Thursday, July 21, 2005

"Iraqgate" is not an available name for the current scandal in Washington. It is already used for the illegal Reagan/Bush Sr. effort to arm Saddam

Click here for the 1995 report, "Iraqgate: Confession and Cover-Up," by Robert Parry. This short article is a great lesson in the way Washington and the press work together. In this case we had strong evidence of CIA wrongdoing (specifically using Teledyne and a Chilean arms supplier to give Saddam cluster bombs) under the direction of Reagan and Bush Sr., but that evidence was suppressed by a third President, Clinton, and the press ignored it in favor of the O.J. trial (shades of Michael Jackson overshadowing the Downing Street Memo?) I can't help quoting the last few paragraphs of the article:
[...] a New Yorker article [...] asserted that Vice President George Bush in 1986 urged Saddam Hussein to intensify his air war against Iran--in order to increase Iran's demand for U.S.- made anti-aircraft weapons. Appearing two weeks before the '92 election, the New Yorker article was attacked in the conservative press. On the Wall Street Journal's editorial page (10/28/94), Steven Emerson mocked the article as a "Byzantine conspiracy theory."
In one of those post-modern political moments, fictional reporters in the "Doonesbury" comic strip questioned Bush about the New Yorker story. But no real-life reporter covering the Bush campaign asked the president about his tactical air-war advice to Saddam. Now, however, Teicher has corroborated much of the Waas/Unger story.
Given the significance of the Teledyne trial and Teicher's affidavit in judging the actions and integrity of the Reagan/Bush and Clinton administrations, why the near-total press blackout?
Part of it is the power of "conventional wisdom"--Washington insiders have decided that Iraqgate didn't happen, so any evidence to the contrary doesn't register. Another reason might be the residual fear of conservative attacks against journalists who plumb the crimes of the Reagan/Bush era too deeply. It's easier to dismiss such issues as "ancient history"--a term that somehow doesn't get applied to stories about 15-year-old Arkansas land deals.
There's also the media's expectation of star-quality in the age of O.J. After all, the two Teledyne defendants were just anonymous mid-level corporate officials. And besides, the federal judiciary does not permit cameras into the courtrooms. [emphasis added]
It's interesting isn't it. There are a couple of things that I take out of this other than the fact that the Right always screams "conspiracy theory" when discovered, the media hasn't really changed, and the fact that "Iraqgate" as a term belongs to Saint Ronnie the Dim (but Bush The Younger is entitled to Rovegate, Plamegate, Whiggate and more to come).
1) As long as Left Blogostan has anything to say about it, "Washington Insiders" will no longer be able to unilaterally decide that something didn't happen. Look at the way they tried to decide that the Downing Street Memo hadn't surfaced.
2) The press must now start to harbor a residual fear of LIBERAL attacks against journalists who don't plumb the crimes of the Reagan/Bush/Bush era deeply enough.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great stuff, TBL. I'll be sending you much link-love with my DSM post tomorrow.