immune system failure

The State Department, which has quadrupled its use of contractors in recent years, has immunized the hired thugs bodyguards who murdered 17 Iraqis on their behalf, and who have over the course of years done much to advance the government’s apparent desire to make “shock and disgust” our major foreign policy initiative.

This was the line in the Times report that struck me the most.

The courts have made it all but impossible to prosecute defendants who have been granted immunity since the appellate court reversals of the Iran-contra affair convictions against John M. Poindexter, a former national security adviser, and Oliver L. North, a national security aide, who had each been immunized by Congress.

I wonder how many people remember Iran-Contra, in which the US government illegally sold weapons to Iran to raise funds for a brutal insurgency in Central America? (Oh, they sold narcotics, too – better than having a bake sale.) Given the way Reagan was canonized on his death, I doubt very many. Yet it is the people who served under him, and under Nixon, who are running the country today.

Just check out the Index of Presidential Signing Statements to see just how thoroughly Bush is enacting Nixon’s dream of an imperial presidency. As he signs laws he hedges his bets by saying “except we won’t pay attention to this bit because it might somehow limit my power and we can’t have that, can we?” Foreign policy appears to be one area in which Congress should have no say whatsoever. And now they’ve found another way to get away with murder.

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mug shots from NARA, courtesy of the National Security Archive.

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