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July 13, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1973-07-13

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Summer Daily
Summer EdiIion of
Edited and managed by students at the
University of Michigan
Friday, July 13 1973 News Phone: 764-0552
Expediency seems
While House ethic
ONLY SIXTEEN MONTHS AGO, John Mitchell was the
chief law enforcement officer of the United States,
a man who marked his tenure by a theme of "law and
Yet his testimony before the Senate Watergate Com-
mittee has displayed a stubborn loyalty to the service of
power over the exercise of democracy and a troubling
valuation of expediency over ethics.
Throughout his appearance before the Ervin Com-
mittee, Mitchell has denied any participation in the plan-
ning of the Watergate break-in, but has admitted that
he was involved in the cover-up effort.
JN HIS TESTIMONY, Mitchell admitted a number of
"irregularities" that would be considered improper for
a common citizen much a person in his governmental
position. To list a few:
. He failed to inform the President of criminal
acts by his trusted aides in connection with the Water-
gate break-in;
* He perjured himself in sworn testimony before a
grand jury concernin his own cover-up role; and
* While, at the same time orosecuting radicals for
a conspiracy to kidnap Henry Kissinger, he, himself was
listening to plans to kidnan radicals and place them in
comromising situations. Yet he took no action.
Mitchell has stated that in hindsight he regrets these
and other actions. What, then is the ethic that allows a
man who self-riehtoulv nroclaimed himself the cham-
pion of law and order to hreak the law?
In his testimonv. Mitchell has given a significant
revelation of the homaoe and subservience that seems
to have nervaded the advisors and confidantes of the
J STILL BEITEVE that the most important thing to this
cotntrv was the elaction of Richard Nixon," Mitchell
told the cnnmmittae Wednesday.
H-Tis pn-ition is that the Nixon ecold not be informed
of White Nose cometicit' in the Watereate break-in be-
cause he would, as Peeidnt. have been faced with the
alternative of particinatin<r in the cover-up or damag-
ing his own chanes for re-election.
And asked Wednesday by Sen. Sam Ervin (D-S.C.)
whether his acquiesence to Jeb Magruder's perjury be-
fore a grand jury last August had been the proper course
of action, Mitchell replied that at the time it was "very
THUS, MTTCT-TFT., PLACED the political fortunes of
the Richard Nixon ahove the resnonsihilities of the
office of Pr"rident to execnte the laws of the United
States as char,-ed hv the fConstitltion
He not only lniced lovalty to the nolitical interests
of his friend and former iaw partner over revelation of
the truth, but also did his best to subvert the democratic
process while doing so.
The ournose of the Watergate Committee is to inves-
tigate fully the facts of the case so that remedial legis-
lation can be proposed and enacted.
BUT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to legislate ethics. There is no
law that can change human character. Reform in
government must come rather in the men who hold these
positions and the person who chooses them.
Unnecessary arrest

THE ARREST OF four nude swimmers by Washtenaw
County sheriff's deputies Tuesday night is another
example of the futile attempt of law enforcement of-
ficers to enforce "morality".
Although the four persons apprehended by the depu-
ties explained that "everyone here (Gravel Pit pond)
swims nude," the officers still booked them on charges
of indecent exposure.
With violent crime on the rise, the sheriff's depu-
ties should have more pertinent business than harass-
ing "skinny dippers."
AND THAT IS a bare fact.

not insanec
Nixon in total command, but...
likes to have options limited

robert barkin

FROM the testimony of John Mitchell before
the Senate Watergate the last three days,
one might be led to believe that the President is
totally isolated by his staff from the current of
events swirling around hims.
But in fact, this is far from the truth. In reality,
the President not only has a total grasp on the
country's affairs but also on his own senses.
By describing a typical day's activities in the
White House, it is hoped the rumors of Mr. Nixon
being lost somewhere out in left field of D. C.
stadium will be finally laid to rest:
Aide: Good morning, Mr. President.
Nixon: Who? Oh, yes. I am the President.
Aren't I, Osgood? -
Aide: Of course, you are. Now about the meet-
ing with Mr. Kissinger.
Nixon: Mr. . . Mr. Kissin ... Oh, I remember.
He has something to do with foreign policy. Yes,
yes. I remember now. Vietnam. We did have
something to do with Vietnam, didn't we?
Aide: Of course. Mr. President. I told you all
about our Vietnam involvement yesterday. Today,
we .. . I mean . . . you have to give instructions
to Kissinger about Cambodia.
Nixon: Very good. What are we . . . um .
am I going to tell Mr. Kissinger?
Aide: I have narrowed the elements of your
decision down to two options. We can either sell
our country down the river to the Communists

and decide that the free world is no longer worth
defending. To do that we should stop bombing.
But if we want to have an honorable peace,
one that will sustain the values that you hold
so highly, we should pulverize those commies.
The choice is, of course, up to you.
Nixon: Thank you very much. Now, let's see.
This will take a great deal of consideration. I
think that .
Aide: Yes, Mr. President. I think you are cor-
rect. We should continue bombing. A very wise
decision indeed.
Nixon: (smiling) Why thank you. What is next
un the agenda?
Aide: We have to deal with that pesty Water-
gate Committee. Now, again, I am relieving
you of the unnecessary burdens of your job by
giving you a two-part option.
Nixon: You're very good at that Osgood. Keep
up the good work.
Aide: The committee wants your presidential
papers so they can see what has been going on
around here. Now, you can either destroy our .. .
er . . . your presidency by giving them those pa-
pers or you can retain your dignity by refusing
that request.
Nixon: I like the Presidency, Osgood. I want
to keep my dignity.
Aide: Very good, sir. Now one last thing. Julie
Eisenhower wants to see you for a few minutes.
Nixon: Could you fill me in on her, Osgood?

Mitchell enters into history as a
man abandoned and disgraced

"This is the last thing in the
world I wanted to do. I've got all
the things I ever wanted. I'm a
fat and prosperous Wall Street
lawyer, which is just what I al-
ways wanted to be."-John N.
Mitchell, shortly after accepting
the Attorney Generalship of the
U.S., 1968.
YOU would see guys like him
around the New York AC or
the Downtown Athletic Club. In
some odd and remote way, they
were Irish,but Ireland was out of
them. There was nothing of the Fa-
mine in them, no memory of the
crops dying in the fields, children
withering, the men broken, the wo-
men dying. There was nothing of
the IRA in them, no lyric of old
hurt sung by a Blind Raftery or a
Yeats. Ireland was gone. Their true
country was money.
And so, after Fordham and St.
John's John Mitchell gave most
of his life to selling bonds. There is
no record that he ever used his
legal talents to help the poor or the
insulted of this city. He saved no
one from the Tombs or the electric
HE LIVED among us, one of
those faceless men you see around
Wall Street, and made his money,
and never did anything at all for



city. He was, as he said, "fat chell. Nixon presented Mitchell to
d prosperous." And then he us on Dec. 12 that year, when he
nt to work with Richard Nixon. announced his entire Cabinet at a
lixon must have been impressed. group press conference. A dozen
chell was campaign director faceless men, whose average age
the 1968 campaign, and there was in the 50s, trudged before the
re a lot of stories in the maga- cameras and Nixon said:
es that described Mitchell as "John Mitchell is more than just
man closest to Nixon. Mitchell one of the nation's great lawyers.
ided his approval when the just- I have learned to know him over
ninated Nixon rose before the the past five years as a man of
embled Republicans on Aug. 8, superb judgment. One who recog-
John Mitchell is more than just one of the
nation's great lawyers . . . (He is) a man of
superb judgment. I think he will bring an extra
dimension . . (to -the office of Attorney
Richard Nixon, Dec. 12, 1968
58 in Miami Beach, and looked nizes the necessity to assure jus-
oover the crowd, and began to tice as well as law and order. I
sak words that at one point think he will bring an extra dimen-
ought forth a deep, animal roar. sion..
at was when Nixon said: Did the extra dimension include
'If we are to restore order and wiretapping and bugging? We're
pect for law in this country, told that John Mitchell sat in his
re's one place where we're going office with Gordon Liddy and lis-
begin-we're going to have a tened to conspiracies to kidnap,
w Attorney General of the Unit- mug and burglarize. Did he order
States." Liddy arrested,- or 'ask him to
That was, of course, John Mit- come back-not once but twice?
AND THIS WEEK, Mitchell has
come before the Ervin Committee.
He is already an accused perjurer,
facing 5e years in jail if convicted
in the Vesco case. And it is pos-
sible to feel pity.
Nixon has abandoned him, as he
has abandoned all the others. Hal-
deman and Ehrlichman are point-
ing their fingers at him. They are
clearly looking to make Mitchell
the fall guy, knowing full well if he
swings, he will die in prison.
Abandoned, disbraced, he goes
now into history. Long ago, Rich-
ard Nixon and his friends made the
Fifth Amendment into the equiva-
lent of a guilty plea, so Mitchell
doesn't even have that right to
salvage what is left of his name.
He is a man who commutes to
grand juries now, where other men
try to decide the truth. He was
one of Richard Nixon's stars and
the constellation grows dimmer ev-
ery day. Pity him, because coming
to the end, it has not been much of
a life.
Pete Hamill is a writer for the
New York Post. Copyright 1973,
at New York Post Corporation.

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