Defending Noriega

“You’re not going to defend Noriega, are you?” a features editor cried when I told him my topic would be Panama.

I told him I’d be happy to defend General Noriega against the charge that the stuff supposedly found by US soldiers in his private quarters marked him as a deviant and sworn foe of all that America holds dear.

The stuff in question was sex items, a picture of Hitler, lots of cocaine, bundles of cash, religious paraphernalia, including plastic frogs and a rotting tamale with Seymour Hersh’s name on it.

Leaving aside the Hersh tamale and the fact that General Noriega probably had more coke and more cash on hand than the average Joe, there’s nothing on that list you wouldn’t trip over in at least one-in-every-four American homes.

–December 23, 1989

This is excerpted from The Golden Age is in Us.

Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined!, A Colossal Wreck and An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents are available from CounterPunch.