So, apparently it's been about 20 years since the Iran-Contra affair. And hardly anybody talks about it at all, even though there are clearly ideas about presidential power and such which have popped up again.
I'll admit, I'm slightly obsessed. This is the first government scandal I can remember, and I have vivid memories of Oliver North testifying. Vivid because a) he looked like a nice guy, and b) he was in a lot of trouble because he'd done things that were wrong. As a very small person, the fact that those two statements were both true was pretty shocking.
So I see Oliver North working for Fox News, and gradually find out about more and more people associated with the mess working in the current administration, and learn that Cheney actually put forward his idea of Congress not sticking their respective noses into Executive Business, lo, these 20 years ago, and think to myself: "So, was it not such a big deal after all? And if not, why not?"
I need some books on this.
Somehow, I managed to get to this point in my life completely unaware that South Africa had nuclear weapons. I find this lack of information on my part highly disturbing.
Of course, much to my constant surprise, things do actually happen in the wide world outside the Internet. Not that you would know it, what with everyone's constant obsession over dumb things people say on the campaign trail. Kerry is, of course, only one example of people from both parties saying dumb things. I'm increasingly looking forward to Life After The Election.
Personally, I think it's much more interesting that there were documents about building a nuclear bomb on a government website, now taken offline, which held large numbers of untranslated documents from Iraq. The idea behind this website, backed originally by Pete Hoekstra, of the House Intelligence Agency, was that amongst all these untranslated documents there would be proof, nay, vindication of the White House's pre-war contention that there was extensive WMD development underway in Iraq.
I've seen it said that these nuclear-related documents themselves are proof of this, although it's not usually mentioned in the same sentence as the fact that the documents were dated from 1991, not 2002 or 2003. Because, you know, Saddam had a serious nuclear program, but due to the 1991 Gulf War, and ensuing sanctions and inspections, it came to a halt, never to be restarted.
At any rate, the underlying issue is this. In the searches taking place during the current War In Iraq, there has been no real proof found of ongoing WMD production taking place up through 2002-2003, as claimed before going to war. This didn't sit well with some Republicans, sure as they were that the Truth was Out There, and since there were all these boxes full of untranslated documents sitting around (due to lack of translating personnel), the Truth must be In The Boxes. And the best way to make the Truth available to The Public, was to dump large numbers of these documents on the internet for people at random to translate. Harness the bloggers!
Or something. Now of course, I'm certain that there were already adequate instructions for making nuclear weapons floating around the internet. The internet is vast, and accommodates a great many things after all. But it is just a wee bit ironic that the some of the same people who were shouting nasty things about Treason and Subversive Behavior when the NYT broke the story on warrantless wiretapping, were themselves all for getting untranslated documents from Iraq out on the internet. Which just so happened to actually contain secrets themselves.
But that's not all that's been going on this week. Daniel Ortega is close to regaining power in Nicaragua. But that's not the really astonishing part. Where it gets really awesome is where Oliver North decides to try and help the campaign against Ortega.
I mean, I'm pretty young. But even I remembered Oliver North was connected with the Iran-Contra affair when he first started showing up in conservative circles again. Soooo, having been a major player in the whole mess, why exactly did he think the Nicaraguans would all welcome him with open arms and listen raptly to his views on their elections? I'm confused.
There have been a large number of unusually interesting posts with a correspondingly large number of comments among various members of the Shadow Council this week, so I felt compelled to gather them up and make a nice pile, much as one would do with raked leaves. Except that these are much better kept around rather than sucked up by the Large Leaf-Gathering Machine, of course.
Wheeler started it off this week with his posts on Christian non-violence. Of course, this quickly branched out into discussions of pacifism, the justification of war, the justification of violent force in general, the justifications for specific wars, and the uniqueness of World War II.
And finally, Wilson has decided to discontinue updating his blog, which I really consider a great loss for the entire Internet, whether or not the entire Internet realizes it. Good luck with your graduate studies, Wilson.
Cross-posted at The Lounge.