It's a sad fact that the full and unconditional pardon given by President George H.W. Bush to Elliott Abrams (a member of the second generation neo-conservative royalty by way of marriage to the daughter of neo-con co-creator, Midge Decter), protected him from disbarment and possible prison. Abrams, who pled guilty to the crime of lying to Congress in the investigation of the Iran-Contra, embraced the plea option reportedly in order to avoid heavier charges from the office of then independent counsel, Lawrence E. Walsh, prosecutor in the Iran-Contra cases. Bush is gone, Walsh is gone, but Mr. Bush’s Attorney General William Barr is – surprise – now Attorney General of the United States.
What that portends for future regime change adventures remains to be seen, but the historical record is ominous.
In 1992, when Bush issued the Iran-Contra pardons on the eve of his leaving office after losing reelection to President Bill Clinton, William Barr fully supported the pardons. Presidential pardons are, after all, Constitutional. But, Lawrence Walsh said at the time, reported NPR, "It demonstrates that powerful people with powerful allies can commit serious crimes in high office, deliberately abusing the public trust without consequences.”
Now the Iran-Contra era neo-cons and the Dick Cheney/Iraq Invasion 2003 era neo-cons are marching back into the institution of the Presidency.
Elliott Abrams got a new high level job last month, Special Envoy on Venezuela. Within weeks, the United States recognized a new President of Venezuela while the elected Venezuelan President is still in office. Chatter and rumor from the White House suggests that military intervention is possible. The “new” recognized-by- the-US-President of Venezuela is a veteran of color revolution type regime change, groomed for service with the help of the snakelike National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
Regime change, putting in questionable, if not nefarious new leaders, seems to be Abrams’ delight: Nicaragua, Iraq while a government official. Many others in his dreams.
In 1986, even before the Iran-Contra debacle was revealed, as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, Elliott Abrams told Congress that Nicaraguan “Contras” involved in drug running didn’t have the okay from Contra leaders. It was just underlings. This, while Abrams and company were busy doing end-runs around the Boland Amendment and other Congressional actions that barred military supplies to the Contras. Even Khomeini's Iran was not off limits in getting money for the Nicaraguan fight.
In another time and place, i.e., Saudi Arabia, present day, where regime change in Syria was a high priority, we’ve heard excuses similar to those made by Elliott Abrams about the Contras, about the responsibility for the killing and butchering of the corpse of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and about the financing and arming of ISIS and Al Nusra terrorists by Saudi Arabia in Syria. Deja vu.
With more neo-cons in the Administration, the trajectory is more wasted blood and treasure.