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Frist's strange passion for secret war
By Don Williams
Reprinted by permission from The Knoxville News-Sentinel 11/11/2005
Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist wants to get to the bottom of something. He's so worked up he's calling for joint congressional hearings on the scale of the 9/11 Commission. He said as much in a letter to colleagues, a letter signed by him and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. Good for them. It's time they got to the bottom of something.
In case you missed the story, I'll excuse you in advance for speculating about just what has Frist and Hastert so riled. In fact, I'd be speculating too. I'd be thinking, Hey, maybe they want to know whose bright idea it was to establish dozens of hell-hole prisons in at least eight foreign countries. If the Washington Post got it right, shady elements of our government concocted such prisons in order to get away with torture—or something like it.
Or could it be Frist and Hastert want Dick Cheney to come clean about who blew Valerie Plame's cover? Or why our government relied on forged documents from Italy when making its case for war. Or how top al-Qaida operatives—possibly including Osama bin Laden—were allowed to slip the noose at Tora Bora, Afghanistan, early in the war. (Google Tora Bora and Seymour Hersh for interesting reading). Maybe Hastert is hot to examine stock market anomalies related to World Trade Center companies just prior to 9/11. Could be Frist wants to learn how Halliburton lost track of billions in Iraq at the same time its stock began to soar. Is war profiteering still a crime?
Those legislators could be hot under the collar for any number of reasons. Just who profited from the UN oil-for-food scandal, they might ask How many lawmakers have fed at the trough of exploited Native American gaming interests? Who sat in on those secret energy sessions with Cheney? Maybe Frist and Hastert want to learn more about reports from Europe and the Middle East alleging that Americans used banned weapons at Fallujah one year ago. If such reporting ISN'T true, then who concocted those wrenching videos on the Internet showing naked children and young mothers running down the streets of Fallujah? Who faked those shots of caramelized and leathery corpses?
Maybe they'd like to know who paid to bring Ahmad Chalabi to Washington for toasts and teas this past Wednesday. Given his blood-and-oil stained hands, why isn't Chalbi undergoing tough questioning in some Third World prison? Or could it be Frist and Hastert want to understand how Bush can say, “We do not engage in torture,