The Corner

A Country Unhinged

In the last week, it is almost as if the entire American moral landscape has been turned upside down in eerie fashion — in matters that vastly transcend fornication and adultery. The Petraeus-gate matter is the stuff of tabloids now; but soon the real issues relating to when and what Eric Holder knew, and by extension the president, and how exactly Benghazi (the crime of indifference to the besieged, the cover-up of the truth, the actual mission of our consulate and annex) fits into this labyrinth of deceit, both petty and fundamental, may overshadow the present sensationalism.

Nothing seems real anymore, not preelection federal data on jobs or food stamps or the release of such “facts”; not foreign-policy information like an Iranian attack on a drone; not the supposedly competent federal relief in response to Hurricane Sandy. Even Saddam Hussein’s plebiscites could not achieve margins like the 19,605 to 0 we saw in 59 Philadelphia precincts. Does anyone care?

Susan Rice, who flat out deceived five times in a single day on national TV, is supposedly seriously being considered as secretary of State when Ms. Clinton leaves — the latter now plans to be “busy” when hearings on Libya resume. (If a John Bolton cannot be confirmed as a U.N. ambassador, how could Rice avoid a filibuster?) How can anyone now read Broadwell’s book and assume the research and analysis are disinterested? How did a single Jill Kelley warrant hundreds of hours of chat time from our highest generals, engaged in a life and death struggle in the war against terror and Afghanistan? Who was not consulted, not advised, not ordered — in order to free up time for Kelley and Broadwell? How could Broadwell, without a journalistic or history pedigree of achievement, warrant such intimate briefings, so much so that she can pontificate on a CIA annex in Benghazi and purportedly have access to classified documents? If she can, who cannot? Why in God’s name does Angelina Jolie get photographed on the seventh-floor office of the CIA? Why even have security clearances when you can learn classified details about our military and intelligence on Facebook or You Tube? How can all this suddenly explode on the scene, just 72 hours after a national election, in a supposedly transparent country with a free, watch-dog media? Have we become a Russia, Venezuela, Cuba? Is there one honest person in Washington left?

When this is all over we are going to see several resignations, even more discredit to what is left of what is now largely a state-run media, and a vivid human face to all the declinist statistical talk of America in material and moral crisis. The state is set for reform like we have never seen it, from those who are not invested in Big Washington, Big Military, Big Intelligence, Big Banks, Big Wall Street, big anything that seems to have developed a toxic careerism in the revolving-door, New York-Washington corridor.

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

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