The web was abuzz yesterday with talk of Attorney General Eric Holder and Contempt of Congress related to the “Fast and Furious” scandal. I honestly haven’t followed the story that closely, but the gist is this: The US sold guns to Mexican drug cartels (under cover of course … we hope) in order to “track” them – much like the police dramas where they release the suspect so they can tail him. The guns ended up being involved in the deadly shooting of a US border agent and now Congress wants answers. Holder has changed his story a number of times and refused to provide the requested documents – and now has been voted in “contempt of Congress” by the committee.
Contempt of Congress?
I won’t quibble about the legal definitions here. I’m sure Congress can figure out when the Attorney General is in contempt and proceed accordingly. I will note though that there must be some sound legal definitions for what actually constitutes contempt in this case (and I’ve heard them expressed by the punditry on the issue). After all, I, along with millions of other Americans, hold the hucksters in Congress in a great deal of contempt on a daily basis – yet we’re never charged with a crime.
Oh we still pray for them (see 1 Tim 2:2), but I pray for lots of folks that I otherwise find contemptible.
Election Year Grandstanding?
I always find it fascinating when these types of cases come up in an election year. Yes, I know, the “search for the truth” has been going on for a long time. But the charge just came down now, some 130 or so days before an election … interesting.
It reminds me of the pro-life catholic groups that ask their local diocese to disallow pro-choice politicians from receiving communion. I don’t necessarily have a problem with the tactic, but why does it only happen during an election cycle? I mean, if you really think that pro-choice politicians have broken with the faith (and perhaps they have) then you can make the communion play any time you want – not just when they’re up for election.
An Agent Lost His Life?
Border patrol agent Brian Terry was murdered with one of the guns from Fast & Furious. This is a far cry from the standard conservative punditry talking point of “Fast & Furious led to his murder.” I feel quite confident that the person who pulled the trigger and murdered Brian Terry would have had a gun with or without the “gunwalking” program by the US government. If the murder had come as part of the gunwalking program, then I think the line fits. As it stands though, it appears the gun was just a product of the program.
So where do I stand? …
While not really part of the story, I’d like to note that the Mexican drug cartels have the power they have, and use the violent means they use to protect that power and money, as a direct outcome of the US anti-drug policies. If we were to legalize these drugs (that is, legalize freedom to choose what a person will and won’t put in their own bodies) then the profit margins for drug cartels would disappear, as would their power.
That said, if we’re going to hold firm on our prop-up-the-cartels policies, then I guess a next reasonable solution is to try to track and dismantle the pieces of the apparatus where possible. Gunwalking appears to be a means to that end.
Now, Darrell Issa and Congress have every right to ask questions about the operation and the Attorney General had dang well better answer. If he has lied to cover up a politically damaging story (likely), if he has refused to provide documents requested by Congress (which it appears he has) – then he is in contempt of Congress, and that’s where we are today.
The punditry can spin though, and I seriously doubt this issue has any impact on the election. It’s not an issue that folks care about – except for folks who have already made up their mind. Having said that, the conspiracy theorists (and they may not be far off) are claiming that the only reason to hide documents is that there is something even more damaging in them … which would change things.