Fast And Spurious: The Phony Outrage Linking Eric Holder To Brian Terry

Yesterday a sharply divided House of Representatives held a politically motivated vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for allegedly refusing to cooperate with a highly partisan investigation of the Fast and Furious so-called scandal.

Eric Holder - Contempt for Congress

Never mind the fact that Holder appeared before eleven congressional panels and produced about 8,000 documents. And set aside the Fortune Magazine investigation that shatters the GOP’s justifications for the hearings in the first place. The obsession by Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is so fierce that he has forever stained the House’s reputation by orchestrating the first ever contempt charges against a member of a presidential cabinet, without a whisper of evidence of wrongdoing.

Perhaps the worst part of this, however, is the overt and distasteful manipulation of the family of a murdered border patrol agent. Brian Terry was shot by suspected drug traffickers in an Arizona desert. There is no evidence linking any gun from Fast and Furious to his killing, although there may have been a weapon found at the scene that was purchased during the botched operation. But all of this is beside the point.

Conservatives have long defended their position in opposition to almost any type of gun control by chanting the bumpersticker mantra that “guns don’t kill people. People kill people”. But in this affair they are adamant that it was not a person who pulled the trigger of the weapon that killed Terry, it was the gun itself. They seem to think that absent Fast and Furious drug cartels would have been armed with switchblades and slingshots. Of course, the truth is that these criminal enterprises have had abundant armories before Fast and Furious, and they are no less lethal now that the operation has been dormant for years.

This hypocrisy has been used to incite outrage over Fast and Furious as being responsible for Terry’s death. It wasn’t. Terry was killed as a result of the inherent risks of his job, by criminals who would have been armed with or without Fast and Furious. The cry amongst Republicans that they want to get to the bottom of Terry’s murder is a cynical act of deceit and politics. There is nothing that Congress can learn about Fast and Furious that would reveal anything new about Terry’s murder. Yet somehow, Issa and Company have managed to recruit Terry’s family in this witch hunt.

The family of Brian Terry knows exactly how and why he was killed. Knowing the source of the weapon is no more important than knowing where they bought the car that they drove to the crime scene. So it is wholly inappropriate for them to castigate AG Holder, call for his resignation, or advocate the contempt charge. Whether they know it or not, they are being used by Issa for his partisan political purposes.

Ironically, if they (and the GOP) were really interested in reducing gun violence and the proliferation of illegal firearms, they would support programs that seek to identify gun traffickers who provide weapons to the sort of people who killed Terry. That means programs like Fast and Furious – except far better planned and executed.

It isn’t surprising that politicians like Issa exploit tragedies to advance their agenda. They know the media will sop it up like a blood-soaked sponge. And therein lies the problem. If the media were doing their job professionally and ethically, they would resist these tabloid manipulations and focus on what is truly newsworthy. It’s just too bad that the families in these affairs are sometimes exploited as well. In their grief they may not recognize the signs, but the crocodile tears of self-serving politicians are not a substitute for honest sympathy. And it is heartbreaking to see these families being made fools of while they are still in mourning.


2 thoughts on “Fast And Spurious: The Phony Outrage Linking Eric Holder To Brian Terry

  1. I for one cannot believe that the perception of this “so-called” scandal hasn’t been altered by the Furtune investigative report. The thing about that gun that is misunderstood is right in the article. They had the serial number in their records because they were going to gun dealers and asking to see the records and writing down serial numbers in the hopes of finding some gun buying pattern that they could then track. The accusation that the gun was part of a gun-walking operation is completely false! How is this Fortune investigation not all over the news??????!!!!

  2. Of course, this is what an independent prosecutor or judicial review would be good for… Assuming we can get someone who won’t leak the documents and spoil cases.

    It would be interesting to know what reasoning the prosecutors had for not authorizing arrests. But of course, these are wingnuts – they’re persecuting prosecutors for not doing what the wingnuts said they shouldn’t do.

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