Paul Buhle, a respected scholar who has made numerous contributions to the comics medium, has a new work in comics, “Ideas Can Be Weapons,” that he has created along with Nick Thorkelson (artist) and Dave Wagner (writer) based on the work of historian George Mosse. Okay, lets make a quick leap forward and refer to a figure who has not yet faded into the background, William Barr. You remember Bill Barr, the Attorney General? Barr was Attorney General once before and it was under Barr’s advice that President George H. W. Bush in 1992 pardoned six officials involved in the Iran–Contra affair.
This is a fact but it has slipped its way out of view. The mechanism to justify the pardons was that the culprits involved in Iran-Contra were acting on behalf of the state.
The Iran-Contra scandal revealed, among other things, that the Reagan-Bush White House had secretly sold missiles to Iran in exchange for hostages held in Lebanon, using the proceeds to fund right-wing forces fighting the leftist Nicaraguan government in violation of U.S. law. All justifiable by Barr if you just say it was done for the sake of “Reasons of State.” It is this kind of muddled self-serving thinking that historian George Mosse explores, going back to Machiavelli’s The Prince.