30 December 2015

The Truth, from John Erlichman, of All People

Over at Esquire, the inimitable Charlie Pierce found this gem from Dan Baum's book Smoke and Mirrors, in an interview of John Ehrlichman:
The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar Left, and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black. But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.
While the Nixon administration is not generally considered to be a font of unvarnished truth, sometimes, after a career is over, the truth will slip out, and in retrospect, Ehrlichman always seemed the most self aware of that scurvy lot.


Anonymous said...

And nothing has changed..

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