Who is really in charge at the White House? It would appear that one individual clearly stands out above the rest.
“Over the next four days, The Washington Post will present an in-depth investigation of the vice presidency of Dick Cheney, the most influential and powerful man ever to hold the office. The stories will examine Cheney’s largely hidden and little-understood role in crafting policies for the War on Terror, the economy and the environment.”
Just past the Oval Office, in the private dining room overlooking the South Lawn, Vice President Cheney joined President Bush at a round parquet table they shared once a week. Cheney brought a four-page text, written in strict secrecy by his lawyer. He carried it back out with him after lunch.
In less than an hour, the document traversed a West Wing circuit that gave its words the power of command. It changed hands four times, according to witnesses, with emphatic instructions to bypass staff review. When it returned to the Oval Office, in a blue portfolio embossed with the presidential seal, Bush pulled a felt-tip pen from his pocket and signed without sitting down. Almost no one else had seen the text.
Cheney’s proposal had become a military order from the commander in chief. Foreign terrorism suspects held by the United States were stripped of access to any court — civilian or military, domestic or foreign. They could be confined indefinitely without charges and would be tried, if at all, in closed “military commissions.”
“What the hell just happened?” Secretary of State Colin L. Powell demanded, a witness said, when CNN announced the order that evening, Nov. 13, 2001. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice, incensed, sent an aide to find out. Even witnesses to the Oval Office signing said they did not know the vice president had played any part.
“End-around” hardly does justice to what this man is capable of. Strong vice president, and buffoon president who allows this to happen.
We need a president who can read the Constitution.