Guns to Drug Dealers Storm on US Attorney General Republicans’ Dream of “Obama’s Watergate”

Congress censured Eric Holder’s behavior for his answers during the hearings about operation Fast and Furious, when the U.S. Government supplied guns to drug traffickers in order to trace them and stop the drug trade. The operation has been proved to be a total failure, and President Obama is likely to pay for it.

NEW YORK—Fast and Furious is the code name of a wretched top-secret operation that the U.S. government has organized against drug-traffickers. It is becoming a nightmare for President Obama; a scandal that conservatives want to turn into Obama’s “Watergate.”

A first step has been taken: This afternoon the U.S. House of Representatives committee investigating the affair voted to censure Attorney General Eric Holder. Next week, a full vote is scheduled on the issue: It is the first time in US history that an Attorney General will be “put on trial” in the House of Representatives. As a result, Holder risks being dismissed, if he is found guilty of “contempt of Congress.” Obama would lose one of the most trusted men, a leading component of his administration, and the most important African American in this government after the president himself.

It all starts with Operation Fast and Furious, a secret program ordering the anti-drug federal agency Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (ATF) to sell arms to drug-traffickers in order to trace the arms’ flow, and to seize criminal organizations’ leaders.

The operation turned out to be a disaster, because tracing the arms became impossible. Drug traffickers used arms in crime scenes, where many Mexican officers and a U.S. federal agent died. No criminals’ leaders have been seized thanks to Fast and Furious. The scandal even had a negative effect on the diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Mexico.

A similar operation dates back to 2006, so the Bush administration was involved in it. However, Holder got himself into trouble because of his answers to the first question in Congress. At first, the U.S. attorney general downplayed his role and the information he has. In some cases, the members of Congress investigating the scandal believe Holder deliberately misled them.

The situation’s worst aspect is that the investigation is being carried out in the House of Representatives, where Republicans have the majority. Yesterday, the Congressional vote obeyed a strict party discipline. If that’s the way things are, the same vote is likely to happen again next week. The right-wing will hardly miss the tempting opportunity to inflict a shattering blow to Obama a few months before the elections.

Moreover, behind the right-wing campaign against Holder is a “conspiracy” wave, which the most right-wing extremist radio talk shows have been ringing with for months, and which even some members of the Congress have listened to. According to this fringe, which has forgotten that “Fast and Furious” began under George Bush, the operation of supplying arms to drug dealers would have had a very different purpose: Obama is aiming at triggering an escalation in violence off, which would justify the launch of a campaign against gun ownership. It’s an old bogeyman, because Republicans always fear that the black president wants to deprive Americans of one of their “fundamental” rights, regardless of the fact that Obama has actually been silent on the gun issue throughout his tenure.

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