A Crisis of Moral Inertia

 

I knew a man (“Bob,” not his real name) who claimed that on June 17, 1972, he was part of a small group on Virginia Ave about to enter the Howard Johnson’s hotel across from the Watergate and said, “Boys, it doesn’t take an army to plant a bug.” He thought the plan badly designed. The closest thing to corroboration I knew of was in 1990 when I witnessed two FBI agents at the bar in the Hawk & Dove on Capitol Hill buy him a drink and toast “the one that got away.”

Bob had a few unusual professional experiences.  He had been an FBI plant in KKK chapters in North Carolina and eastern Maryland.  He remarked that at the end of those assignments, it seemed like the number of plants, informants and actual government agents outnumbered the remaining active klansmen. He grew less cynical in his old age, sought to advance positive causes (though often in questionable ways, naturally), and was increasingly critical of the amorality and incompetence of government.  I never knew his source of income or the funding for his diverse ventures.

In retrospect, it is astounding that highly-placed men in the White House would have knowingly signed off on the Watergate stunt.  But, to offer a limited defense, they probably knew how previous administrations and the nascent deep state had operated and assumed they were not doing anything abnormal or likely to result in discovery or blowback.

The use of the “plumbers,” men outside the formal structure of federal law enforcement or intelligence, was at least a token nod of respect for law and the integrity of federal agencies.  Obama and Biden haven’t needed as much use of outside “plumbers” because the leadership in our critical agencies is now more openly willing to do the sorts of things once delegated to the likes of Gordon Liddy.

Where once the deep state justified stepping outside the law to combat communism and curtail domestic forces working to advance communism, they currently rationalize that Donald Trump’s threat to “our democracy” and the tide of “white supremacy” justifies abuse of power.  The targets and rationalizations are different but the lack of honor, and the absence of faith in and respect for democracy and lawful process, are quite similar.  In the case of the current offenders, there is a circular logic in that the more they undermine and pervert the legal process, the more their lack of faith in the system is rational, and the more they fear letting their targets come to power and control the same tools with the rule of law so diminished.

When we learn of atrocities by an allegedly “rogue” FBI office to focus on the threat posed by practicing Catholics or parent groups at school board meetings, the problem is less the sophomoric ideological turn behind the policy as it is the moral inertia that prevents others from within the agency to instantly and loudly object.  It should not be left to lone whistleblowers to object to brain-dead, unlawful, unprincipled policies and actions.

The eternal need for good men to step forward and not remain silent must be satisfied to prevent societal implosion and the rise of evil.  The sheer moral inertia within our intelligence and law enforcement agencies during the “Russiagate” scandal, J6 prosecutorial overkill, and the setup of the Mar-a-Lago raid should be more troubling than the overt partisanship.

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  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Amen.

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    When the people supposedly enforcing the law have no care for the law, things are going to go bad.

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    • #3
  4. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    The question that never gets answered or is ignored is Who is minding the minders? The Capitol Hill Police for example are immune from FOIA requests. Immune due to legislation by Congress. At a banal level I suppose it was to protect a member of the House or Senate to protect themselves for bad behavior such as romping around in the Capitol Hill reflecting pool with a prostitute or trying to seduce a House page.

    The attempt to infiltrate Catholic parishes may have been seen as a good idea but I wonder if anyone on the 7th floor of the FBI headquarters reassessed that decision in the light of raging Hamas-holes across the United States.

    • #4
  5. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    When the President gives leaders of Cuba a tour of how security works at the Airport, I think we can safely assume that few in DC actually care about anything other than their own personal security and the rest of us be damned. 

    • #5
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    I wonder if anyone on the 7th floor of the FBI headquarters reassessed that decision in the light of raging Hamas-holes across the United States.

    Doubtful.

    • #6
  7. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    At a banal level I suppose it was to protect a member of the House or Senate to protect themselves for bad behavior such as romping around in the Capitol Hill reflecting pool with a prostitute or trying to seduce a House page.

    That is the exact purpose of the capital police.  Fifty-some years ago, ultra-powerful defense committee chair  Mendel Rivers used to get wasted and then “park” in the underground parking lot under the House office building by slamming into a wall opposite the entrance–more than once.  Would you want the MPDC, the courts, and the Washington Post involved?

    For women harassed, staff victims of other malfeasance, who ya gonna call? 

    If Wilbur Mills had stayed drunk on campus instead of spending large at the Silver Slipper with his stripper girlfriend and then speeding until she jumped out into the Tidal Basin in front of the Park Police, his career record could have been far more salutary.

     

    • #7
  8. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    I read whichever book it was that asserted that they were not there to bug the democrats, but one particular desk. The one where sat the girl who, it was alleged, was running a high-end call girl Operation from there in her spare time. And it was either Mo Dean, or her boss (or partner). This was before John Dean married her, according to the book so she couldn’t testify against him for anything.

    Later I heard G. Gordon on his radio show infer that the account in that book was the most accurate take on what they were actually doing there.

    Don’t know if it’s true, but it makes a hell of a lot more sense than CREEP or somebody bothering to bug their opponent when they were already leading in every State at the time.

    • #8
  9. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    What I find frustrating about all this ‘Trump will be a dictator’ business is the assumption that Republicans and the public in general would  just go along with it,  unlike the left, most of us have read and understand the constitution. We would not put up with dictatorial measures although they consider reversing Obama and Biden executive orders as unconstitutional. I heard someone say this morning that if Trump had sent armed FBI agents to raid Obama’s residence he would have been both impeached and removed as Republicans would have joined the Democrats.

    • #9
  10. Richard Easton Coolidge
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    I read whichever book it was that asserted that they were not there to bug the democrats, but one particular desk. The one where sat the girl who, it was alleged, was running a high-end call girl Operation from there in her spare time. And it was either Mo Dean, or her boss (or partner). This was before John Dean married her, according to the book so she couldn’t testify against him for anything.

    Later I heard G. Gordon on his radio show infer that the account in that book was the most accurate take on what they were actually doing there.

    Don’t know if it’s true, but it makes a hell of a lot more sense than CREEP or somebody bothering to bug their opponent when they were already leading in every State at the time.

    “Silent Coup”

    • #10
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