Washington -- It is summer reading time, and I have a perfect book for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to bring to Martha's Vineyard, that posh Massachusetts resort where she and husband Bill always find a nice captain of industry to loan them a cottage with servants and golf clubs. The book is a modern French masterpiece, L'Effroyable Imposture, by France's next Jean-Paul Sartre, M. Thierry Meyssan, a sleepy-eyed moderate leftist, whose title, translated into English, reads "The Horrifying Fraud."
It is not a book about the Clintons. Rather it is a book about a topic Hillary herself introduced to America, the topic of "right-wing conspiracy." When first she mentioned that a conspiracy of conservatives was behind her husband's numerous scrapes with the law and with scandal in general, the press was dubious and the public bemused. Then gradual repetition of the conspiracy theory began to take hold. Columnists discovered that Linda Tripp had been a Republican, that Lucianne Goldberg once worked somehow for Richard Nixon, that Kathleen Willey and Paula Corbin Jones -- though Democrats -- spent a lot of time with Republicans, and Mrs. Willey's dead cat could have died by natural causes.
Soon reliable sources such as James Carville and David Brock were telling all. They knew that almost everyone who spoke ill of the Clintons had one thing in common, to wit, they were not party-line Democrats. Nor had any contributed to any of the Clintons' political campaigns. Some had military backgrounds. M. Meyssan's book makes many useful contributions to the Clintons' theory of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" here in America. "The Horrifying Fraud" argues that the September 11 attacks on America were carried out not by Islamic fundamentalists or by any foreigners at all. The attacks were the work of a right-wing conspiracy working within the American government. Who doubts that when Hillary gets her copy she will turn immediately to the index to see if Richard Scaife is mentioned or Lucianne?
By the way, this is no marginal book written by a writer on the fringes of French society. It has sold over 200,000 copies in France. It stands atop the French best-seller list shouting "Hillary was right." And the argument is exquisite, offering intellectual complexity that no Yankee Clintonite can match. According to M. Meyssan, Lucianne's agents inside the government were threatening to overthrow the Bush Administration by a coup (America's first ever) if he did not agree to expand the military budget and declare war against Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which countries have gotten on the right's nerves. Oil interests were also at issue, and in the case of Afghanistan, perhaps, rugs.
To increase pressure on the Bush Administration and possibly avoid the necessity of a coup (America's first ever) the right-wingers (or should we call them Republicans?) needed a provocation for the administration to attack Afghanistan, and Iraq and so they hit the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. Then they blamed the whole thing on the otherwise irreproachable Osama bin Laden.
The attack went like this. The right-wing conspiracists laid hands on a missile and fired it into the Pentagon. As for the planes that we all saw hit the World Trade Center, they were programmed to hit the towers. Apparently there were no pilots. Thus Osama bid Laden could not possibly have been involved, and all decent Americans owe him an apology. We should give him his caves back and even the bats.
The argument does leave some unanswered questions. One is where is that plane that the right-wingers would have us believe hit the Pentagon? It was an American Airlines plane. Could American Airlines be involved in the plot? That is a publicly-held company. And where are the passengers on the flight that M. Meyssan tells us never hit the Pentagon?
Possibly these questions will be answered by the time the American edition of this useful French contribution to the study of right-wing conspiracies hits the country. It is being translated into English and several other languages for distribution in 16 countries. I hope the American edition will have an introduction by a knowledgeable student of the "vast-right wing conspiracy," for instance former Clinton White House aide Sidney Blumenthal. Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe will surely be asked to do a blurb. And it is always possible that Hillary might too. You can be sure that in a matter of weeks she will have read it cover to cover. I am told she reads French and twelve other languages.
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