path of an investigation which would lead to what and to whom? Libby’s falsehoods make perfectly good sense if he were part of a conspiracy with Cheney and Bush to keep the inner workings of the White House top secret and off limits. There may have been criminal activity involved in the “neocon”, Likud-inspired manipulation of American foreign policy which needed to be covered up. Or, in the alternative, it may just have been that such nefarious activities, while not criminal, were deemed too embarrassing and too revealing for public consumption. One way or the other, we are talking about a Nixonian style cover-up.
Therefore, may I suggest that the President’s unrestricted pardon power under the U.S. Constitution be clarified and overhauled. No President should possess the ability to pardon someone convicted of a crime, or of covering up a crime, when that self-same President could himself be involved and implicated, either directly or indirectly, in that crime. There is a nexus between Libby, Cheney and G.W. Bush. The way things stand now, any President could authorize his agents to do anything and pardon them on the spot if they run into trouble while following his directives. In fact, a President could even pardon himself. That’s smacks of a monarchy or a dictatorship of the old school. Mind you, I have nothing against a monarchy per se, but it’s not the system on which this country works.
Which brings me, in a round-about way, to Henry Kissinger and to The raft of letters written to Judge Reggie Walton (373 of them altogether), the vast majority of which were on Libby’s behalf. This was after Libby had been convicted by the jury but before he had been sentenced by the Judge. As one might expect, the letters are from a cavalcade of big shots in the Washington establishment, heavily fortified with “neocon” professors, operatives and their dupes, about which more in a future missive. Dr. K’s letter is understated and relatively short, when compared to the others. But it also quite revealing, both between the lines and on its face. Like the rest of the writers, Dr. K probably never anticipated that Judge Walton would release the letters to the public. Here is Dr. K’s letter (#193) in its entirety:
April 23rd, 2007
Dear Judge Walton:
I have volunteered to write a letter that might assist you in the sentencing of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. I have been involved for most of my adult life in the field of international relations, in government and as a private citizen. During the Administrations of Presidents Nixon and Ford, I served as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs from 1969-1975 and, concurrently, as Secretary of State from 1973-1977. From the time I left government, I have advised other Presidents, chaired Presidential commissions, served on governmental advisory boards and often have been called to testify before Congressional committees on issues of policy and national security.
I met Scooter early in the second Bush administration, when he served as Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney. In that capacity, he attended all my meetings with the Vice President. He also acted as a kind of liaison for me to the National Security process. [My emphasis.] I was deeply impressed by his dedication, seriousness, patriotism and essential decency. He is a man of strong views, some of which I do not share. But in my observations, he pursued his objectives with integrity and a sense of responsibility. I would never have associated the actions for which he was convicted with his character. Nor do I believe that they will ever be repeated. Having served in the White House and under pressure, I have seen how difficult it sometimes is to recall precisely a particular sequence of events. This does not justify the action, but it may help you consider mitigating circumstances.
With good wishes,
Henry A. Kissinger
First off, notice that Dr. K accepts the fact that Libby is guilty, something Libby never did. Libby never apologized for his wrongdoing when he faced the Judge at sentencing. He didn’t need to. Fitzgerald pointed out to the Judge that Libby had shown no remorse in the wake of his conviction. Remember, Libby never took the stand to explain his actions, and never fessed up to any wrongdoing. Libby knew more than his lawyers. He knew that Cheney and G.W. would be there for him at the end of the day. If his lawyers beat the rap with their lies and legalisms, fine. If not, then the White House would just have to step in and negate the guilty verdict to protect one of its own. In a nutshell, that’s what happened.
While implicitly embracing the jury’s verdict on “Scooter”, Dr. K states that “I would never have associated the actions for which he was convicted with his character. Nor do I believe that they will ever be repeated.” Hmm.
Kissinger proclaims that “Scooter” is “a man of strong views, some of which I do not share”. It is my best guess that these unspecified “strong views” are what makes it an easy matter for Kissinger to accept Libby’s guilt. The “strong views” made “Scooter” do it. That’s the implication. Some of these views Kissinger shares, some he doesn’t.
So what are we talking about, please? Dr. K is dancing around the edges of something, and the dancing is rather self-serving. Dr. K wants to be darn certain that he is not associated with the bursting of the “neocon” stink bomb which has enveloped Washington and the American foreign policy establishment. He wants to insulate himself from the “neocons”.
It is no problem for Dr. K to state that “Scooter’s” actions will not be repeated. Why? For the simple reason that “Scooter” will obviously never again be in the unique position he was in during the Cheney Regency. Therefore, “Scooter” will never again need to obfuscate and lie about what he and Cheney and Cheney’s Cabal were doing in pursuit of a private foreign policy agenda in the Middle East on behalf of Tel Aviv.
Dr. K knows all about that, of course. But at the same time, he does not want to be slimed by it or implicated in it. He wants to insulate himself from the fallout of the “neocon” catastrophe. He wants to distance himself from a seemingly insane and obviously disastrous policy in the Middle East, for which the “neocons” bear responsibility. This is the Kissinger subtext.
But can Dr. K really hope to immunize himself from the “neocons”? Again, look at the letter. Dr. K admits “I met Scooter early [my emphasis] in the second Bush administration, when he served as Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney. In that capacity, he attended all my meetings with the Vice President. He also acted as a kind of liaison for me to the National Security process.” By “the second Bush administration” Dr. K means, I assume, at the start of the Cheney Regency in January of 2001, in the Administration of G.W. Bush—not the second term (2004) of that same Administration. So Dr. K was in on the ground floor, and “Scooter” served as Kissinger’s liaison to the process. Fine. Understood.
We know from various sources that the “neocons” whom Cheney (and Karl Rove) put into the driver’s seats at the White House and at the Pentagon were hell bent on invading Iraq from day one. Did Dr. K sound a note of caution concerning this idea during his talks with Regent Cheney and with Cheney’s chief of staff, “Scooter” Libby? Are there any written records in the National Security Council regarding what exactly Kissinger did advise the White House to do in 2001 going forward? Didn’t “Scooter” take notes? If so, let’s take a look at them. Is Congress interested? Probably not.
Insofar as I am aware, Dr. K’s letter to Judge Walton is the first time Kissinger has confirmed the bombshell contained in Bob Woodward’s book, State of Denial, namely the assertion by Cheney that “I probably talk to Henry Kissinger more than I talk to anybody else. He just comes by and I guess at least once a month, Scooter [Libby] and I sit down with him.” [Page 406, my emphasis.] Woodward went on to state: “The president also met privately with Kissinger every couple of months, making the former secretary the most regular and frequent outside adviser to Bush on foreign affairs.”
Since the subject matter of State of Denial is the Iraq fiasco, I had assumed that Kissinger’s meetings with Cheney and Bush took place in the context of the aftermath of “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” when Regent Cheney appointed Kissinger’s business partner, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III, to be Washington’s proconsul in Iraq, overseeing the occupation. I therefore concluded in The Kissinger Connection that Dr. K may have been “a prime architect of the occupation”.
But it now seems to me that Dr. K. may also have been one of the prime architects of the invasion itself, in conjunction with the “neocons” and their captured entity, the Regent Cheney. After all, Dr. K admits in his letter to Judge Walton that he met “Scooter” early on—I’m guessing pre-9/11, and that “Scooter” was Kissinger’s liaison for the national security “process” and was present during all his meetings with Cheney. Did Dr. K urge Regent Cheney to invade Iraq? That is the question. I think he did. I’m sure he was on-board.
Yes, I know that Taki has reported in Happy Birthday, Dr. Hank that “Kissinger has had a lousy rap about the greatest foreign policy disaster of American history. For starters, he had nothing to do with it. Wolfowitz and Feith convinced Cheney who convinced W. When Kissinger was brought in for advice, it was already much too late.”
How does Taki know this? Taki was a guest at Kissinger’s last birthday party at Kissinger’s Connecticut country estate. “During post-prandial drinks Iraq was discussed.” Taki further reports that “this was the first time I had an opportunity to speak to him [Kissinger] up close.” Evidently, Dr. Hank is the source of the information which Taki passes along to us. The only thing we can be sure of is that Dr. Hank must be a very charming person, one on one, and that Taki is a gracious listener.
Of course, there is no doubt whatsoever that Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, as part of the Likud contingent at the Pentagon, were both pushing, and pushing hard, for the Iraq invasion along with Cheney, and that Cheney, in turn, was egging on the malleable G.W. Indeed, the record indicates that both Wolfowitz and Feith had been advocating that Washington invade Iraq for years prior to 2001. But that is a separate issue. It is impossible to believe that Kissinger was not aboard that same war wagon as Wolfowitz and Feith and “Scooter” and Cheney and G.W. after 9/11 and after the successful U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11.
At that time, please recall, almost everybody who was anybody in the American foreign policy establishment had signed on with the Mideast adventure which would soon turn out to be “the greatest foreign policy disaster of American history”. Is anybody suggesting that Kissinger was on the inside quietly advising Cheney and Bush not to do it? And they ignored his advice? Or was he only asked for his advice ex post facto, after the invasion had taken place? Kissinger’s letter to Judge Walton seems to indicate that he was communicating with Cheney directly much earlier, using “Scooter” as his liaison to “the foreign policy process”. It would be nice to see the written record.
Actually, there is a written record outside the sanctums of the NSC and the White House. Take Woodward’s book, State of Denial, for a start. On pages 408 and 409, Woodward demonstrates that Dr. K was gung-ho for “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. When G.W.’s speechwriter, Michael Gerson, asked Kissinger in 2005 why he had supported the war, Kissinger replied “Because Afghanistan wasn’t enough.” According to Woodward, Kissinger felt that the U.S. war in Iraq was required to send a message, “in order to make a point that we’re not going to live in this world that they want for us.” It appears that Dr. K. never saw the pitfalls, the downside of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
For Dr. K, it was full speed ahead in a global conflict with radical Islam. “We need to humiliate them,” Woodward quotes Kissinger telling Gerson. One begins to wonder if G.W. got the inspiration for his mindless “Bring ‘em on!” war cry from his every-two-month conversations with Dr. K.
In August of 2005, Kissinger wrote in the Washington Post (“Lessons for an Exit Strategy”) that “Victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy.” Well, here we are in 2007. Dare I speculate that Kissinger’s advice and blinkered outlook have been congruent with that of the “neocons” for many years? You see the results—on the news, and in the casualty reports which trickle in every day.
--Copyright 2007 Patrick Foy--