Let us all give thanks this week. We don’t live in a nuke-worthy city, we’re not on any government dissident lists, we will remain blissfully ignorant of how jacked up the world is becoming.
President Bush did the USA a favor last Thursday. He hid the godawful truth of how America let nuclear gunpowder get into the hands of religious lunatics over the last 20 years. With an executive order, Bush prevented the release of the Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton presidential papers; papers which have been considered federal property since Nixon’s were seized by Congress. Moreover, Bush can indefinitely withhold presidential papers by appointing lawyers to manage the trust after he dies.
Journalists and historians usually started peeking at Kennedy’s memos on the Berlin Wall and Nixon’s regrets about Vietnam after five to 12 years. Now all presidential records may not be made public for 25 years and even then it will be on a “need to know” basis. Bush can pull it off because he rides a 90 percent approval rating, and I don’t blame him when you consider that the litany of idiocy inside those presidential papers could incite a nation to seething riots and Reign-of-Terror-style justice.
Reagan was crazy to order a continentally budgeted missile shield instead of worrying about the plutonium toys stashed in the attic of a bankrupt Soviet Union. Bush Sr. thought Panama was a bigger deal than Soviet technicians with uranium slugs in their pockets. The CIA – which Bush Sr. once headed – also did some stupid-ass shit.
Budget cuts slashed intelligence operations in terrorist regions. The post-Cold War public wanted lower taxes and the imminent threat of a nuclear black market was inversely proportional to its treatment in politics and media. President Bush’s administration is littered with Reagan and Bush Sr.-era cronies who knew the notion of Russian nuclear security was a stupid, boldfaced lie, but still did little.
These bombs are real and available and will go off in a city within the next 10 years. Even the hardest core are peeing their pants and America will demand a patsy when something gets radioactively redeveloped. It’s best we don’t see those presidential papers. They’ll only incriminate ourselves of a typical lack of foresight. Twenty years ago we ignored the proliferation of nuclear materials and so we pay. Today we ignore things like global warming and mental health, and we will continue to pay.
Meanwhile, a Republican-chaired subcommittee is looking into repealing Bush’s executive order, and you can still seek presidential records so long as you have time, money and a fleet of lawyers. Not like anyone would really want to know. We’d much rather content ourselves with an overactive imagination full of conspiracies, puppet terrorists, and starving Soviet guards selling plutonium for bread and porno.
No matter how hyperbolic the paranoid hallucination, I give thanks in knowing the untold reality is undoubtedly much, much worse.
Daily Friday editor David Downs has one more column left at the Nexus. Meet him next Wednesday for the goatdance.