The Real Scandal Isn’t Foley


It’s a sad commentary on the state of American democracy, on the instincts of the American citizenry, and on the standards and judgment of the American newsmedia that the unsavory advances of a pathetic Forida congressman can have the nation in high dudgeon, while the ramming through of a patently illegal piece of legislation undermining a crucial 13th century civil liberty (habeas corpus), and the Fourth and Eighth Amendments of the constitution, and the secret planning for an illegal and catastrophic attack on Iran, both merit almost no complaint or mention.

Far be it from me to complain if Rep. Mark Foley’s sexual obsession with teenage boys ends up sinking Republican hopes for hanging onto the House and Senate. But how sad that it would be if it is this, and the coverup of his crimes by the Republican leadership, that undoes the Bush administration, when its real crimes are of such grandeur and seriousness?

How are we to compare seeking to screw a 16-year old with totally screwing the Constitution? How are we to compare secret email solicitations with a secret plot to attack a nation of 62 million that poses no immediate threat to the U.S.?

How are we to compare the Republican Party’s cover-up of a member’s efforts to corrupt young pages with the same party’s conspiracy to cover up the Bush administration’s ineptness and possible foreknowledge of the 9-11 attacks, and of the campaign of lies and misinformation it used to drum up hysteria for an illegal and totally unwarranted invasion of Iraq?

How are we to compare the media feeding frenzy over the Foley scandal with the profound silence about Bush’s Iran invasion planning, and with the deliberate brownout about information regarding a growing popular movement to impeach the president for his crimes?

And finally, how to we to compare the public revulsion over Foley’s indiscretions with the widespread acceptance or, or even support for abuse of American captives in the War in Afghanistan, the Iraq War, and the so-called “War” on Terror, which has included rape, sodomy, sexual humiliation and torture of all kinds, and murder–especially when it is known that the vast majority of those captives were either guilty of nothing but being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or of simply being honest fighters for their respective countries, deserving of decent treatment under the Geneva Convention, and of a fair hearing into the propriety of their detention?

What kind of nation have we become?

At least the Foley saga makes it clear why the farcical impeachment of Bill Clinton for his extramarital escapade moved forward through the House to a Senate trial, while George Bush, whose crimes far exceed those of any president before him, including Richard Nixon, and place the whole American experiment in jeopardy, has not even faced censure, much less a bill of impeachment.

Democratic Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid should be ashamed of themselves for leaping so boldly to the attack over Foley’s crime and the Republican leadership’s cover-up, while continuing to assert that there will be no effort to impeach the president for his own crimes even if they manage, with Foley’s assistance, to wrest control of the House November 8.

The American media should be ashamed of themselves for wallowing in swill, when there is a cancer in the White House that is attacking the very foundations of the nation.

The American public should be ashamed for its sheer inanity and inattention to the responsibilities of citizenship.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s new book is “The Case for Impeachment“,
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at:



CounterPunch contributor and founder of ThisCan’tBeHappening!, DAVE LINDORFF co-produced the 2023 Stevee James-directed feature-length documentary film “A Compassionate Spy” on the life of teenage Los Alamos spy Ted Hall and his wife of 51 years, Joan Hall, now streaming on Hulu, Youtube, Apple TV, Vudu and Google Play. His latest book,“A Spy for No Country” (Prometheuis Books, 2024) was published in January.