A Shakespearean Glance at the People and Issues of the Day.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Hotspur and the 9/11 Commission


Our text today is Act V, scene ii of Henry IV Part I. The rebels are huddling over the question of how to handle their mercurial young leader, Hotspur. Certainly telling him the truth won't do (Worcester is Hotspur's uncle):

Wor: "O, no, my nephew must not know, Sir Richard,
The liberal and kind offer of the King."

Vernon: "'Twere best he did."

Wor: "Then are we all undone.
It is not possible, it cannot be,
The King should keep his word in loving us;
He will suspect us still and find a time
To punish this offense in other faults.
Suspicion all our lives shall be stuck full of eyes;"

Worcester and Vernon substitute their own judgment for Hotspur's even though he is the most exposed, deciding they are in too deep to be trusted or forgiven by any succeeding regime should all the facts regarding their betrayal be discovered. That's why they steal classified intelligence documents from the national archives relating to their prior dealings with Saddam Hussein. Worcester, disguised as former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, inserts those documents into his clothing for transport home. In Henry V, two dramatic elections later in Shakespeare's history cycle, Berger's resulting prosecution will result in a slap on the wrist from the succeeding administration. Clearly, Worcester, Vernon and Berger misjudged the next Henry's and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez's forgiving nature even in the face of such perfidy.

Worcester goes on explains the Byzantine intrigue of contemporary American politics in further detail:

"For treason is but trusted like the fox,
Who, never so tame, so cherished, and locked up.
Will have a wild trick of his ancestors…."

Here we see Worcester surprise our audience by casting off his men's apparel to reveal himself to actually be Jamie Gorelick (just as Ganymede in As You Like It was actually Rosalind and Cesario in Twelfth Night was actually Viola), the very person responsible for the pre-Iraq war administrative firewall which inanely separated CIA-gathered intelligence from use in domestic law enforcement and prosecution. Gorelick, through a wild trick of her ancestor Worcester, secures a seat on the 9/11 Commission, whose report scants mention of Henry IV's conciliatory gesture, I mean of the firewall.

Wor: "Look how we can, or sad or merrily,
Interpretation will misquote our looks,
And we shall feed like oxen at a stall,
The better cherished still the nearer death…".

The ox feeding at the stall is of course former President Clinton who, looking how he can sad or merrily, finds himself repeating as recently as last night, and with the obsessiveness of Lady Macbeth, his insistence that he was focused like a laser beam while in office on capturing Osama Bin Laden.

But Worcester is not yet through with his rationalizations. His focus shifts at last to the future, to the ideological progeny borne of his and Vernon's corruption, employing his nephew Hotspur's name as a place marker for, the privileged son of Soros, another modern Worcester avatar:

Wor: "My nephew's trespass may be well forgot;
It hath the excuse of youth and heat of blood,
And an adopted name of privilege –
A harebrained Hotspur, governed by a spleen,
All his offenses live upon my head
And on his father's. We did train him on,
And, his corruption being ta'en from us,
We as the spring of all shall pay for all,
Therefore, good cousin, let not Harry know
In any case the offer of the King."

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