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Prof. Ken Bode Offers 'Wish List' for New Congress in Weekly Op-Ed

December 15, 2006

bode may 16 2005 hardball.jpgDecember 15, 2006, Greencastle, Ind. - Ken Bode, Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism at DePauw University, shares his "wish list" for the new Congress in today's Indianapolis Star. Chief on the professor's agenda: oversight. "Over the last six years, Congress has seriously neglected its oversight responsibilities, notably in foreign and national security policy. Good oversight by strong committees cuts waste (like the ballooning earmarks) and provides midcourse corrections for failing policies," writes Bode.

"GOP leader Tom DeLay's policy was that when the president and congressional majority are from the same party, 'You don't need oversight hearings.' That's partly what got us into the messes of Iraq and Katrina. Let's see if the Democrats do any better," Dr. Bode adds.

The journalism professor, who spent many years covering politics for CNN, NBC and PBS, says the possibility of Democrats stepping to the plate and enacting real change is "probably a long shot. For the duration of the Iraq war, Democrats have acted more like patsies than as a serious opposition party. Even with public disgust rising and Bush's approval ratings tumbling, the leadership never tried to develop an opposition stance that would rally the faithful."

Bode asserts, "Instead of embracing the Baker-Hamilton commission report and fine-tuning it, the Democratic leadership is allowing the neo-con, Pentagon think-tank desk jockeys to pick it apart. While President Bush shops for ideas and buys time, the Iraqis in the war zone who once cooperated with us have begunHamilton Bush Baker.jpg to pull back, fearful that further American dithering will get them killed. The Iraq Study Group gave Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi a chance to build a consensus Democratic position on the war. Their delay allows a failed president to continue to drive a failed war policy."

America's reputation in regards to human rights needs an extreme makeover, Bode argues. "A good start would be to give the International Criminal Court a fair hearing. The court is based on a treaty joined by 103 countries, but not the U.S. Its mandate is to try people accused of the most serious offenses of international concern, including genocide and war crimes. The Bush administration, believing that international organizations not controlled by the U.S. are bad news, has opposed the court and refused to participate. Meanwhile, the court has used its jurisdiction to bring cases against the cult armies that displaced 3 million in Uganda, the local warlords who slaughter tribes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the enormous genocidal atrocities in Darfur."

Finally, Bode calls upon the new Congress to change the course of relations with Cuba. "The gravity of Fidel Castro's illness gives America an opportunity to repair nearly 50 years of failed policy toward Cuba," he declares. The Cuban leader's brother, Raul, "indicates a willingness to talk, and when Fidel dies, the U.S. should respond by lifting the travel ban, opening to all Americans the possibility of visiting Cuba."

Access the column in its entirety at College News.org.

Last Friday, Ken Bode used his weekly op-ed space to pay tribute to the New York Times' R.W. Apple Jr., who passed away recently. Read more in this previous story.

Source: Indianapolis Star

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