"Starr kept thinking back to another investigation involving a president.
As a young lawyer in the late 1970s, he had tried a case with David Belin,
who had worked on the Warren Commission inquiry into the assassination of
John F. Kennedy. Starr asked him about the Warren Commission's finding that
a single gunman had killed the president. Belin said he was haunted by
criticism that the commission had rushed to judgment. Belin was certain of
its conclusion, but the public was not, and in that way, he believed, the
commission had failed. By not pursuing every lead and playing out every
scenario, the inquiry left doubts as decades passed.
"That lesson had guided Starr in his investigation of Vincent Foster's death. He took two years, ran down every theory, and produced a careful, comprehensive report pronouncing it a suicide and all but silencing the conspiracy theorists."
Let's take this little blast of propaganda from these two Washington Post hacks from the end and work forward. How about this for spin in justifying Kenneth Starr's stalling tactics, his sitting on the case, letting it grow old? He knew he could get by with it because he could be confident that the press, led by the likes of Schmidt and Weisskopf, would not keep the heat on. Now they don't just spin the story, they flat out lie about the stall. Starr took over from Robert Fiske at the end of the summer of 1994. He produced his report on Foster in October of 1997. That's slightly longer than three years, not two as they say.
Then they lie some more, saying that the long-delayed report was careful and comprehensive and that it "all but" silenced the independent-minded doubters of the official line whom they slur as "conspiracy theorists." Some silence! The lawyer for the witness, whose unwavering, widely corroborated testimony proves that Foster did not drive his own car to Fort Marcy Park where his body was found, actually had his 20-page letter included with the Starr report. That letter, attached by the order of a 3-judge federal panel over Starr's strenuous objections, thoroughly demolishes the suicide conclusion. In other words, Starr's "careful, comprehensive report" was blown out of the water before it even got out of the slip. The silent ones were the news reporters who have withheld from the public the news of this lawyer's devastating addendum to the Starr report.
More recently, the lawyer, John Clarke, the witness, Patrick Knowlton, and an independent researcher, Hugh Turley, produced a carefully documented 511-page single-spaced report of their own countering Starr's 114-page, double-spaced cover-up. You can read it at http//FBI Cover Up They explain in detail how the cover-up of Foster's murder was performed by the FBI, the U.S. Park Police, the White House, the Congress, and the U.S. news media. Unlike Starr, three-quarters of whose footnotes are references to commissioned reports that he continues to keep secret, they support everything with public information. Some silence!
Also, since Starr's report came out, this writer has produced parts 3, 4, 5, and 6 of "America's Dreyfus Affair, the Case of the Death of Vincent Foster." Some silence, indeed!
But silence after Starr was certainly what the propaganda script had called for. According to the script, all of the doubts about Foster's death were supposed to have emanated from the far right wing, funded primarily by that scion of the Mellon fortune, Richard Mellon Scaife of Pittsburgh. Schmidt and Weisskopf don't miss the chance to tell us that one more time. And, indeed, Scaife's primary fake right scribe on the Foster case, Christopher Ruddy, has pretty much dummied up on Foster since Starr produced his report. Anyone taking his cue from Ruddy might well believe that Starr had silenced him.
Now let's consider what they tell us David Belin told Starr about the Warren Commission. Belin admits that the commission did a less than thorough job, but he's sure of the conclusion. It certainly sounds like he really wasn't interested in getting at the truth when he could make up his mind based upon the hasty job they did (though they did manage in their few months of work to slap together 26 volumes, a much more vigorous cover-up effort than Starr's). I sure wish Belin were not already dead and in hell so I could ask him how much more time he thought it might take to explain that hesitating, direction-changing, bone-shattering, lung-collapsing pristine bullet that they tell us came out of the muzzle of Lee Harvey Oswald's Mannlicher Carcano.
No sooner is the apologia for Kenneth Starr in the bookstore, than along
comes R. Emmett Tyrell to praise it. Tyrrell, the editor of the American
Spectator is one of the leading propagandists assigned to mislead
conservatives. Here, in an article that appeared first at Townhall.com on
April 27 and in the faux conservative Washington Times on April 28, he tries
to get the faithful to swallow Foster poison by coating it with Lewinsky
candy. He and his McLean, VA, neighbor, Kenneth Starr, are two peas in a
WASHINGTON -- There is good news for those of us who see the world as it is
and hope our fellow Americans will, too. I have in mind those of us who see
our neighbor's household pet and recognize it as a dog, not a potential
beneficiary of the Bill of Rights and an eventual naturalized citizen of the
United States. We see spring showers and avail ourselves of an umbrella
rather than a bomb shelter. We see prosecutors pursing a crooked politician
and recognize the workings of the American legal system, not the intrigues
of a "vast right-wing conspiracy."
The good news this week is that Susan Schmidt and Michael Weisskopf's book, Truth at Any Cost: Ken Starr and the Unmaking of Bill Clinton, has just arrived in bookstores. A disciplined account of Ken Starr's investigation of Whitewater and all the attendant Clinton scandals that followed, Truth at Any Cost sees the Independent Counsel's investigation of President Clinton as it is. It is not, as Clinton diehards spin it, a "coup d'etat" or a "conspiracy."
Such hyperbolic squawks are examples of what the eminent American historian Richard Hofstadter termed "the paranoid style in American politics." Rather, Starr's work has been the orderly procedures of a duly constituted prosecutor pursing the irregularities of a politician who clearly and repeatedly has lied under oath and obstructed justice.
There is nothing particularly unusual or villainous here. Politicians lie all the time. Some -- the most reckless -- lie under oath. To those of us who see the world as it is, Clinton is what he has been since we began viewing him sometime around 1991, to wit, a rogue who puts himself above the law. He is, as a now famous judge described him after seeing him as he is even under oath. According to Judge Susan Webber Wright, "The president responded to plaintiff's questions by giving false, misleading, and evasive answers that were designed to obstruct the judicial process." And she cited him for contempt of court.
Through all the years of Clinton scandals the Clintons and their apologists have tried to hornswoggle the public into seeing things as they are not. They have insisted that Clinton is a public servant cruelly beset by "scandalmongers," though they offer no explanation as to why he attracts these swarms of "scandalmongers" while previous presidents have remained comparatively scandalmonger-free. They say that except for a regrettable libidinal lapse with the callipygian Monica he has led a morally irreproachable life in the White House, though they cannot explain why during his years as Arkansas' chief executive officer he was accused of precisely the same kind of misbehavior that put him on the road to impeachment in Washington. They say that his critics are not critics, but "Clinton haters."
Even I have been called a Clinton hater! Just the other day after an interview with what seemed to be an objective and equable journalist from a moderately liberal magazine, she actually described me as the "premier Clinton hater." She went on to call my magazine "the ultraconservative American Spectator." For whatever reason, there are large numbers of people in and around politics who cannot see the world as it is. The American Spectator is no more "ultraconservative" than her magazine, the New Republic, is "ultraliberal." "Ultras" are farther to the right and to the left. To think otherwise is to think that any magazine with a point of view is extremist. Such thinking is not quite adult, or at least not very cosmopolitan.
On both counts, I believe my interviewer innocent. She is merely another casualty of the Clinton campaign to depict any critic as a fanatic. After all, can you think of any critic of the Clintons, no matter how temperate, whom the Clintons respectfully disagree with? Is there any Clinton critic -- or for that matter any Clinton victim -- who is not a "Clinton hater"? I specifically informed my sunny interviewer when she called that I am not a "Clinton hater." I am a Clinton chuckler. Rather than hating Clinton, I have been laughing ever since, early in his revels, it struck me that he and his bossy wife are the 1990s incarnations of Mr. and Mrs. Warren G. Harding of Marion, Ohio. Surviving Hardings are free to object, but please do not call me a Harding hater.
Of course I exaggerate, but I do so to amuse. When the Clintons and their apologists do so with hyperbolic references to conspirators and haters they do so to confuse the public and to smear their opponents. That is why the arrival of Schmidt and Weisskopf's Truth at Any Cost is so welcome. Cleanly written, lucidly reported, Truth at Any Cost disinters the facts of the Starr investigation from the bovine fertilizer. It is a very good read for those who desire to see the world as it is.
April 28, 2000
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