Without any shame whatsoever, President Bush has returned John Poindexter, Elliott Abrams, and Henry Kissinger to the federal government. Poindexter is in charge of “Total Information Awareness,” a government information-gathering operation straight out of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Abrams has been appointed as top National Security Council envoy to the Middle East. And in perhaps the most laughable appointment in a very long time, Kissinger was made head of the committee whose mission is to get to the bottom of the federal government’s negligence and wrongdoing that culminated in the September 11 attacks.
Poindexter and Abrams are famous for having betrayed our country with their involvement in the notorious and illegal Iran-Contra affair during the 1980s. The scheme involved illegal sales of weapons to Iran, which the U.S. government considered an enemy of the United States during that time. The two rogues then used the profits of those illegal weapons sales to fund the Nicaraguan Contras, with the intention that the Contras would use the weapons to effect a violent regime change in Nicaragua.
Compounding their wrongdoing, Poindexter and Abrams then tried to avoid responsibility for their misconduct through intentional deception and perjury in official federal proceedings.
Ultimately, Poindexter was let off the hook by an appellate court ruling that recognized his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. (Despite the fact that conservatives often refer to the Fifth Amendment as a “constitutional technicality” that lets guilty people go free, Poindexter had no reservations about relying on it when his own freedom was at stake.)
Abrams was relieved of legal responsibility for his wrongdoing when the first President Bush pardoned him and other Iran-Contra wrongdoers, an action that also coincidentally ensured that the entire truth about the Iran-Contra scandal, including the identity of all the people who were actually involved in the wrongdoing, would never come to light.
For his part, Kissinger was a faithful and loyal servant of President Richard Nixon, another lawbreaker who betrayed his country through illegality, secrecy, and deception. Kissinger was involved in Nixon’s secret bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War and also played a role in the ouster of democratically elected Chilean president Salvador Allende in favor of self-appointed dictator army General Augusto Pinochet. It was under Pinochet’s regime that thousands of innocent people permanently “disappeared” during Chile’s “war on terrorism.”
Moreover, as David Greenberg points out in his article “Back, But Not by Popular Demand” in the December 8 issue of the Washington Post, “as Nixon’s national security adviser, Kissinger (as he admitted in his own memoir) targeted journalists and administration officials to be secretly — and, the Supreme Court ruled, illegally — wiretapped.”
Unfortunately, there are conservatives who view Poindexter, Abrams, and Kissinger, and even Nixon, as heroes despite (or perhaps even because of) their wrongdoing. But they are not heroes. They are instead a disgrace to both our government and our country, not to mention a serious threat to the freedom and well-being of the American people. President Bush should be ashamed of himself for re-vesting these people with political power. We were all better off when they were consigned to the dustbin of history.