Judy Hauser is a member of the Board of Contributors of the Olympian, the hometown paper of the capital of Washington State.  --  On the solstice, the darkest of day of the year, she wrote:  "Place side by side, [the Bush administration's Pandora's box worth of questionable activities] expose how far we have fallen as a nation."[1]  --  And they all bear witness to an overriding theme: "contempt for the law."  --  This may be why the revelation on Dec. 15 of the Bush administration's illegal program to spy on U.S. citizens with warrants or oversight of any kind has touched a nerve nationwide.  --  Hauser agrees with Seymour Hersh in believing that for many Americans "Katrina was the first inkling that something was awry inside the Bush administration." ...



Local columnists

By Judy Hauser

Olympian (Olympia, WA)
December 21, 2005

Forget the Xbox. It’s Pandora’s box you should be giving serious thought to.

The lid is finally coming off the Bush administration, and a Pandora’s box worth of questionable activities -- the sort we haven’t seen since the Nixon era -- are conspicuously revealing themselves. Alone, they can be excused as misguided decision-making. Placed side by side, they expose how far we have fallen as a nation.

The Bush administration used deception to sell a war, and some of us bought it. They told us prisoner abuses were the work of a few rotten apples, yet the vice president campaigned furiously against anti-torture legislation. It appears secret prisons exist in remote locations overseas, where CIA personnel serve as captor, judge, and jury.

But it is the president’s use of secret, executive orders directing his people to spy on U.S. citizens, with whatever justification they choose and without any judicial oversight, that mirrors the dominant ingredient of this administration: its contempt for the law.

How did we get to this point where anything goes? Shamefully, this Pandora’s box reveals as much about ourselves as it does about the leadership in Washington, D.C.

The attacks of “9/11” terrified us, enraged us, and changed us. For the first time we had to consider that we are not immune to the ills of the world. When more than 3,000 fellow citizens are murdered randomly, personal safety becomes magnified. Through the lens of fear, some of us lost our ability to see clearly, to think rationally -- easy targets for political opportunists wanting to push their agenda.

Standing in line for booster shots, instead of crying and fainting like the other kids, I bit a hole in my tongue. Looking at that scarred indentation today, I realize I was only trading one pain for a more abysmal one.

Desperate for leadership in the dark hours of 9/11, many Americans were willing to tolerate any crude facsimile. For some, the pizza-delivery guy would have met the test. When Mr. Bush swaggered to the podium at Ground Zero, instead of demanding levelheaded leadership, some not only bought into his John Wayne routine, they fed it.

Hungry to legitimize itself after a lusterless first year in office, and seeing a window of opportunity, the Bush administration and its friends in Congress jumped to extort America’s fear and this blind eagerness to follow.

Thus, the Patriot Act and Iraq war resolution were thrown together like a package of Jiffy Mix, by a Congress that traded essential oversight of a runaway White House for showy patriotism.

But now, Pandora’s box has sprung open, and puzzling pieces of misconduct are falling into place. For many, Katrina was the first inkling that something was awry inside the Bush administration.

Even FOX News pundits were scratching their heads at complacency rarely shown by an American president. For all of us, Katrina presented a frightening clue about the readiness of our government in the face of disaster, natural or otherwise.

We now know we could invade a thousand countries, but if there is no planned response, no urgency on the home front, if our leadership disregards the Constitution it’s sworn to protect, our homeland is not safe and “democracy” is meaningless.

--Judy Hauser, a writer, is a member of the Olympian’s Board of Contributors. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..