By the Brattleboro Reformer
Friday, June 10, 2005 - The frenzy over "Deep Throat" is fading. The hosannas over the brief, shining moment in history when reporters did their jobs and brought down a corrupt president are dying down.
Perhaps now, we can return to the present day and the multitude of opportunities that exist for latter-day Woodwards and Bernsteins to shine.
Granted, over the last three decades, journalists have become more timid and deferential to power. We need a few good journalists, ones who don't care what the power-brokers think of them, monitoring both sides of the political fence.
At the top of the to-do list is the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq under false pretenses, a tarnish on America's reputation that has trapped U.S. forces in a Vietnam-style quagmire for years to come and took away the need for a real war on the terrorists and Osama bin Laden.
The Bush administration wanted this war well before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. We now have the proof -- the "Downing Street Memo" leaked to the Times of London a few weeks ago.
The memo, from MI-6 head Richard Dearlove (the British equivalent of CIA director), was from a meeting with the Bush administration in July 2002. According to Dearlove, the Bush administration was determined to attack Iraq even though there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction, no evidence of links to foreign terrorists, and no evidence that Iraq posed a direct or indirect threat to the United States.
Everything the Bush administration said in the months before the invasion was a lie -- the tales of aluminum tubes destined for missile production, mobile chemical weapons labs, importation of uranium from Niger, unmanned drone planes to deliver biological weapons. Every word of it.
Nearly 1,700 American soldiers and more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians are now dead because of these lies. As bad as the crimes committed by the Nixon administration during Watergate were, they pale beside the bigger crime of duping a nation into going to war.
All this is well documented and sitting in public view. There's no need for a Deep Throat, just someone who can connect the dots and say that President Bush and his administration are guilty of crimes against the Constitution -- crimes so numerous and so great that impeachment proceedings should begin immediately.
Even if impeachment is politically impossible, the Bush administration must be held accountable for this illegal and immoral war. Only the press, aided by an informed and aroused citizenry, can do this. It won't bring back the dead, but it might restore our national reputation and extricate our forces from an unwinnable war.
So who wants to be the next Woodward and Bernstein? Who wants to be the next Ben Bradlee? Who wants to be the next Deep Throat? Who wants to reclaim the truth and our nation's honor from the hands of scheming men? A nation is waiting for a few good men and women who aren't afraid to step forward and accept this challenge.
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