By Tony Russell


Washington, Jan. 10

The impeachment trial of President Bush, opening October 5 in Washington, will feature the most high-level application of the so-called "idiot defense" in legal history. In the idiot defense—sometimes called the "ostrich defense"—the defendant argues that he should not be held accountable because he was ignorant of what was taking place. With high-ranking officials, the normal strategy is to blame underlings for wrongdoing.

Accordingly, President Bush plans to tell the House Committee on Impeachment that he knew nothing about the numerous crimes and unconstitutional measures taken during his time in the White House. In a tour of carefully selected friendly venues, Bush has contended that his only mistake was in trusting Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Condoleezza Rice, all of whom, he says, gave him faulty advice or knowingly misled him.

"No President knows everything going on in his administration," Bush argued in a speech at the War College, "so no one should expect me to take responsibility for the crimes Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the others were committing. The torture, the kidnappings, the unconstitutional detaining of prisoners without charge, the unlawful wiretappings, the illegal invasion of Iraq—all those were undertaken without my knowledge."

Mr. Bush admitted that he had made numerous speeches advocating and defending those crimes, but claimed such remarks should be inadmissible as evidence. "Everyone understands that I didn't write those speeches," he said. "I just read what somebody put in front of me. They could have been cookie recipes, for all I knew."

When shown his signature on various incriminating documents, such as those authorizing the unlawful wiretappings, Mr. Bush said, "Look, every morning Dick [Vice President Cheney] brought in a pile of things for me to sign, and then I could go work out in the gym. I might as well have been autographing souvenir baseballs. If Dick slipped something in the pile that shouldn't have been there, shame on him." ... Continued at readtonyrussell.blogspot.com

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