The Privacy of Power

by Cari Oleskewicz

I have an idea.

A host of Enron executives such as Jeffrey Skilling, Kenneth Lay, Andrew Fastow, and Michael Kopper, are refusing to testify before Congress, and taking no shame in their bald-faced lies to the American public.

In case you have not seen any footage on television or their pictures in the papers, these hearings have been a parade of arrogant, smirking, wealthy, over-privileged white boys who are an enormous threat to national security.

Which brings me to my idea. Let’s pack them up, blindfold them, tie their feet and wrists, and ship them out to Guantanamo Bay, our current resort for terrorists and suspected malevolents. Let’s keep them there, without access to family or legal counsel, until they*re ready to talk.

A violation of their human rights? Nonsense. These men are dangerous. They have been highly trained for this sort of combat.

No, they did not crash airplanes into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon. However, their destruction is equally as historic, and the shredded lives left in their wake are equally as significant.

Mr. Skilling, Mr. Lay, Mr. Fastow, and the others in their den of thieves are financial terrorists whose motives are morally reprehensible.

They have ruined people, collapsed futures and devastated loyal employees. They lie, cheat and steal, and they do so with a fierce sense of entitlement. Even now, as the story leaks out bit by horrific bit, the boys who got rich during this disaster shrug with superior indifference, and claim no wrongdoing. Comfortable in denial, they trust that their powerful friends (i.e. President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Attorney General Ashcroft) will protect them. The White House may feign surprise and outrage in public, but make no mistake about which side they support.

The General Accounting Office has had to resort to suing our good Vice President for information about his meetings with Enron. Mr. Cheney is adamant that his meetings were private, and that the White House must "preserve the principle of obtaining unvarnished advice from any source."

Private? The Bush Administration cares nothing about privacy, just ask John Ashcroft. He has gloried in using the worst terrorist event in history to chip away our rights with a confident smile and cold assurance that this is all for our own good. The Bush Administration has decided that privacy can be effectively compromised in the name of national security.

Oh, to be president and empowered to murmur "do as I say, not as I do...."

Here’s what the Vice President really means when he talks about preserving principles and unvarnished advice: When a big campaign contributor wants to speak to the White House, we’re all ears. We welcome their input because they pay for it.

Here’s what President Bush really means when he talks about executive privilege: Don’t question me.

Here’s what Mr. Skilling really means when he says that to his knowledge, his company was always in "strong financial condition:" I never thought I’d get caught.

The Bush Administration needs to come down hard on this kind of corporate crime, and they’re not off to a very good start.

So let’s round ‘em up like a good old fashioned Texas rodeo. We*ll put Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in charge of getting them to Cuba and gently coaxing them into telling Congress everything that they know. The lies, the fraud, the insider trading... with a clever lawyer, this behavior could be construed as treason, could it not? Taliban soldiers and Al Queda fighters would make fine bedfellows for the likes of these men.

We’d then have to decide, of course, - Does the Geneva Convention apply?

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