Friday, March 26, 2004

Participatory Democracy

Folks, I'm going to play this one straight.

The 9/11 Commission hearings this week have marked a watershed event in understanding the precursors to the acts perpetrated on America during a few brief hours on September 11, 2001. In my simple mind, there's a key piece missing in the testimony - that of National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice. Dr. Rice has been blanketing the media over the past two days trying to refute some of the testimony, and has spent quite a few hours in the process. She has previously declined to testify under oath before the commission, claiming "separation" arguments - that is, separation of executive branch involvement in a congressionally mandated inquiry.

Yesterday evening, cracks started to appear in the her steadfast refusal to testify. The White House has offered to have Dr. Rice meet with the commissioners in private - and presumably, not under oath. I know I'm only one guy, but I don't think this is acceptable.

So, this morning, I did a bit of research. I found a contact at the 9/11 Commission other than a "blind email" inbox, and wrote a quick letter. The letter isn't particularly artful or eloquent, but hopefully it gets to the point. Feel free to cut and paste and send as your own.

Dear Mr. Felzenberg,

The Commission hearings this past week were both instructive and revealing, and as a private citizen I commend the Commissioners for conducting a thoughtful inquiry. I note with interest that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has offered to speak once again with the Commissioners in a private meeting.

Given the events of the past week, I think it is critically important, to both the fact finding and national healing processes, that Dr. Rice agree to testify to the Commissioners. Such testimony should be taken only under oath and in a public forum, as have Secretaries Rumsfeld and Powell and other honorable witnesses. In the absence of agreement to proceed under these conditions, I feel the Commissioners should decline to meet behind closed doors with Dr. Rice.

Two and one half years after one of the most defining events in our history, America as a nation has not yet been allowed to complete our grieving. This is not about assigning blame or responsibility. It's about understanding and learning.

Lastly, I would sincerely appreciate it if you would forward this note to Chairman Kean and Vice-Chair Hamilton. I don't believe I'm alone in my desire to have Dr. Rice complete the picture of 9/11 precursors under oath in a public setting, particularly if she desires to rebut prior testimony.

Thank you for your time.