It's a tenet of American justice that you have the right to face your accuser. But for several years, L. Paul Bremer -- the Bush administration's first point man in Iraq -- has avoided precisely that.
That may change in a couple weeks, in a hearing before the House Government Reform Committee, led by its new Democratic chairman Henry Waxman (CA).
During his time as head of the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority, Bremer was stalked by the United States' top fraud-buster in Iraq, Stuart Bowen, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. The two were like the cartoon Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote: Bowen -- Mr. Coyote -- would come after Bremer with ever more devastating reports of fraud, mismanagement, abuse and utter chaos within Bremer's operations; yet Bremer had a road-runner-like ability to escape every time. Indeed, he walked away with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Department of Defense award for Distinguished Public Service, and even the Nixon Library's "Victory of Freedom Award."
Both men have testified before Congress, but never at the same hearing, a fact confirmed for me by Bowen's press aide, Christine Belisle. That could soon change: Waxman has "invited" the two men to testify at a Feb. 6 hearing on a lingering issue from Bremer's tenure: how nearly $9 billion in reconstruction funds went missing -- or in audit-speak, was "disbursed. . . without accountability."
Bowen's spokeswoman assures me the inspector general will testify at Waxman's hearing. Mr. Bremer? Are you ready for your close-up?
Update: We've tried to reach Bremer through his speaking agent. If we hear anything we'll let you know.