Ed Schultz Guest Sen. Stabenow Touts Need for '9/12 Commission'

It's official -- Bush and Cheney are as evil as al Qaeda. Or so Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Michigan Democrat, wants you to believe.

Chrysler just declared bankruptcy and GM may follow suit, Michigan's jobless rate remains worst in the nation, and its residents flee their state in droves.

What better time to create what Stabenow calls a "9/12 commission," modeled after the 9/11 commission that investigated the worst terrorist attack in American history.

Stabenow described this to Ed Schultz on his radio show April 27 after first professing concern for the malaise gripping her state (click here for audio) --

SCHULTZ: Joining us, Sen. Deb Stabenow here on the Ed Schultz show. Senator, good to have you with us. 

STABENOW: Good to be back with you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Well, what do you think of this news now that you and I and every other American own 50 percent of General Motors? We can call it Government Motors now, can't we?

STABENOW: There we go. Yeah, well, you know, this is unfortunately just another example of why this whole thing is so serious for the workers and communities and, frankly, everybody in the country when we look at what they're having to good through. They've now today announced a total of 13 more plants across the country and, you know, most of those are (sic) end up being in Michigan. But workers have taken cut after cut after cut and the question now is whether or not those bondholders, those folks on Wall Street and the folks that hold the debt, will step up and be a part of this. GM announced today an offer to bondholders and it will decide whether or not they go into bankruptcy or not.

SCHULTZ: What happens to the 21,000 employees?

STABENOW: Well, that's a really good question, Ed. I mean, obviously that's my most important focus.

Yet not enough of a priority that it can't get squeezed by another of alleged monumental significance (here for audio) --

SCHULTZ: Sen. Stabenow with us from Michigan here on the Ed Schultz show. Let's talk about the torture memos for a moment. Big discussion about whether they should have been released or not. But even further than that, how far should the Obama administration go with this? The president has put it off on the attorney general. How far do you think Eric Holder should go with this? Do you think that he should set up an independent investigator, prosecutor on this, special prosecutor?

STABENOW: Well first of all, I think they should have been released and this is part of what the president promised in transparency. And secondly, I mean, we need to look at everything that happened. I support the proposals out there for what's being called a 9/12 commission ... you know, what happened after 9/11 and what have we done, what has worked and not worked and to look at all of this and, really, the outrageous lengths to which people went here and violated what I believe are basic tenets of America.

Much that I loathe about liberalism is encompassed in the words "9/12 commission," with their appalling insinuation of immoral equivalence between al Qaeda and the Bush presidency -- just as McGovernite Democrats tried during the Cold War to equate hawks like Reagan with the Evil Empire he denounced.

At the risk of sounding impudent, Sen. Stabenow, why focus only on alleged crimes against humanity in response to perceived threats since 9/11 -- what about before then?

Take our actions during World War II, for example, starting with Franklin Roosevelt rounding up more than 100,000 law-abiding citizens of Japanese ancestry, tossing them in prison camps and seizing their property.

Add to that the Allies' firebombing of cities in Germany and Japan and Harry Truman's use of atomic weapons, all of which led to the horrific deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians. If waterboarding a few unrepentant jihadists constitutes a war crime, how does what FDR and Truman did not?

Seems to me we are long overdue for a "Dec. 8 commission," to be named for the day in 1941 when Roosevelt sought a declaration of war against Japan and the tragic sequence was set in motion.

A more glaring example of criminality in our government? I refer -- as if elaboration is needed -- to Abraham Lincoln waging war on a neighboring nation, assuming dictatorial powers and suspending habeas corpus for dissenters.

After all, the United States itself was borne of secession, four score and five years earlier to paraphrase Lincoln's later attempt to defend his actions. Not a single fatality resulted from the Confederate shelling of Fort Sumter -- but 600,000 Americans perished in the conflict that followed, after Lincoln rejected what eventually came to be known as the Obama Doctrine of conflict resolution through negotiation and, if this fails, ever more negotiations.

Can there be any doubt that Democrats who controlled the South would have prosecuted Lincoln as a war criminal had the Confederacy won the war? In lieu of that, one of its most fervent believers executed Lincoln without trial.

Perhaps it is time to investigate Lincoln's decisions with an "April 15 commission," named after the day in 1861 when he issued a proclamation seeking 75,000 militiamen to squelch an insurrection "too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings."

It's true that Lincoln, Roosevelt and Truman are all long gone, beyond the reach of any tribunal, no matter how inquisitive or persistent. But once the truth commissions I suggest are created and these leaders' inevitable guilt established, we can begin dismantling the inconvenient monuments and libraries built in their memory.

All in the name of healing, moving forward and perpetual expiation.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts