by Kagro X
Here's something from Charles Pierce, whom Eric Alterman forces to do his work for him on Fridays:
[B]ack in 1988, when it became plain that absolutely nobody was going to pay a price -- criminal, civil, or in the case of the senior Bush, political -- for the staggering mess that was Iran-Contra, I was in the late, lamented Eliot Lounge in Boston, chewing it over with a friend who'd reported extensively on the scandal. I told him that the country was going to pay a fearsome price one day for having let these crimes go unpunished. That the whole business lodged something malignant deep in the government that needed to be roughly, and bloodily, excised. I believed an impeachment inquiry should have been opened on both the president and the vice-president. I believed that Beltway wise-man schemes like the Tower Commission and the Joint Congressional committee investigation would muddy the waters and likely would do more harm than good. (It was the committee that created the loophole through which ultimately squeezed, among other people, Oliver North.) I believed the whole thing should have been left in the hands of Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, since the DOJ until Edwin Meese had been hopelessly entangled in the original cover-up.
It's about what I've called the Iran-Contrafication of nearly all of today's scandals. That is, the fear that:
[T]his will all end up on the scrap heap of history, alongside Iran-Contra, as one of those nasty imbroglios about which the bulk of the American people retain darkish, vague memories, but no real resentment, because after all, nobody really did anything wrong or they'd be in jail. Nevermind that they were all pardoned by the president who oversaw and orchestrated their subversive activities.
It's nearly impossible to resist simply reprinting his whole dispatch. You simply must go read it for yourself. But I have to hit you with one more cut before you go.
Tell me we're not paying for that now. Tell me we're not paying for tolerating a renegade theory of Executive power. Tell me we're not hearing how inconvenient and cumbersome and counterproductive the impeachment process of the Constitution is. Tell me the Democratic candidates aren't soft-pedaling the whole issue, preferring to micromanage the end of the kind of war that the renegade theory of Executive power makes not only likely, but inevitable. (Go back and read the minority report of the Iran-Contra committee. Go see who wrote the part about how the president has an inherent right to do stuff like this. Hint -- he has a lesbian daughter, a bad heart, and lousy aim.) Tell me the press isn't running away from the gravity of the whole business. Tell me you haven't heard some anchor-drone or another sigh about how hard it all is to understand. Tell me that Bush presidencies don't invariably come down to buying the silence of the people who can put you away. Tell me Alberto Gonzales isn't Edwin Meese, except less competent. Tell me that Elliott Abrams, John Negroponte, Michael Ledeen, and the rest of the Iran-Contra Legends Tour ever would have found their bloody hands back on the levers of government if we'd done what we should have done as a nation 20 years ago. Jesus, even Ghorbanifar's back in the news.