Tuesday, August 21, 2012
The Watergate scandal broke 40 years ago this summer. The discovery that the Nixon administration was behind a "third rate burglary" of Democratic Party offices would lead to the first and only Presidential resignation in American history.
What was the lesson learned? The commentariat solemnly pontificates away about the rule of law and constitutional constraints, but the real lesson learned was "don't get caught."
The Iran-Contra scandal 14 years later was far more serious. It was an act of high treason intended to circumvent Congress and the law in order to fund a right wing insurgency in left wing ruled Nicaragua by selling arms to the very hostile regime in Iran. In another country in another age, all those responsible would have hanged. In 1986, the whole affair was successfully "managed," a brilliant work of damage control that bullied Congress and law enforcement agencies into whimpering impotence and transformed Oliver North, a man who sold arms to our sworn enemies and destroyed evidence, into a national hero. Success proved to be its own justification.
And now we live in a grotesque brutalized world where we are presented with a choice between two different kinds of savagery: the nihilism of international market capitalism, or the tribalism of religious fundamentalism and ideological politics. And while we all gleefully cut each others throats, those who fixed the game are quietly saying "dance puppets!"
Posted by Counterlight at Tuesday, August 21, 2012