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Cheney on Trial

David, you (like every other journalist on the story) have taken at face value Libby's report that Cheney was authorized by the President to release (declassify) a classified document. How do we know Bush authorized it? Only because Cheney (allegedly) told Libby so. This is first year law school stuff: The fact that Cheney claimed to be acting under Presidential authority doesn't make it so.

I haven't seen any references to any written (and non-backdated) document authorizing the Vice President to assume Presidential authority to declassify documents. If there were one, surely Libby would have mentioned it somewhere along the line. Given what we know about how Cheney operates, it seems much more likely that Cheney just took on himself the authority to declassify (or the willingness to leak it regardless), and that Bush and his side of the White House knew nothing about it until after the fact.

So please be more cautious about saying that Bush in fact authorized the disclosures. Maybe, maybe not. If not, it looks like pretty clear grounds to impeach and/or indict the Vice President (first) for improper release of classified information and abuse of power.

Betsy Cazden

Providence, RI

Mar 8 2007 - 10:58pm

Walter Reed Scandal: How Mainstream Media Let Us Down

This happened ont he watch of Tom DeLay's right hand man and chief Republican fundraiser, ironically quoted here as concerned about the matter. He, too, knew about this since 2004. He admitted as much in an article in the March 7 Congressional Quarterly.

He was too busy raising money from government contractors like IAP who won the contract for running Walter Reed. Follow the money and see they paid the money concurrently with efforts to schedule hearings before his Government Reform Committee. He would either refuse to hold the hearings or he would feed the witnesses Q&As. His wife's "job" at ICG Government is to "prepare" witnesses for hearings before his committee.

Davis won the Chair of the Reform Committee over the more senior Chris Shays (R-CT) as punishment for Shays pushing for more campaign finance reform and for more oversight.

See for example http://www.raisingkaine.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=7487and www.tomdavistruth.com

Andrea Chamblee

Silver Spring, MD

Mar 8 2007 - 10:25pm

Who's Afraid of Gardasil?

While the idea of an HPV vaccine is wonderful news for women, I would be a lot more comfortable with it if there were more control tests being done.

In the last ten years or so we've seen promising medicines turn out to be horrific nightmares. The vaccines of today are not thoroughly tested like the ones 50 years ago.

I say the federal government, along with the FDA and Deptartment of Health and Human Services, should take this approach very slowly.

I'd hate to hear 15 months down the line our young girls and young women have been afflicted and possibly die from this vaccine because the research was rushed through.

A Cook

Atlanta, GA

Mar 8 2007 - 10:06pm

Cheney on Trial

It has long been postulated that Bush will pardon Cheney and resign, Cheney will pardon Bush and resign...and the whole lot will avoid prosecution. One might think that is clear evidence that Bush's alleged Christian beliefs do not extend into an afterlife that includes judgment.

In the meantime for the rest of us, perhaps this is the second baby step away from the slide into fascism--perhaps a badly abused word. Yet we still sit in a country where one raving lunatic can start a war with Iraq or another "target of opportunity."

We can hope the retreat from madness will continue, perhaps with Karl Rove in the box next. But it will not be easy. As Cheney feels more desperate, he will become more dangerous.

Leaving him to run loose, however, is quite a bit more dangerous for us all.

David Robbins

Princeton, NJ

Mar 8 2007 - 5:40pm

Walter Reed Scandal: How Mainstream Media Let Us Down

Walter Reed is only one of many stories, the vast majority of which will never be told, concerning government waste, indifference, and poor treatment of clients. It's not news that the DOD is tied up with red tape. What's interesting is that the Post could make an ordinary situation so important. Probably it's the name "Walter Reed." If this were happening in some facility in Mississippi, I doubt that the Post would ever have picked up the story.

We are witnessing one of the occasional spasms of concern that Congress exhibits over some governmental shortcoming. The American people are no more interested in paying close attention to this over a long period of time than is Maureen Dowd.

You can't sell enough newspapers to policy wonks to pay the rent. We should be grateful to see this happen on rare occasions, without blaming the media for not making it a regular occurrence.

Rob Spooner

Florence, Oregon

Mar 8 2007 - 5:03pm

Edwards Gets a Boost

I agree. It's easy and perhaps comforting to just dismiss Coulter as a clever club act, out to make herself rich, laughing all the way to the bank, over the uproar she creates.

But the scary truth is Coulter actually believes the outrageous things she says, and as you point out--she has a very large audience who also believe it.

The bottom line is, Bush could not have gotten away with the theft of the American Republic without the consent of a large part of the electorate.

John Giarratana

Jersey City, NJ, USA

Mar 8 2007 - 3:58pm

Uneasy Calm in Palestine

Sure, blame it on Israel.

After more than fifty years, the Palestinians can't have an economy or government without a dole. No money for civil servants without charity. Too bad.

Perhaps if they stopped blaming Israel, accepted reality and stopped shooting each other and blowing up people and, rather worked on creating an economically feasible country, they wouldn't be in this fix.

When the settlers vacated Gaza, instead of moving into the greenhouses and keeping the economy working, they decided instead to lob missiles into Israel. Smart move? I don't think so.

MERRY BODNER

Surfside, Florida

Mar 8 2007 - 3:00pm

Cheney's Henchman Gets His

I have cracked out my late aunt's Green Book, the Social List of Washington DC, 1977. Along with her, Dick and Lynne Cheney appear there in less important roles than they enjoy today.

He is "Assistant to the President". Must an honorific left over from Nixon. I am sure Carter would not have kept him hanging around.

But I suppose that on January 1, he still held that position, and thus could be included in the Book. Must have kept that house in Maryland in anticipation of his restoration.

There is also a protocol list at the back of Carolyn Shaw's register. The chapter at page 12 is "Precedence (Who Outranks Whom)." It is very long, comparable in length to the Mikado's list (will Libby be missed?) given in the article, of which indeed the above list should be a subset.

In case you didn't already know, the US Chief of Protocol is found two ranks down from the Commandant of the Coast Guard, but she/he outranks a four-star general.

If you are wondering about precedence rankings of officials not listed therein, you are kindly asked to telephone Mrs. Shaw at 337-2880 (circa 1977). No need for an area code. Not in Byzantium on the Potomac.

Dianne C. Foster

Newton, MA 02461

Mar 8 2007 - 2:59pm

Edwards Gets a Boost

The Edwards statement, "I think that Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs," he said. "I think he would be appalled, actually.", is the height of hypocracy.

This from an ambulence-chaser who lives in an 8000 square foot home.

If he is so concerned about the forgotten in society, why doesn't he provide a home for some of them in his fabulous estate!

Ron Eppert

Westfield, IN

Mar 8 2007 - 2:04pm

Edwards Gets a Boost

I do not in any way condone Ann Coulter's comment, but I cannot help noting that your hysterical response proves her point.

It's a word, not the end of the world.

Get over it.

Tom Foley

Winchester, VA

Mar 8 2007 - 1:00pm