When the president commissions a bipartisan investigation into an important matter of policy or law or to study a controversy, reasonable people tend to regard the panel’s conclusions as dispositive of the issue at hand. To be sure, some may question the bias of this or that panelist or the panel’s failure to evaluate certain evidence, but barring such evidence of bias, most will look seriously at the results of the investigation.
Similarly, if the Justice Department brings in a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of criminal behavior, most people expect that his investigation will be thorough. Should the prosecutor find evidence to substantiate such behavior, he will press charges. Without such evidence, he won’t issue indictments. And when the investigation is particularly thorough, people will understand that where no indictment was issued, the prosecutor didn’t find enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonble doubt that a crime had occurred.
As Democrats’ hatred of President Bush increased, they have called for no end to investigations of his Administration. They claimed they wanted to find out the truth. But, when those investigations, be they criminal or informational, reach conclusions with which they disagree, instead of finding such conclusions dispositive, they call for still more investigations. Or, as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid did on Tuesday, misrepresent the findings of an investigation to suit their ends.
Like so many Democrats (and others on the Left), Mr. Reid holds that Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation proves something which Mr. Fitzgerald says the investigation didn’t even address. Given that many on the Left found (to borrow the words of one of my most persistent critics) that “Mr. Fitzgerald handled himself so incredibly well,” they should take him at his word that, “This indictment is not about the war.” But, that statement is at odds with the result they wanted his investigation to yield–evidence that the White House twisted intelligence in order to make the case for war.