Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Moral clarity?

What's all this bilge about Reagan's moral clarity? First, you can be perfectly sure of what you want to do, and still be dead wrong. Hitler had clarity, and believed his cause was moral and righteous. So, you wouldn't be making a mistake if you claimed that Hitler had moral clarity, but, as I hope this shows, moral clarity isn't always a good thing.

Second, was Reagan really so moral? Where was this famous morality during Iran-contra? If you recall, during that scandal, he lied, then lied again, then lied some more, then played dumb about it all. And these lies weren't about something harmless like an intern under the desk. Reagan was lying about matters that directly affected our national security. His administration secretly sold arms to Iran and diverted the proceeds to the Contra rebels fighting to overthrow the _democratically-elected_ government of Nicaragua.

Both actions were contrary to acts of Congress which prohibited the sale of weapons to Iran, as well as in violation of UN sanctions.

As the Tower report put it: Reagan bore "ultimate responsibility" for wrongdoing by his aides and his administration exhibited "secrecy, deception, and disdain for the law." Two of his aids, Oliver North and John Poindexter, were indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States. North was convicted of three charges and Poindexter was convicted on several felony counts of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and altering and destroying documents pertinent to the investigation.

I'd prefer a sex scandal any day. They are certainly discomfiting and vulgar, but show no disdain for Congress or to the rule of law.