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February 16, 2005


Musing Michael

Hey, if they can do it, so can we. In fact, I think I could pretty easily make a much stronger case for treason against all three of the most recent Repugnacon presidents than anybody could ever whip up against Carter (or even Clinton).


I was a bit less tactful over at my place.

the exile

Musing... let's start with the 1980 elections that Carter lost. One reason he lost it was because Americans were still hostage in Iran. Why were they still hostage in Iran? Because Republicans like Michael Ledeen were carrying out secret private diplomacy to convince the Iranians to keep the hostages until after the election. The very day Reagan is inaugurated, the hostages come home. Later, Reagan is proven to have used similar back channel contacts with the Iranians to once again enter into arms for hostages deals. Seems to me that putting your partisan fortunes (Reagan's election) above the interest of the nation and its people (including the hostages) is the DEFINITION of treason. Yes, I know this October surprise story has not been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, but it has never been debunked, either. And no one has ever come up with a reasonable alternative to explain why the hostages came home the day of Reagan's inauguration. (The freepers who blame the whole hostages thing on Carter's alleged pacifism need to remember that none were hurt because Carter promised an invasion if anything happened to them. The Iranians got the message. Carter was not as big of a wuss as people retroactively have come to think). If democrats were carrying out a secret foreign policy to undermine Bush, he would have them in jail now. To that extent, Carter was a wuss. He should have thrown Reagan in jail and had every right to do so, had he known all the details.

the exile

I guess for my previous post I qualify as plumbing the "depths of vileness." But when the party out of power carries out behind-the-scenes diplomacy with a foreign government for the purpose of electoral gain, something that no credible person has ever shown the democrats to have done, what else do you call it? I actually do respect several things that Reagan accomplished in office, but do we not have the right to counter false charges of treason with uncomfortable truths?

Musing Michael

Exile: I was thinking more along the lines of Iran-Contra (which certainly falls under "providing aid and comfort to the enemy" within the meaning of the treason clause in the Constitution). But your scenario would work, too.

here's what's left

Well, truth is truth and facts are facts, and as Exile admits, there's no evidence about the October Surprise. But there's plenty of evidence about Iran-Contra.

Certainly, as far as I'm concerned, the major Iran-Contra figures are criminals, like our new national intelligence director, and they should be thrown in jail. Given that many of them were convicted, someone agrees with me. I'm not sure if they're traitors exactly, but they're certain bad guys.

But the larger problem with this whole discussion is an equivalency problem: the right-wing gets away with this stuff easily. Call Jimmy Carter a traitor. Say Ted Kennedy is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. These guys have never done anything to that effect except say some things in public that the wingnuts don't like.

Then when we fire back and say, "John Negroponte is a criminal, and Ollie North should be in jail right now instead of on Fox News," we get accused of being shrill. The wingnuts say, well the left is doing it, so why can't we do it?

The answer, of course, is that we have REAL evidence, like people in the reality based community tend to have. But to an uneducated public, that doesn't matter. Both sides appear equally vindictive, but the right-wing somehow comes out on top because they're less afraid than we are to just make shit up.

To me, that's the quandry.

Musing Michael

I think the answer, Michael, is that we say what we mean and mean what we say--and keep on saying it when we know we're right. Eventually, we'll get the props for having told the truth. And maybe it's because I'm both a professional student and work in higher education, but I have to think that the answer to the fact that the public is uneducated can't be to dumb down our message to their level. It's a longer, harder slog, but if we make the effort to get the people educated, it will pay way more dividends in the end.


"But when the party out of power carries out behind-the-scenes diplomacy with a foreign government for the purpose of electoral gain, something that no credible person has ever shown the democrats to have done, what else do you call it?" Kind of like all those foreign leaders John Kerry spoke with as he mentioned in last years campaign.

Oh yeah, let's not forget about Kerry's meetings with the North Vietnamese while we were still engaged in a shooting war.


dmeyers illustrates perfectly the sense of betrayal that many on the right feel over the Viet Nam war. To them the point was all about winning, not about doing the right thing, and the fact that we lost is more important to them than the horrible consequences that might have ensued had we actually won.

Ask yourselves this: if the US had prosecuted Viet Nam through to victory, and done the same in every ill-advised conflict we entered into, the entire world would now be under the boot of repressive US dictatorship. How on earth would that leave us in a position to carry on into the 22nd century if George Bush Jr. had absolutely no opposition to his insane born-again-yesterday religious nutmanship?

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