SECTION SEVEN

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COLUMN SIXTY-ONE, JULY 1, 2001
(Copyright 2001 The Blacklisted Journalist)

LETTER FROM INDIA
A TURBANED MAN'S ATTEMPT TO SAVE THE PRESIDENT

Unlike the unelected simpleton now occupying the White House and despite the determined campaign by America's Repugnicants to demonize William Jefferson Clinton, this country's 42nd President was and remains widely popular not only within his own country but around the world. So popular that when the Repugnicants tried to impeach Clinton, Inder Dan Ratnu, a writer living as far away as the village of Barath ka gaon in India, felt compelled to "save" the President by writing a book entitled Ultimate Defense Against Impeachment.To do so, he had to make the heart-rending decision to leave his dying father and journey to the "Pink City" of Jaipur. Following is the preface for the book, an e-edition of which is now available at http://www.netboundbooks.com as "Ultimate Defense Against Impeachment." The book will be published in paperback as The Ultimate Defense, available from Michael Burchet , 15 Wild Flower Lane, Traveler's Rest , South Carolina 29690. Email- mburchet@innova.net .

Ever since Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States, like millions of others across the world I too have been fascinated by his youthfulness, wits, and charm. I admired the achievement of his rising from being a "fatherless child," who lost his father "even before his birth" and faced rigorous adversity in his childhood days, to the post of President of the United States---the most powerful man in the world.  In spite of his clever mind, it was his childlike simplicity, smile and at times even tearful eyes that always kept me wondering and bound to him. His habit of hugging people with visible intimacy and human touch was another aspect that always drew both my attention and admiration.  I have watched him with great interest ever since his name began to figure in news bulletins and papers; so much so that when I saw him on TV I stopped any work, including eating my food, just to watch him.

When the first tidbits of the sexual scandals surrounding President Clinton began to appear in newspapers and magazines, they served to entertain me as much as they did the rest of the world. I was somewhat impressed by the President's cleverness when the first inklings of the Monica Lewinsky scandal began to creep out into the press and onto TV.  It was a fun item that kept entertaining me for many months until finally one day on the 17th of August 1998, the President took a U turn on his earlier denials and openly admitted he misguided his wife, his family, and the American people. That was the day when suddenly alarm bells began to sound in my mind. I was certain that the scandal would lead to the ouster of the President through the process of impeachment.  I was convinced at that very time that the President had told the earlier lies to cover up his sexual relation with Miss Lewinsky in order to escape embarrassment as well as to avert estrangement with his wife and the breakage of his family. Anyone, I felt, would have done so under such circumstances.

But my revelation had an additional dimension: that the ramifications of this would cost the President his very job.  To me it was plain because I had as much confidence in the competence of his Republican opponents as I had in the President himself. That gave rise to a great anxiety in my mind since such a turn of events would spell the terrible end of a great talent which polished, shone and dazzled the world under the conditions of freedom and democracy---values that were the motivation behind the fight by the Allied powers under the able leadership of Winston Churchill against Adolf Hitler and his philosophy of domination by force. Here was the best example of how a person humbly born but under free conditions could through his talents and hard work rise to the top of a nation, as opposed to inevitably perishing under a dictatorship. And here was a person full of basic decency who deserved to be helped.

I thought that rather than expressing mere mental or verbal sympathy, I must do something concrete to "help" the President.  But how could I, a poor man from a remote backward corner of India, "help" the President of the United States? Could I really do so? That was the big question. I felt myself nothing more than a "rat" when I thought of the President, and he seemed to me a big cat, a lion, or even an elephant. This comparison suddenly inspired an idea in my mind.  A rat could really help a big cat or an elephant caught in a net, and "caught in a net" the President was.  A rat has incisors that can cut the net. Did I have any weapon of the sort? I found that I had none---not on my body, nor under my clothes. But I had one weapon in my mind that perhaps could help:  literary talents.   I thought that the President could save himself by obtaining the equivalent of a  "pardon, which he could accomplish by coming out to openly admit his mistakes and to express remorse through an address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, which was the only body in fact empowered to remove the President from office.  In my mind, this was the proper forum in which to present his case directly, and that would be his ultimate means of defense.

I then set out to write the speech the President was to deliver.  I also worked out the reactions that the words could invoke. While writing this speech, I was suddenly reminded that the President was a "fatherless child" who lost his father "even before his birth."  Here was something, I thought, that he could invoke in his favor---"deprivation of love" as the grounds for falling into the love affair that was at the root of the scandal.  I was confident that this could give a powerful emotional touch to the President himself and to his countrymen, since it is most extraordinary for a man with such a misfortune right at the beginning of his creation (birth) to rise to be the all-time most powerful man in the world in the entire history of mankind, and this fact, I felt, could be very powerful if used in his defense. Therefore, I included this in the speech.

I wanted to send the speech to the President through a letter.  But a very strong thought overpowered this idea:  Who was going to read such letters at the White House? Did they have time to read such letters of advice from unknown persons around the world? I guessed not. There was no question of such a letter of advice being brought to the personal attention of the President. But perhaps a book could be, as in fact my earlier book about Churchill had been.  Or at least so I assumed on the basis of the card I received personally signed by the President.  I always interpreted the card to mean that the President had personally seen my book; so I guessed this idea in the book form would most certainly reach the President since it was relevant to him and the burning crisis at hand.  But the question again was what to write in the proposed book?  The letter I had mooted hardly covered 7 to 10 pages in all.  Suddenly it dawned upon me that the inclusion of all the possible events starting with Miss Lewinsky's entry into the White House and the future events leading up to the eve of the final impeachment, referring to the speech and the consequential events, could in fact constitute a full story of a book.  And that was precisely what I did.

First I visualized and wrote the story of the possible encounters of the President. Meanwhile, events kept unfolding, and whatever relevant tidbits were appearing in TV news flashes and Indian newspapers I included in the chapter "The Starr Report."  The rest of it, including the debate, came purely from imagination.  While writing the debate, I discovered a queer analytical note in my mind.  I found it easier to work out the arguments in "defense" of the President than to "attack" him.  To my own surprise, a few of my American readers of the book later informed me that most of the events I visualized had come true---except for the President's resorting to my suggestion and the consequential events.  As an afterthought, in order to minimize the chances of myself being dragged into a court either by President Clinton or the First Lady or the clever Mr. Starr, I wrote out the final chapter through which I could put all events related to this saga well into the past (in spite of most of them being in the future at the time of writing the book) by rolling the time frame forward 2000 years into the future.  I thought that such a device would serve as a foolproof shield for me, as the book was an advance copy of the one reproduced by my progeny in the year A.D. 4000, on a Moon of a distant galaxy, by the discovery of thoughts that revolved in my mind---a discovery that was to be made through the then-advanced science of genetics.

While writing the book as an attempt to "rescue" the President, I became conscious of the fact that the story I was writing was actually building in two theaters: one was America, where the President was the chief actor; and another was India, where I was the participating actor from conceiving the idea of writing the book to bringing it to the personal notice of the President.  In this manner I laid out my own role---what I was doing and what I intended to do---in the chapter, "The Turbaned Man," where I outlined the entire plan of why and how I was to bring to the notice of the President this whole work that I had designed to be helpful to him.  Thus the writing of this book and my presentation of it to the President also became the part of the story of the book itself.

Unlike the American opponents of the President, who sought to satisfy their glands of bile by "ousting" the President through impeachment, I, like millions of other Clinton supporters across the globe, was of the view that the disgraceful ouster of the President from the White House would help nobody in the world.  Nevertheless, I did not allow my good will for the President to come in the way of either my freedom of expression or my keeping close to the truths that have since become so well known to the world.

I started writing this work on 15 September 1998.  Most of the story I wrote by the bedside of my ailing father, Doonger Danji Ratnu, at my native village---"Barath ka gaon," near POKARAN [where India carried out her nuclear explosions] and completed it there on 1 November 1998, only two days before the U.S. Congressional elections. In view of the 


THE CHAPTERS

1. The Beginning

2. The Encounters

3. The Starr Report

4. The Debate

5. The Turbaned Man

6. The Reactions

7. The Dream

8. The Speech & The Aftermath


onrush of the actual events at Washington, which were threatening to overtake the publishing of the work, I decided to leave for Jaipur, the Pink City, (where I am presently residing with my wife and children) despite the grave state of my father's health.  I explained to him, and in fact to the rest of my family members, that it was a "lifetime opportunity" for me, without giving out the details of my mission to "rescue" the President of the United States---since I suspected that telling them the full details might result in not only my becoming a laughing stock in my village and just might lead to an immediate sabotage of the project.  As far as I was concerned, it was the most serious thing of my life.

But my father's health was an equally serious matter.  My father, while lying on his death bed did permit me with a signal of his hand.  So with a heavy heart, yet driven by an irrepressible dream and a mystical force, I left for Jaipur on the evening of 3 November. This was an act of ungratefulness which will remain a blot upon my family culture and a burden thrust on my conscience as long as I live.  I reached Jaipur, but could not do anything concrete since my heart and mind kept wandering back to my native village.  Barely three days after I left my village, on 6 November, I received the bolt from the blue---the terrible news of the death of my father, who on that morning had been consigned to flames back at the village without his eldest son's [my] shoulders being offered to carry him on his last journey---which is the desire of every Indian father.

On the evening of 7 November, I reached my village only to join the grieving, wailing mother, uncles and brothers.  Under Hindu religion the last rites are carried out for 12 days, and even after that for about one month one has to remain at home to attend to the grieving late-comers. But in view of the top emergency arising for the future of President Clinton at Washington, I had to leave my village on the very 13th day (18 November) for Jaipur where I was to start the ABCs of the printing process of the book. Which I would send to the President just as radio had begun to report that the movement to oust the President was fast gathering momentum. I had to beat them before they could beat the President.

On arrival, I immediately got into gear and handed over the manuscript to a typist of my confidence---who during the day did other work at his workplace and only during the nights at his home attended to my work.  At this stage I was very conscious of keeping the project confidential.  Since I feared that any move to reveal it might invite unforeseen and unwanted trouble, thus bungling the project and ultimately harming the best interests of the President. Slowly and gradually, from 19 November 1998 to 25 December 1998, 37 days in all, I thrice edited the work (singlehandedly in order to keep it confidential), had the cover prepared by a computer graphics person (who had done the covers for my earlier books), got it printed and bound, and finally pulled the first copy out of the box and immediately dispatched it on 26 December to the President. By then, impeachment hearings had already begun in the full House. There was no time left to undertake the exercise as outlined in the chapter "The Turbaned Man," so I sent the book with a cover letter by a private courier to the White House in 3 days' time.  I neither had time nor money nor even a way to obtain a visa on such short notice, so I sent it immediately and directly to the President.

My initial purpose had been served. The copy must have reached the White House, but whether it had for certain reached the President personally was doubtful. In that case, the whole exercise would go as a mere waste of time, money, and energy.  This thought began to grow into a great anxiety in my mind.  How to ensure the success of the "rescue" mission was a big question at this stage.  I deliberated that to send it to the President alone would not be enough to stop them at the Congress.  Something must be done at the Congressional level. It did not matter at this point whether it would violate my planned confidentiality. The book carried a full speech which the President, according to my plan, was to deliver to the Congress.  Although I had provided in the book a procedure for myself to travel to Capitol Hill in Washington to bring it to the notice of the President personally, there was no time left to undertake that trip.  Instead, I chose to send it to the Congressmen at that point in an effort to give the plan additional leverage.

The arrival of the book at the offices of the members of the Congress and the Chief Justice might, I hoped, suggest to them an honorable way out of the imbroglio for both the parties.  This would also arm the defenders of the President with a few novel points and  suggest an alternative to the final impeachment.  Therefore, I sent copies by registered post to some of those whose names were figuring prominently in newspapers at their Capitol Hill addresses.

The list of names and the respective dates of dispatch (one copy of the book to each) included: RICHARD GEPHARDT, House Minority Leader on 27th December 98; TRENT LOTT, Senate Majority Leader on 4th January 1999; DENNIS HASTERT, Speaker of the House, 8 Jan. 1999; RICHARD ARMEY, House Majority Leader, 8 Jan.; ORRIN HATCH, Senate Judiciary Chairman, 8 Jan.; Senators MITCH MC CONNELL, ROBERT TORRICELLI, and RICH SANTORUM, 8 Jan.; and Congressmen TOM DELAY and JOHN LEWIS, also on 8 January; Chief Justice Mr. WILLIAM REHNQUIST on 11th January; and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee HENRY HYDE ON 30th January 99.

None of them cared to acknowledge or reply for obvious reasons except President Clinton, who sent a card of appreciation purported to have been personally signed by him.  I included my return address on every envelope, and I assume that the packages all arrived at their destinations, yet none besides the President's was acknowledged.  I have given all these details so that anyone at their respective offices can confirm the arrival of this book around the given dates to the above gentlemen.

I thought that the arguments in the book given in "defense" of the President would convince the congressmen to remain aligned with Bill Clinton if they were Democrats and to weaken their case if they were Republicans.  I thought it impossible that they would not go through such a relevant book to the hottest topic in which they themselves were participating. Those who would read the book would spread the word among their colleagues, and the collective response could "help."  I also had another lurking intuition that even if the book failed to capture the imagination of the Congressmen, one of them might show it to a journalist, who in turn could highlight it. Or a determined publisher---through a massive quick reproduction of it---would convince the Congress and the American people that the entire saga was nothing more than a bungled love affair. And that it did not constitute grounds for an impeachment at all. Then I would have succeeded.

Recently in March 2000, when President Clinton visited the city of my residence (Jaipur, the Pink City), I made an unsuccessful attempt to see him personally. I met the advance team at village Nayla, where the President was to attend a local body meeting, and even at Mansingh Hotel, Jaipur where they were staying. At the hotel I went with my daughter, a college student, but had to face considerable embarrassment. With the help of local police officials, I had an appointment with a security person. Instead, one over-smart American Embassy security official, in view of my typical turbaned dress, decided to call police. Who asked me to leave, adding that nobody wanted to meet me, so why was I hanging around? All this despite my having arranged it through the local police contacts.  In my enthusiasm to have a few seconds of photo opportunity with the person about whom I thought so much and even dared write a book about in an effort to "rescue" him, I barely averted an arrest at the hands of those security zealots.

I believe, in spite of its relevance having been worn out now, that this still constitutes an interesting historical question, i.e. whether the President could really "save" himself at the last minute through the method suggested in this book.  I trust that one can answer this question only after going through this book.  And, after reading it, if one answers in the affirmative, then I trust I can have the consolation of having spent so much time, energy, money, and thought to do the right thing at the right time for the right purpose, and I sincerely believe, for the "right person."  It was all "in the hands of God."   Clearly, God was on his side as always "He" had been.

id@datainfosys.net
Jaipur, India
June 2000 ##

                                                       

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