The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis with Excerpts from "An Essay on Watergate"

The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis with Excerpts from "An Essay on Watergate"

The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis with Excerpts from "An Essay on Watergate"

The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis with Excerpts from "An Essay on Watergate"

Excerpt

"Was it for this our fathers kept the law?"

HENRY STEELE COMMAGER

The United States today is adding one more chapter to the history of what Barbara Tuchman has called the "March of Folly." Nowhere has this been documented more plainly than in Bill Moyers' television broadcast, "The Secret Government," from which this book is drawn.

Actually, America's record for common sense rather than folly is better than that of most nations. With the exceptions in the nineteenth century of the monomania that drove the South into a four-year war to preserve slavery, and the delusions of empire that led to the acquisition of the Philippines and the "Filipino Insurrection," and -- in this century -- the dementia that stampeded Congress into a meaningless war in Vietnam, Americans over the years have heeded pretty faithfully Washington's admonition to avoid "permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations" and to cultivate "in place of them just and amicable feelings towards all."

Obviously those conducting our foreign policy today no longer heed -- indeed, no longer listen to -- that farewell address. (At its most recent reading in Congress, the reader addressed an empty hall.) Nor is it likely that they listen to the prophecy of Winston Churchill: "Mankind is now placed in a situation both measureless and laden with doom. Now safety will be the sturdy child of terror, and survival the twin brother of annihi-

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