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Jewish World Review Feb. 1, 2002 / 19 Shevat, 5762

Dick Morris

Dick Morris
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They all talk in the end


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- EVER since President Dwight Eisenhower first made modern use of the “doctrine” of executive privilege to keep loyalty/security data out of the hands of Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.), the idea has been a non-starter.

It remains the political equivalent of Saddam Hussein telling arms inspectors, “Look anywhere you want, but not in the green tent.” Its assertion guarantees that congressional committees, newspapers, scandalmongers and the average man and woman in the street will want nothing more than to look in the green tent.

Doubtless, from where Vice President Richard Cheney sits, the congressional inquiry into Enron and the decisionmaking process of his energy task force seems like a Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) fishing expedition. The vice president probably takes umbrage at his privacy being invaded by the committee. To him, it probably is as simple a matter as when Secretary of State Henry Stimson closed down his department’s code-breaking activity in 1929 with a haughty, “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.”

But to the rest of us, his use of executive privilege to hide documents related to this bankruptcy and the fraud surrounding it is like a red, blinking neon sign with an arrow pointed to the White House that flashes on and off saying “guilty,” “guilty,” “guilty.”

This is perhaps the only aspect in which George Bush’s White House is copying something from his predecessor. It’s a bad place to start. As with Bill Clinton, if Cheney and Bush act guilty and look guilty and conceal documents as though they were guilty, we will all grow to assume that they are guilty. Even though, in this case, they likely are not.

With Bush’s Enron connections making him vulnerable to this scandal’s fallout, it is the height of irresponsibility, self-involvement and downright pigheadedness for Cheney to insist that his privacy need be protected.

Congressional committees always get what they want in the end. The play out of this squabble over documents is numbingly predictable. After several weeks of bad publicity, during which more and more of the public will come to feel that Bush and Cheney have something to hide, the administration will yield to the public pressure and release the documents as requested.

As we have seen the Nazi torturer say in countless grade-B World War II movies, “They all talk in the end.”

BAN STUDENT VISAS

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) announcement that it will take at least a year to tighten controls on student visas to protect against terrorists begs the basic question — why don’t we ban the issuance of student visas for at least the next year as the danger of terrorism swirls about us?

With close to 600,000 foreigners in the United States on student visas, it is time to reassure the American people by cutting off the flow until we can make our country secure against terror. Let us all remember, vividly, that it was Hani Hanjour who piloted a plane into the Pentagon while he was here on a student visa.

Student visas can become the new hot button political issue. While colleges and universities want to continue to collect tuition from these students — who comprise about 4 percent of their total student population — their narrow special interest should yield to the greater national good.

It is obvious that the agency cannot adequately police or supervise those it admits on student visas, so it makes eminent sense to curtail their issuance until the immediate crisis has passed. Any “compromises” that provide for some kind of certification that the students are not terrorists are ridiculous. Does anyone believe that the INS or any branch of the U.S. government has enough information on which to base such a finding?

It is not enough to ban student visas for those from nations that sponsor terror. It is too easy for a “student” to get around the requirement and enter through some other country.

Academics, interested in keeping their campuses full, will undoubtedly argue that we need to expose students from other lands to the American way of life. In a time of peace and tranquility, the argument has much to commend it. But we are very far away from that delightful situation. With our nation under assault, we must take steps to protect ourselves.



JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, The New Prince. Comment by clicking here.

Up

01/30/01: The odd couple: Chris Dodd and Arthur Andersen
01/22/01: His father's son? Bush better get an 'Act II' fast!
01/18/01: Dubya & the 'vision thing'
01/14/01: The Rumsfeld Doctrine 01/03/01: A President Gore would have been a disaster
01/03/02: Clinton's priority: Political correctness over fighting terror
12/27/01: Terror network grew out of Clinton's inaction, despite warnings
12/24/01: Call 'em back, George
12/18/01: What Bush did right
12/13/01: Libs worry too much
12/11/01: "Open Sesame": Feinstein's proposed bill allows 100,000 non-immigrant students from anti-American countries to our shores
12/07/01: The non-partisan president
12/05/01: Both parties are phony on stimulus debate
11/29/01: When terrorists can enter legally, it's time to change the laws
11/21/01: Go for the jugular!
11/16/01: You are all incumbents
11/14/01: Clinton's failure to mobilize America to confront foreign terror after the 1993 attack led directly to 9-11 disaster
11/12/01: To the generals: Don't worry about losing support
11/08/01: The death of the white liberal
11/07/01: Our leaders are being transformed in a way unprecedented in post-World War II history

© 2001, Dick Morris