Sunday, June 08, 2008

Thieves and Mountebanks

This, by Pierce on Altercation, is worth repeating:

It is an odd time in history, fer shure. You'd think that the biggest damn issue in the campaign, and certainly on my electric television set, would be this one. Or, maybe, this one. The youngsters know that I am something of an obsessive on the Iran-Contra Scandal, but it really is the root of most of the shenanigans the current passel of thieves and mountebanks has been about. It also was the template for our media mandarins how not to cover crimes by a government. First, claim that the whole business is too complicated for "us" to understand. (Nonsense. Iran-Contra was a complex series of crimes and cock-ups, but it wasn't in any way complicated.) Then, hang your hat on the Great Men Of Washington -- the Tower Commission, or the Inouye committee -- to kill the whole thing slowly by euphemism. Eliminate the possibility of strict constitutional remedy; Mark Hertsgaard's On Bended Knee is the ur-text for this one. Nobody much wanted to investigate, let alone impeach, kindly ol' Dutch Reagan. Then, declare that the "American people" have grown bored with the whole business, and take some potshots at poor, stonewalled Lawrence Walsh as you're doing so. Then, when George Schultz's diaries emerge, and they pretty much vindicate everything that Walsh's people had been trying to get at, and then Poppy Bush pardons everyone except Shoeless Joe Jackson on the way out the door, declare that the whole matter is ancient history and that "the country" has moved on. And then, 20 years later, when the same crew lies, cheats, and bungles on an even more massive scale, pronounce yourself mystified at how the whole thing happened. This is the Gulf Of Tonkin revelation in real time, and while we all still have time to do something about it. But, what the hell, what do you think Hillary wants?


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