The cover of the final 9/11 report, which can be purchased in bookstores across the United States and around the world. (Image via Wikipedia)One of the many things I learned in government is that the investigative commissions which inquire into a scandal, disaster or atrocity are usually intended to bury the real causes of the incident and trumpet other circumstantial or irrelevant details as if they are shocking or novel. In other words, commissions are cover-ups pretending to be exposés. This is not always the case, but as the stakes rise, it becomes the accepted practice.
One of the masters of this technique has been former House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Lee H. Hamilton (D-Indiana). He cut his teeth as chairman of the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, where he was careful to stop short of implicating President Ronald Reagan of impeachable criminal culpability, and, more importantly, provided the same service to the future President George H.W. Bush. A few smaller fries took the fall, and Reagan, the man whom Republicans retrospectively credit for making the sun shine and the rain fall, was chastised for not being in control of his own immediate subordinates. Bush, of course, was out of the loop. In 1992, Hamilton chaired the House October Surprise Task Force, and failed once again to find Bush culpable of criminal misdeeds.