One of the peculiarities of modern elective politics is that Republicans are considered to be stronger than Democrats on the issues of national security. Poll after poll shows that a majority of the American people believe that and so in times of political crisis that involve actors outside of America, we see a tendency to vote for the Republican candidate to keep us safe. Part of the premise for this no doubt is that Republicans are consistently intemperate in their foreign policy pronouncements, while Democrats almost always see nuance. Thus we see Donald Trump’s macho pronouncements about building a wall on the Mexican border and ensuring that America “wins the war against terrorism”. His major opponent Ted Cruz blithely talks about “carpet bombing” ISIS, without a clue s to what it really means to “carpet bomb”, but espouses it because it sounds like he’s being tough. In fact part of the naked audacity of these “tough guy” Republican positions, is that they a generally spouted by people ho have never even served in the military, nor ever put themselves in the “harms way” of war zones.
Perhaps the most ridiculous, yet overwhelmingly tragic, examples of false Republican Macho came in the wake of 9/11. George W. Bush, had avoided military service during the Vietnam War by being enrolled in the Texas National Guard, without a chance that he wold have to serve in a war zone. However, he became bored with even that low level of military duty and basically used his family’s favored political position to walk away from even that duty. Dick Cheney was also of age for Vietnam, but he actually stated later that he had “more important things to do.” Both these men, however, were strongly pro war when it came to Vietnam, it was just that the fighting, maiming and dying should be left to Americans of lesser family backgrounds and status. Nevertheless, after the 9/11 bombing these two embarked on military campaigns that did not address those behind this act of terror, but instead were aimed at avenging Bush’s fathers Iraq bungling and in protecting the interests of “Big Oil”. The supposedly “knowledgeable” war making has totally destabilized the Middle East and has led to 15 years of continual warfare with no end in sight. the
Yet even in this years political race for the White House, polls still show that the Republicans are more trusted “to keep America safe” then are Democrats. I believe that the reason for this is that the American people have been exposed to “doctored” history on what has gone on since the end of World War II and that our Corporate Media has served as cheerleaders for a military and foreign policy constructed upon false premises and propaganda. I don’t let the Democratic Party off of that hook either, it is just that in Democrats hawkishness they are only wanly comparable to the macho bleating of Republicans. The phoniness of hawkish postures of those who are part of the “U.S. Foreign Policy and Defense Establishment” has covered over two examples of what I see as actual treason by leaders of the Republican Party, that have visited untold tragedy upon the American people and the military that represents them.
In 1964, during Barry Goldwater’s race for the White House, a book became a runaway best seller and it was titled “None Dare Call It Treason”. Its’ premise, typical of the thinking of many of that time, was that the United States was being sold out to Communism by its “liberal elites,” who were pro-communist and thus wanted the USSR to win the “Cold War”. As the title clearly illustrates the book’s author, John A. Stormer, believed that the “elite” were traitors, liberals of course, who were so powerful that their “treasonous actions” couldn’t be challenged. I remember the popularity of the book at that time and how many who supported Barry Goldwater were believers in the books veracity. Goldwater himself seemed to be echoing Stormer’s theme of rooting out pro Communists in his Convention speech which produced the memorable phrase: “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” It is thus a meme that in many different ways has been played and re-played through our Country’s history, by those of a more Conservative persuasion. That meme is that the true American patriots are those who are of Right Wing political persuasion.
An article I came across a while back made me think of that 1964 book and how if one is to play the “treason” card, the finger might point to those who mantle themselves in the cloak of conservatism just as well, if not more so, than those of liberal persuasion. This article details turning points in American history where the “treason” label might well be pointed at those who deem themselves to be “conservative protectors of the American Way”. I write this not as a left winger flogging my perspective. I write as someone whose view of American politics has become so jaundiced through the years, that I’m fully aware that liberals have contributed equally, through a combination of compliance, cowardice and inaction, to what is becoming the destruction of the United States Constitution and the ideals of our Founding Fathers, via the phony “bi-partisanship” hawkishness of American Foreign and Defense policies. The incidents I am writing about represent the failure and corruption of our political system, the blame for which falls upon those that let it happen, either through the sin of active participation, or via the sin of inaction.
The article that provided the germ for this guest blog is titled: “Shocking New Evidence Reveals the Depth of Treason and Treachery in Watergate and Iran Contra” by Robert Parry, of Consortium News and published at Alternet. The author presents new evidence about two landmark disturbances of the American political fabric and puts them into context of what is already known. In both the instances described, I’ve long been aware of the fact that while their result has momentous consequences for the political fabric of this country, their eventual “resolutions” left much to be desired and many unanswered questions. Using material from this article and using many years of my own thought and research, I will try to weave together a narrative of the effect of those incidents and why the obvious truths about them have been smothered from the public consciousness.
The Senate “Watergate” hearings coincided with the first extended cross country trip that I made. My inspiration for this trip was my favorite book: Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” and indeed I was on the road from New York to California and back for eight weeks. In my 1973 AMC Gremlin, my girlfriend and I discovered just how wide this country is for motor travel and spent at times up to ten hours a day driving through vast tracts of farm country, with few sights to see. I was thus obsessed with the radio broadcasts of the Watergate Hearings and their recaps in the evening that I watched in a variety of cheap motel rooms.
As much as I absorbed the information, it seemed to me that there were many aspects of the story that trailed off out of the consciousness of the Senate Committee and thus out of the spotlight of American History. One of those aspects was just what were these “burglars” looking for at Nixon’s behest? Considering the risk/reward of the situation, it made little sense that such a chance was being taken in a general hunt for intelligence on Democratic Party strategy. Did they really need Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatric records in order to discredit him and then too what was the fascination with Dita Beard and IT&T? As the hearings went on there was also some perplexity about these “burglars”, who were not some ragtag clowns, but CIA operatives of long term status, dating back to at least “The Bay of Pigs” invasion. Yet their behavior in their burglary at the Watergate was unprofessional and ludicrous in its execution. From my outsider’s perspective somehow, even though I despised Nixon, the whole affair, at least the official story, didn’t make sense. While through the years I’d developed some similar suspicions regarding Watergate from various items that were made public, only to disappear from public consciousness due to media non-interest, the article by Mr. Parry somehow “clicked” it all into place.
“A favorite saying of Official Washington is that “the cover-up is worse than the crime.” But that presupposes you accurately understand what the crime was. And, in the case of the two major U.S. government scandals of the last third of the Twentieth Century – Watergate and Iran-Contra – that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Indeed, newly disclosed documents have put old evidence into a sharply different light and suggest that history has substantially mis-written the two scandals by failing to understand that they actually were sequels to earlier scandals that were far worse. Watergate and Iran-Contra were, in part at least, extensions of the original crimes, which involved dirty dealings to secure the immense power of the presidency.
Shortly after Nixon took office in 1969, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover informed him of the existence of the file containing national security wiretaps documenting how Nixon’s emissaries had gone behind President Lyndon Johnson’s back to convince the South Vietnamese government to boycott the Paris Peace Talks, which were close to ending the Vietnam War in fall 1968. In the case of Watergate – the foiled Republican break-in at the Democratic National Committee in June 1972 and Richard Nixon’s botched cover-up leading to his resignation in August 1974 – the evidence is now clear that Nixon created the Watergate burglars out of his panic that the Democrats might possess a file on his sabotage of Vietnam peace talks in 1968.
The disruption of Johnson’s peace talks then enabled Nixon to hang on for a narrow victory over Democrat Hubert Humphrey. However, as the new President was taking steps in 1969 to extend the war another four-plus years, he sensed the threat from the wiretap file and ordered two of his top aides, chief of staff H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, to locate it. But they couldn’t find the file.”
Think about the idea that a Presidential candidate would sabotage peace talks to end a devastating war in order to gain the Presidency. Add to that the fact that Nixon actually escalated the war he had promised to end, causing death and maiming in the hundreds of thousands and to me we have the actions of treason. Mr. Parry presents evidence in the article that Lyndon Johnson became aware of Nixon’s sabotaging the Vietnam Peace Talks, but kept it quiet in the interest of national unity. However, it also must be understood that LBJ and Nixon we in truth quite friendly to each other and both had knowledge of the others involvement in scandalous peccadillo’s, via their mutual ally J. Edgar Hoover. “The Bay of Pigs Invasion” for instance, was an example of their mutual dirty work. Perhaps LBJ thus felt constrained to blow the whistle fearing mutually destructive payback. It seems to me that the sabotage of the Vietnam Paris Peace Talks, beyond treason, could also rank as a war crime considering the slaughter that followed.
We move along in history only a brief seven years. We find Jimmy Carter a beleaguered President dealing with the captivity, for 444 days, of 52 American Embassy hostages, by the Iran revolutionaries. The coverage of this crisis, particularly on ABC’s Nightline gave a picture of President Carter as being too weak to stand up for our country. Ex Actor and former California Governor Ronald Reagan, ran on this perception to an overwhelming victory in the Electoral College, even though he only receives 50.7% of the popular vote. Without the “hostage crisis,” Reagan’s victory would have been far more problematic since he was perceived at the time by almost 50% of Americans as too Right Wing and not experienced. For me the most disturbing aspect of his victory was that the 52 hostages were released exactly at the end of Reagan’s inaugural speech. Coincidences bother me
The Parry article contains two interesting quotes which I’ll let speak for themselves..
“There is something I want to tell you,” [Yassir] Arafat said, addressing [Jimmy] Carter in the presence of historian Douglas Brinkley. “You should know that in 1980 the Republicans approached me with an arms deal [for the PLO] if I could arrange to keep the hostages in Iran until after the [U.S. presidential] election,” Arafat said, according to Brinkley’s article in the fall 1996 issue of Diplomatic Quarterly.”
Also from the article:
“As recently as this past week, former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr reiterated his account of Republican overtures to Iran during the 1980 hostage crisis and how that secret initiative prevented release of the hostages.”
We know that later in the Reagan Administration the “Iran-Contra Scandal” arose and the nation was temporarily shocked that the U.S. has sold weaponry to our Iranian enemies, using Israel to transship them and converting the money received into aid for the Contra rebellion in Nicaragua. Those hearing were the cause of much “sturm und drang”, but in the end came to nothing due to the media’s love affair with and protection of, the faltering Ronald Reagan.
There are many facts and much information to be read in the source story linked above. To get the full picture I urge the reader to take the time to pore through it.
For my purpose here though, I’ll just state that I find the evidence convincing and that the points I wish to make are premised in light of my finding the full story believable. I want to look not at the full factual evidence, but at the implication for us if that evidence is true. To me I see evidence that people have achieved the Presidency of the United States through fraud, delaying the end of disastrous national situations, for personal gain. To be fair, there certainly is more than a whiff of evidence that JFK’s election in 1960 was tainted by votes paid for by Joe Kennedy. We also know that George W. Bush’s election in 2000, seems also to have involved a great deal of skullduggery. By a loose definition one might deem fraud in our electoral process “treason” and though I disdain that fraud, I personally wouldn’t go as far as to call it treason.. However, in the two instances I discussed, I believe that there truly was treason committed by people seeking power and that the results of those treasonous acts have harmed our country immeasurably. There is nothing that we can do that will undo these treasonous acts except to bring them into the realm of knowledge.
I must note that the branding of people as being traitors is an old tradition in this country, that has mostly been the tactic of demagogues, as in the McCarthy Era. Perhaps it is time to focus on the actual treason that has been committed by those entrusted with governmental power. While the 2000 Election certainly had whiffs of fraud all over it, many on all parts of the political spectrum might cynically chalk it up to the way politics is done here. Perhaps though, with the knowledge of hindsight, we might see a purposeless war in Iraq, foisted upon us with specious evidence, as treasonous behavior? Treason takes many forms when you are discussing politics and American foreign policy. I’ve written much about it which you can access by entering “treason” into the search function above.
We are a Country made ignorant by the actions of a Corporate Media and complicit politicians that have re-written the history many of us have lived through. They have used propaganda techniques to foster the mythology of a fair political system, the “fairness” exists only in theory and certainly not in fact. I believe we are in a time where via the information age, people are beginning to see through these false myth’s. When disastrous actions such as these occur, despite the political source, I believe we must dare to call it treason.