scandals – such as the one precipitated by this week’s WikiLeaks
cable dump – serve us by illustrating how our governments work.
Better than any civics textbook, revisionist history, political
speech, bumper sticker, or five-part investigative series, an international
scandal unmasks presidents and kings, military commanders and buck
privates, cabinet secretaries and diplomats, corporate leaders and
bankers, and arms-makers and arms-merchants as the bunglers, liars,
and double-dealers they are.
WikiLeaks release, for example, shows the low regard U.S. secretaries
of state hold for international treaties that bar spying at the
United Nations. Both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her
predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, systematically and serially violated
those treaties to gain an incremental upper hand. And they did it
in writing! That Clinton now decries Julian Assange’s truth-telling
as an "attack" on America but excuses her cavalier approach
to treaty violation tells you all you need to know about U.S. diplomacy.
proved last summer, the U.S. military lied about not keeping body
counts in Iraq, even though the press asked for the information
a million times. Indeed, the history of scandal in America is the
history of institutions and individuals routinely surpassing our
darkest assumptions of their perfidy.