On the Road to Ruin

Wheels set in motion by a GOP power grab in 1968 have come full term to endanger America’s role in World politics today.

Screen shot 2015-03-04 at 12.24.31 PMThe deceit began with Nixon …

 One of the better non-fiction books I have read recently is Robert Parry’s, America’s Stolen Narrative.   An insightful account that exposes the ruthless efforts of GOP  politicians and their operatives to conceal their illegal actions which led to a pattern of behavior centered around deceiving the American public to attain personal agendas. From Nixon to George W. Bush energies were expended to twist events that satisfied their lust for power and to fulfill misguided ideologies that violated their Constitutional mandates.

It all starts with Nixon’s 1968 Nixon campaign to win the election that year by working stealthily behind the Johnson administration’s efforts to wind down the war in Vietnam, sabotaging them to prevent the Democrats from having an ace in the hole just prior to the November elections.   Had the Paris Peace talks provided political fruit for the Democrats Hubert Humphrey might have won the election and history might look a lot different today.

Had this scenario happened, Parry points out, then President Johnson would likely have been able to complete “the peace deal he envisioned.”   Something that Hubert Humphrey would have pursued rather than extending the war like Nixon did.  Had this war ended shortly after Humphrey’s election then there would have been far fewer American deaths, “millions of people in Indochina might be alive today and the bitter recriminations from the Vietnam War might have been substantially less at home” Parry concludes in his book.  “The United States might have had greater opportunities to deal with its many challenges.”

“Further, if Nixon’s campaign had been called on its 1968 gambit, the GOP might have rejected  the Nixonian DNA of winning by any means necessary.  Instead of spending the last several decades entrenching itself in Nixon’s crypto-racist Southern Strategy and mastering the dark arts of political dirty tricks, the Republicans mights still be the responsible, business-oriented alternative that many of us remember from our youth.

“Similarly, the 1980 election, which appears to have included a reprise  of Nixon’s 1968 scheme, elevated a hard-line conservative in Ronald Reagan who preached a dangerous gospel that “government is the problem.”  Reagan’s hostility toward what government can do in a democratic Republic has weakened the ability of the United States to address structural threats to the common good.  His contempt for environmental rules, for instance, contributed to America’s distrust of the science of global warming, a head-in-the-sand approach that threatens the future existence of the human species”     – America’s Stolen Narrative by Robert Parry

Besides looking deeper into the 1980 “October Surprise”, Parry’s investigations also revealed the Reagan administration’s involvement with Iraqgate and the Iran-Contra scandal, aided by two younger up and coming Party loyalists, Colin Powell and Robert Gates.

Reagan’s staunch anti-communists views aided by an eager-to-please Gates as Deputy Director of the CIA “forced ideological glasses on everyone”, missing the signals of a crumbling USSR and “obscured emerging threats” in Afghanistan like the evolution of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s contribution to the mujahideen which aided in his creation of Al-Qaeda.

“The failure to get the narratives right on various scandals of the Reagan-Bush-41 era contributed to the disasters of the past decade too.  If the full story of George H.W. Bush’s involvement in October Surprise, Iraqgate and Iran-Contra had been told in real time, the prospects would have been slim to none that his son, George W. Bush, could have made a serious run for the presidency.  Without George W. Bush’s arrogance and inexperience, the 9/11 attacks might never have happened – and even if they had – a President Al Gore would not have been inclined  to invade Iraq, a country that had no connections to 9/11.

Though no one can chart an alternative history – an surely other unanticipated problems would have asserted themselves – it appears likely that honest narratives about these events, if known early enough, could have spared the world much suffering, enabled a more productive allocation of the world’s resources, and put the planet on a far more sustainable path.”   – America’s Stolen Narrative

 

Screen shot 2015-03-04 at 12.30.13 PM

… and carried through some 32 years later

This revealing bit of history is unsettling in knowing that power-hungry politicians who had been relegated to a minority status most of the years since they failed the American people prior to the Great Depression set events in motion back in 1968 that would destroy the great American middle class and needlessly killed many of our sons and daughters in every military action that started with Vietnam.  Men who the public put their trust in like Colin Powell and Robert Gates are revealed in Parry’s book as willing tools for Reagan, Bush I and Bush II to deceive the public into enlarging the national debt to expand an unnecessary arms race under Reagan and Bush I and ultimately pursue policies that would put us in a needless war under Bush II.

There is only one response anyone can have who comes face to face with the details Parry provides in his book and that is outrage.  An outrage that demands the American public needs to quit buying into rhetoric that elevates the concept of American exceptionalism which entices poorly informed citizens to wage wars in foreign lands at a great cost of human life and national treasure.

We are obligated, Parry informs us, to make sure that the American narrative is not twisted and stained by self-serving people, hungry for power.  The democratic ideal relies on an honest rendering of what takes place in those institutions that we still fervently hope will carry us forward another two-hundred years rather than leading us further down a road to ruin.

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14 responses to “On the Road to Ruin

  1. An excellent review of the book…I will put it on my list. I agree with him but unfortunately the Right will not……all the underhanded tricks will continue until we, the people, force a change….right now we are too complacent to do so……

    • “Amazing how glibly people treat treason.”

      When it’s done by people who share an ideology it’s not seen as treason. That’s the sad reality.

  2. that sad thing is that it takes decades for this stuff to finally surface, and then the ones who are outraged are us, of that generation, while the youth of today merely chalk it up to history…sad, and that’s how it continues. So much of this shit occurs because so much remains classified for so much longer than necessary, so the story is delayed.

  3. I just wonder if I’ll see the pendulum swing in my lifetime… or if it is still capable of swinging instead of leading us to that road of ruin.

  4. In the case of Iran-Contra, all the details of the story were public knowledge with plenty of time to do something about it. Problem is, neither the system, nor the public punished them. Reagan was not impeached. Bush The First was elected. Yes, most of the criminals were charged and many were convicted. Mostly for destruction of evidence, perjury & such. But they didn’t serve much in the way of time, thanks to a hesitant justice system and one of the criminals (Bush) issuing Presidential pardons to all of them, including himself.

    Unlike Watergate, Iran-Contra tended to break on party lines. It was a harbinger of things to come. From this point on, governments and their operatives knew they could get away with anything, even after being caught. Government criminal activity was transformed into a partisan political debate. But in an act of unity, both sides agreed not to actually do anything about the others transgressions in any significant way.

    (See: Obama refusing to do anything regarding the Bush2 Crime Syndicate)

    • The Democrats share some of the blame for this illegal activity because they didn’t pursue the evidence that was out there strong enough. Parry notes in his book that by 1992 when Congress was investigating Iran/Contra, the Dems backed off because they had won the presidency and didn’t want to be seen as going for the jugular. The chickenshits

  5. Ah, yes. Iran-Contra! It (& the semi-related October Surprise) was probably THE defining moment in how I would view America for the rest of my life.

    I learned all about Iran-Contra during the well publicized Congressional hearings. Unlike today when important things rarely make into public consciousness, you’d have to have been in a coma to have missed them. I was barely a fetus, but I figured it all out pretty quick.

    For the kiddies out there (from memory):

    Friend of America, Saddam Hussein, was at war with America’s #2 arch-enemy, Iran. Iran was on America’s Official Shit List because its rulers overthrew America’s pal, The Shaw, then went on to sponsor anti-American terrorist groups. So, on some distasteful level, it made sense that America gave Saddam weapons, satellite imagery and advice from Donnie Rumsfeld on how to use the WMD America sold him in order to kill Iranians (and Kurds. Oops!)

    Here’s where the whole thing started to defy logic (and the law). To ensure arch-enemy Iran didn’t lose to their friend, Grampa Reagan and his henchmen illegally sold Iran weapons. In exchange, Iran-friendly terrorists were to release some Western hostages. This deal was completely contrary to Reagan’s firm policies of an Iranian weapons embargo and “not negotiating for hostages”.

    Grampa Commie Hater and his men then took that money and broke American law by funding a terrorist group in Nicaragua, the Contras. As part of this, the CIA secretly flew guns to the Contras, loaded up the planes with cocaine, then brought the blow back to America for inner city youth to “Just Say Yes” to.

    In addition to breaking several laws, violating their own administration’s policies, betraying “friends”, supporting worthless dictators & terrorists, there was also a lot of destruction of evidence, perjury and Reagan’s fake amnesia testimony. Good times, good times!

    But my favourite part about the whole thing was how General Dick Secord excused his skimming over 2 million from the Iranian arms deals by saying (loose quote) “This is America. I’ve got a right to make a profit.” Violating a bunch of laws and their own policies to arm their own enemies and violate their own public policies to fund terrorists wasn’t bad enough. He had to embezzle some of the ill gotten loot.

    • If you haven’t read Parry’s book SM, I highly recommend it.

      Iran/Contra wasn’t about releasing hostages. That was the deal Reagan, William Casey and George Bush Sr. put together back in 1980 to get Iran to hold the Embassy Staff they took hostage over a year earlier until after Reagan was inaugurated. They wanted to make sure that any early release wouldn’t give Carter a bump in the polls before the election.

      Using those ties 6 years later Iran helped the Reagan administration work around Congress’ objection for arming the right-wing Contras in Nicaragua. Involved in this illegal activity were Colin Powell and Robert Gates. Both men who seemed above reproach but according to Parry’s investigations, were simply “Yes” men for both Reagan and Bush Sr. doing what needed to be done to move up the ladder.

      • Yeah, looking the other way as evil gets perpetuated is a great way to advance your career in Washington DC. If I were a book reader, I’d probably read that Parry book.

        I was just going from memory of what I knew THEN, as a fetus. My point was that it was impossible not to see the awful Iran-Contra truth right in front of you, even if you didn’t want to look. Yet it stuns me how few people remember Iran-Contra, even those who were adults back then. The US government was exposed as a law breaking, amoral, hypocrite that sponsored terrorism and made secret deals with America’s enemies. My view of the US government hasn’t really changed since. (Uh, is that drone I hear overhead?)

        Thanks to Phil Donahue, I learned about the October Surprise and its connections to Iran-Contra. I totally believe there was a conspiracy. Given what was legally proven to have happened in Iran-Contra, the October Surprise was small potatoes. However, the evidence back then was more speculative than Iran-Contra’s and wasn’t as public. In pre-2000 America, election rigging was still “a topic too far”. Unfortunately, (if I recall) the Surprise negotiator, William Casey, croaked at the worst/best possible time. That old fucker probably took a whole lot of dirty secrets to the grave.

        But negotiating for hostages was a vastly overlooked motive for Iran-Contra. It was an attempt to repeat the October Surprise on a smaller scale and counter the Reagan Administration’s failures in Lebanon. But you’re right, the primary focus of this multifaceted obscenity quickly became funding terrorism in Central America. Flooding ghettos with cheap coke wasn’t the top priority either, but causing rampant imprisonment & death in the black community was a nice bonus. It ate away at the black vote and paved the way for Willie Horton. You gotta admire their attention to detail.

        It’s a shame nobody remembers Iran-Contra because I think it was THE defining moment for post-Vietnam America; the dying gasp of an America Americans once thought existed. It made Watergate look as harmless & quaint as Woodgate (ha-ha!). Yet nearly all the participants paid NO price, even AFTER being caught red handed. From that moment on, America was an outlaw nation, run by people immune from punishment and beholden only to The Powers That Be.

      • “It’s a shame nobody remembers Iran-Contra because I think it was THE defining moment for post-Vietnam America; the dying gasp of an America Americans once thought existed”

        Just about the time when wages were stagnating, benefits were being cut all while the rich were getting larger tax breaks

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