When Barack Obama says that there is no need for a 9/11 Commission to investigate Wall Street, he is wrong.
Senator Obama states in part, "this is not 9/11 where we didn't know who did it." By saying this, Obama seems to reveal a lack of understanding for the need for public accountability. He also seems to fail to understand that Congress cannot be trusted to investigate Wall Street or itself.
On 9/11, we knew who conducted the airline portion of the attacks--it was the 19 suicide hijackers who held Saudi passports and flew the planes into the buildings. But what was perhaps more important to investigate and examine was who in our government failed to protect us from those attacks. Because we never wanted those attacks to happen again. We wanted to learn lessons. We wanted to be safer.
Anyone who followed the creation and work of the 9/11 Commission knows that the Commission's Final Report was far from perfect. The 9/11 Report ultimately failed to hold anyone accountable. In short, nobody was fired or publicly embarrassed. Pathetically, the 9/11 Report's most famous line might have been that "because everyone was at fault therefore nobody was at fault."
But the 9/11 Commission did conduct an expansive, fairly transparent investigation that would have never occurred without its creation. (Incidentally, Senator McCain was the first Republican willing to help with regard to the creation of the 9/11 Commission. He stood up to the Bush administration back in 2002 when nobody else in his party was willing to do so. Indeed, the 9/11 Commission's bill was called the McCain-Lieberman bill. It is for that and for Senator McCain's early stance regarding torture that I will always respect him. But for me, respect doesn't always and automatically translate into a vote.)
The 9/11 Commission's Final Report set out (at least) some of the systemic failures that occurred on behalf of our government agencies and institutions on 9/11 and made wholesale, sweeping recommendations. While those recommendations were never truly implemented, CIA, FBI, DIA, NSA, INS, the State Department, Treasury, NORAD, the Port Authority of NY/NJ, the airlines, airport security, Congress, and even Presidents Bush and Clinton did not escape the Commission's review. Sunlight turns out to be a fairly effective disinfectant.
Perhaps more to the point, the Commission's Final Report topped the NYTimes Best Seller List for months. In other words, the American people were interested and following along with this attempt at open government accountability. (Whether people actually read the 9/11 Final Report or simply placed it onto a dusty bookshelf is another issue.)
Sure, I know the Bush administration's lack of regulation is ultimately to blame for the recent Wall Street debacle. Just like the Bush administration is to blame for the failure to implement many of the 9/11 Commission's final recommendations. But, Bush will be retiring to Texas soon. So while we won't have the satisfaction of voting him out of office, we do have the hopeful notion of a new President who might better understand oversight, transparency, and accountability.
All I know is that I want the names. And I don't mean just the names of the guys who ran Lehman, Bear, Merrill, and AIG. I want the names of all the account managers, brokers, traders, VP's, etc. who participated in this Wall Street ruse. A scam of unsurpassed greed that is having more of a devastating impact on our economy than UBL had with the 9/11 attacks.
We need a systemic disinfectant and deterrent factor when it comes to Wall Street. An independent investigation with non-partisan, disinterested experts is a damn good start. As a taxpayer, I want answers and so should you.
And I have some news for Senator Obama: This Wall Street and economic crisis is not 9/11, inconceivably and alarmingly its effects on our economy look to be worse than 9/11. Senator Obama ought to recognize that.