Let's give Mr. Alter some props
. He answered my email. Granted, it took awhile but he did respond. Here's his response. It's not bad until the end. You'll see what I mean.
Yes, I would tell you and Brian Terry's family that Operation Fast and Furious was not a scandal. It was bad public policy that went horribly awry, with tragic consequences. It was a big blunder, a fiasco and maybe some other adjectives you and I could agree on, but not a "scandal" as conventionally defined. If you believe it's a scandal, which to my mind connotes intentional wrongdoing for financial or personal (sometimes sexual gain), than you must include other huge policy mistakes under your definition.
So I assume you are willing to agree that the Bush Administration's failure to recognize in advance that Saddam Hussein didn't possess WMD was a scandal (removing Saddam's WMD was the explicitly-stated purpose of the war). That intelligence failure led to an unnecessary war and the death of thousands. Many veterans of the Bush Administration have agreed that the war, like Operation Fast and Furious, was a case of good intentions gone horribly wrong."Stuff happens," as Donald Rumsfeld put it.
But those unfortunate, even tragic, things are not the stuff of scandal, unless they involved stealing by contractors and the like. As it happens, I was a supporter of the war initially, then criticized its conduct. But knowing that President Bush genuinely believed WMD to be present (In the same way Eric Holder genuinely believed the U. S. government could track guns through that straw purchase program, which had begun under Bush), I never called the Iraq War a scandal. Did you? I didn't think so.
If you are motivated by anything beyond sheer malice toward the President of the United States you will agree with the logic of this post. In any event, please feel free to share it with your readers.
Warm regards, Jonathan Alter
I thought it was an okay response until the last part and he shot himself in the foot. If my supposed "sheer malice" for President Obama is blinding me then couldn't I say Mr. Alter's total devotion to President Obama is blinding him?
To Mr. Alter a scandal is intentional wrongdoing
for financial or personal gain. The Department of Justice didn't tell the Mexican government about Operation Fast & Furious. Could someone please explain to me how that doesn't count as intentional wrongdoing? How does anyone think it's right or a good thing to arm already dangerous drug cartels? How were they going to track the guns without anyone knowing on the other side or tracking devices in the guns?! No attempt was made at the border to confiscate the guns. The DOJ purposely did not tell the Mexican government. They didn't inform the Mexican government because they wanted this operation fail. Operation Fast & Furious was doomed from the beginning. Eric Holder never believed they could track guns through the straw purchase program. If he did there would be tracking devices in the guns and the Mexican government would be involved. If you think about it the only way for the guns to be tracked would be to find them at crime scenes.
Another reason why Operation Fast & Furious is a scandal under Mr. Alter's definition: the push for gun control laws. Let's just say everything Mr. Alter and Mr. Holder has said is 100% true. It's still a scandal because now the DOJ and some in Congress are using Operation Fast & Furious as a way to push for more gun control. They're using this situation for personal and political gains. The New York Times concentrated on that one part of Mr. Holder's testimony!
I emailed him:
Dear Mr. Alter,
I want to thank you for answering me and I sincerely mean it. I have emailed/called so many people and hardly ever receive a response. Thank you very much for answering me back and explaining your position. I really do appreciate it.
But before we go on I have to tell you even though I write at Big Journalism I am not a Republican or conservative. I'm actually a Libertarian and registered Independent. I don't like Democrats or Republicans. I couldn't stand Bush and I can't stand Obama. I'm supporting Ron Paul in the primary. But I'm not here to talk about President Bush. You and I can email about him later.
My definition of scandal: Any kind of wrongdoing (intentional or not) and you go to great lengths to cover it up.
If my so called sheer malice for the president is blinding me couldn't we say the same about your devotion to the president? Going by your definition Solyndra is a scandal. The government chose it to be a winner and the man in charge is a huge Obama donor. So of course Obama could choose that company for personal and political gain. More money for his campaign! There have been emails released showing there were major doubts about the company, but they went ahead with the loan.
No more distractions though. This is about Operation Fast & Furious and only Operation Fast & Furious. Don't mix up Wide Receiver and Fast & Furious. Big difference (and this is why it's a scandal according to your definition): Bush's administration informed and worked with the Mexican government. Obama administration never did. That is intentional wrongdoing. Who forgets to inform the Mexican government that we're going to sell guns to your already dangerous drug cartels? If they forgot to inform the Mexican government is no better. That's just more proof of stupidity and incompetence.
Thanks again for answering back.
He emailed me back before bed last night. It's not much, but it's something!
Interesting points. Solyndra is much closer to a scandal, espcially [sic] as more comes out, as I say in wash monthly article.
Before I wrote this article I wrote this to him:
Also, couldn't you say Fast & Furious is a scandal because the DOJ and some in Congress are trying to use this tragedy as a way to push through more gun control? They're using the operation for their personal and political gains. You can even say that was the whole point because why else would they not inform the Mexican government?
Could you send me your new article? I'd like to read it!