Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Alex Cockburn can turn a phrase

Two great passages by Cockburn, the "last Stalinist":
Another New York Times reporter, Keith Schneider was asked by In These Times back in 1987 why he had devoted a three-part series in the New York Times to attacks on the Contra hearings chaired by Senator John Kerry. Schneider said such a story could "shatter the Republic. I think it is so damaging, the implications are so extraordinary, that for us to run the story, it had better be based on the most solid evidence we could amass." Kerry did uncover mountains of evidence. So did [Gary] Webb [in his 1996 series on the CIA's connections to the crack trade]. But neither of them got the only thing that would have satisfied Schneider, Pincus and all the other critics: a signed confession of CIA complicity by the DCI himself. Short of that, I'm afraid we're left with "innuendo", "conspiracy mongering" and "old stories".
...the oddest of all reviews of Whiteout [Cockburn and Jeffry St. Clair's very entertaining book about the CIA's relationship with drug traffickers through history] was one in The Nation, a multi-page screed... She flayed us for giving aid and comfort to the war on drugs and not addressing the truly important question, Why do people take drugs. As I said at the time, to get high, stupid!