November 4, 2011

Desperately Seeking Abuse

Hatched by Dafydd

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI, 95%), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has forced not one, not two, but three investigations -- two by the Pentagon and one by the Government Accounting Office; Levin insists there simply must be something crooked about former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's program to enlist retired military officers (RMOs) to analyze and explain the Iraq and Afghanistan war efforts to the people. Where there's hokey smoke, there oughta be fire... or at least an awful lot of hot air.

Somewhere, somehow, some RMO simply must have gotten cash under the table from Rumsfeld for talking up the wars; they can't have all actually believed in what they did!

Alas for the Chairman, all three investigations turned up bubkes. Zip. A big, fat bagel. Thank goodness there's nothing important going on in the country that might require the Senate's attention.

Now Chairman Levin, facing the possibility of becoming a Senate laughingstock for his failed Inspecteur Clouseau Javert-like persecution, is reduced to begging the Pentagon to throw him a bone, something disreputable enough to justify his obsession. Say, couldn't they at least allow the Chairman and his staff to rewrite the report to Levin's (and his party's) satisfaction?

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is intervening with a Pentagon investigator to influence the final wording of a report that exonerates George W. Bush-era officials who gave war briefings to retired military TV and radio commentators.

Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, has tried for three years to convince federal investigators that the briefing program violated government rules and that some of the retired officers turned analysts received preferential treatment for Pentagon contracts....

A source close to the third probe said that a Levin staffer, committee general counsel Peter Levine, has engaged in written communication with John Crane, the Pentagon inspector general’s congressional liaison.

The source said the communication is designed to convince Mr. Crane that wording should be added to the findings that criticize the analyst program devised by staff for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. [Emphasis added -- DaH]

Ah yes, the lone whistleblower, crying in the wilderness: "You can't handle the truth!" But the truth may oft be inconvenient:

Two previous government probes found no misconduct, and the Pentagon inspector general now has wrapped up a third investigation....

The findings, as written, say the program followed Defense Department rules, the source told The Washington Times.

All this reminds me of one of the few scenes in the television show M*A*S*H that I found genuinely funny. Season 10 had a two-parter titled "Snap Judgment"/"Snappier Judgment"; it was the double-episode where Sgt. Klinger (post-transvestite phase) is accused of stealing a Polaroid instant camera and trying to sell it on the Korean black market. He is eventually brought up before a general court-martial.

Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III volunteers to be Klinger's defense "attorney," despite having no legal training whatsoever. He botches the case (naturally); and Klinger is standing on the bring of being wrongly convicted when Dr. Winchester gives his closing argument. I can't find the exact quotation, but it goes something like this: "Before you render your verdict, think about me! Think of my reputation. No Winchester has ever lost a legal case; if I lose here -- I'll be ruined!"

At least Maj. Winchester was honest about his real motive, which is more than I can say, sadly enough, for Sen. Levin.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 4, 2011, at the time of 4:25 PM

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