Another Watergate

Art Buchwald

October 21, 1992|By Art Buchwald

AS usual the situation is normal in Washington. The FBI is investigating the Justice Department and the Justice Department is investigating the FBI. "Is it another Watergate?" I asked Looney Toons, a Bush tour director. I asked the question because the Justice Department and the CIA had admitted to covering up evidence concerning a U.S. loan deal to Iraq.

"It's not going to be a Watergate," he replied angrily. "For the simple reason that Justice has appointed its own people to investigate it, and the CIA has called on its own inspector general to look into the CIA's role. Watergate became a scandal because Congress and the special prosecutor were involved and we could not protect the president."

"How can the Justice Department be involved in blatant perjury and wrongdoing?"

"What about Yanks at Oxford? Why don't you talk about that instead of cover-ups for the good of the president?"

"I thought that Justice's job was to protect the American people."

Looney said, "It is, but we also have to protect the White House. The attorney general is appointed by the president and is his faithful servant. Now do you want to talk about anti-Vietnam demonstrations by Americans abroad?"

"No, I want to talk about major branches of government lying to Congress just as they did in Watergate. Do you admit that the Justice Department told the CIA not to deliver secret papers on the Iraq loan to Congress and the courts?"

"No. We only admit that we made an error because our filing system at Justice broke down. We have nothing to hide when it comes to helping the administration which wanted Iraq to have a few American toys just before the Gulf War. That was nothing compared to going to Moscow in 1969 and playing footsie with the KGB."

I said, "The CIA claims that the Justice Department made them conceal vital information concerning the war with Iraq."

Looney responded, "They're liars at the CIA. No one trusts them. What do you expect from people who make their living stealing secrets from other countries?"

"I want to believe you, Looney, but something tells me that this is not the first time the Justice Department has lied to Congress."

"Maybe not, but we had a good reason for this one. Why should we level with a Democratic Congress that has no family values and believes Anita Hill's story instead of the one told by a Bush Supreme Court justice appointee? So we forgot to give Congress a few papers that might change the way we deal with Iraq. Is that anything compared to Clinton worming out of Army KP?"

"The Justice Department seems to be mixing apples and oranges. Your lawyers have committed a crime and might wind up going to jail the way the Watergate folks did."

"Not if we explain why we did it. This is not a cover-up. At one time Saddam Hussein was our dearest friend, but people don't remember that. They only think of him now as Mr. Nerve Gas. It wouldn't look right for this administration if someone discovered that we were one of Hussein's biggest arms suppliers. Besides, would you rather have a leader who gave military equipment to Iraq just before committing American troops to Desert Storm, or would you rather have someone who talked his way out of the ROTC?"

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