Congress only works when they want to, and then not very well. I realize it’s been said a million times by people who said it better, but I thought I’d state the problem first thing.
Of all the things that Congress could have done well, or right, the investigation and subsequent policies adopted by Congress after 9-11 seem to be something that they could have done in a bi-partisan way. The investigation has so many holes in it that, dare I say it, you could fly an airliner through. The fact that most of the hijackers were of Saudi Arabian descent was conveniently ignored at the time so that we could invade Iraq. The makeup of the hijackers was ignored by Congress, but not the victims and their families.
“Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” was the name given to the bill that would allow the 9-11 victims the right to sue a foreign country for reparations. President Obama vetoed the bill and Congress has overwritten the veto. I think President Obama rightly reasoned that allowing private citizens to sue foreign governments was opening up a Pandora’s box of epic proportions. The most obvious consequence that comes to mind is that the U.S. has been promoting death and destruction throughout the world for the last fifty years. How much does the U.S. owe various victims around the world? Will we ever be able to pay the debt, particularly when punitive damages are added?
I’d like to propose a bill, “The Justice Against Congress Members Who Invade The Wrong Country Act“. Rather than going through the machinations of an international court, victims could just sue the problem makers here. Oh, that’s right, citizens can’t sue the government, Congress already took care of that. I guess the only recourse for the 9-11 victims in that situation would be to vote out the politicians that set the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund awards and the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act too low.
Holding Congress responsible seems much more viable than attempting to sue the Saudis, but, maybe not.