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Friday, December 12, 2003

Cleland out, Bob Kerrey in
The commission supposedly investigating the attacks of September 11, 2001 and what the Bushies did or did not know or do about them has been further compromised. Not only has the most outspoken member of the commission, former Georgia senator Max Cleland, left the commission, he is being replaced by former Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey. The WSWS reports many reasons for being concerned about Kerrey's selection:

In 1969, Kerrey, then a Navy lieutenant, led a SEAL unit in a death squad attack on a Vietnamese village in which he and six enlisted men under his command killed 21 women, children and elderly men. The massacre was carried out as part of “Operation Phoenix,” a CIA-run program that targeted political supporters of the Vietnamese liberation movement for assassination and claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Vietnamese civilians.

For more than 30 years, Kerrey remained silent on the 1969 massacre. When it was exposed by the publication of a New York Times magazine article in April 2001, he continued to evade responsibility, speaking only in the vaguest terms about his actions. Last year, he published an autobiography, When I Was a Young Man, that amounted to yet another attempt to cover up his own role in the massacre.
Kerrey’s own conflicts of interest are myriad. As vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Kerrey is a veteran of political cover-ups. While Kerrey was no longer a senator at the time, the committee on which he had served as the highest-ranking Democrat carried out a whitewash of the government role in 9/11, together with its House counterpart, in their toothless joint investigation of the terrorist attacks last year.

Kerrey was also one of the key figures who approved the nomination of CIA Director Tenet and has remained his defender and political ally. What the CIA knew before September 11 is one of the key questions facing any legitimate investigation into the events.

The former senator is also complicit in the Bush administration’s manipulation of the September 11 events to justify a war, already decided upon, against Iraq. Little more than a year ago, Kerrey surfaced as a leading member of an outfit known as the “Committee for the Liberation of Iraq,” formed to promote an unprovoked invasion of the Middle Eastern country.

The group, in which Kerrey was the only prominent Democrat, was essentially an offshoot of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a Republican think tank that served as a virtual administration-in-waiting. Its principals included Richard Cheney (now vice president), Donald Rumsfeld (now defense secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld’s deputy secretary), George Bush’s younger brother Jeb, the governor of Florida, and Lewis Libby (Cheney’s chief of staff). The PNAC elaborated a blueprint for achieving US global hegemony by means of military force, beginning with a war against Iraq.

Kerrey had himself been a proponent of a war against Iraq since 1998, joining right-wing Republicans in sponsoring the “Iraqi Liberation Act” and forging close political ties to the Iraqi National Congress, which is headed by the convicted bank embezzler Ahmed Chalabi.

The more the Bushies try to cover up what they knew and what they did, the more I believe that they, at the very least, allowed 9/11 to happen in order to further their agenda. Cynthia McKinney would have been absolutely right if she had actually said what she was accused of saying.