Thursday, January 15, 2009

Poetic Justice for the Bush White House

"The Moving Finger writes," said Omar Khayyam, "and, having writ, moves on..." But not according to US District Judge Henry Kennedy, who yesterday instructed White House officials to "collect and preserve all e-mails sent or received between March 2003 and October 2005."

He was responding to a suit by Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Government to keep the current occupants from disposing of more than 300 million e-mail messages and 25,000 boxes of documents.

National Security Archive Director Tom Blanton points out: "In six days the Bush Executive Office of the President will be gone and without this order, their records may disappear with them. The White House will complain about the last-minute challenge, but this is a records crisis of the White House's own making."

If and when Congress appoints a special prosecutor to look into alleged criminal behavior in starting the Iraq war, outing Valerie Plame and firing the US Attorneys, among a multitude of possible crimes, the electronic and paper trail from Karl Rove et al will be critical evidence.

In that event, the Bush alumni will have to ponder the rest of Omar Khayyam's poetic wisdom: "nor all thy Piety nor Wit/Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line/Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it."

It will not be the first instance of ancient voices from the Middle East coming back to haunt them.

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