Democrats & Liberals Archives

How to Make Government Ethical

Cynics may laugh. However, President Bush has decided to send White House employees to the classroom where they are learning about ethics. He thinks a class in ethics would change the leaking, lying and corruption pervading his administration. No way. There is only one way to teach ethics, and that is by example.

Incredulously, I read in the newspaper:

"More than 3,000 employees from agencies and offices under the Executive Office of the President are required to attend the hour-long briefings [on ethics] over the next two weeks. The sessions this week are reserved for staff with security clearances."

Andy Card and Karl Rove are attending. But the article made a point of telling us that Bush and Cheney are not.

Rather than running ethics classes, Bush should take advice from 2 people on either side of the political divide: Harry Reid and John McCain.

Harry Reid, the Minority Leader in the senate, called on Bush to rule out a pardon for I. Lewis Libby, the former top White House aide who faces trial on charges of obstruction of justice and perjury in the CIA leak case. Reid urged the president to

"avoid falling in the footsteps of his father who pardoned six men, some were convicted, some were indicted in the Iran-Contra scandal."

Ethics is taught by example. Reid is showing Bush what he must do to demonstrate ethics.

Well, why should Bush follow the advice of a Democrat? OK, here is what McCain has to say. He is saying it in the form of an amendment that he has vowed to place on every important bill until it is passed. It says:

"No person in the custody or under the effective control of the Department of Defense or under detention in a Department of Defense facility shall be subject to any treatment or technique of interrogation not authorized by and listed in the United States Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation."

Bush said he would veto any legislation that includes this amendment. This means he is for torture - something that almost everybody would agree is not ethical. To demonstrate what he means by ethics, Bush should reverse himself and praise everybody who is against torture.

Ethics classes are a waste of money. Bush should teach members of his administration ethics by example. He should make it clear he will not tolerate criminal behavior and that he is absolutely against torture.

Posted by Paul Siegel at November 9, 2005 5:10 PM