About the Author
Robert Parry, an award-winning investigative journalist, broke many of the stories now known as the Iran-contra affair, including the first story about Oliver North's secret network and the first story about Nicaraguan contra-cocaine trafficking. While working for The Associated Press, Newsweek and PBS Frontline, Parry covered the political intrigue of Washington and international hotspots from Iran to Haiti, from Israel to Nicaragua.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
There is a cynical old saying that the victors write the history. For those of us brought up on Westerns that made the Indians the aggressors and the U.S. cavalry the peacekeepers, we know there's something to that. But it is one of the ironies of the long Cold War that it is the American people -- the supposed victors -- who are seeing their own history sanitize d and miswritten. Even as the archives of ex-communist nations are opened, ev en as truth commissions wring the painful reality out of ex-rightist regimes, the American people are the ones most thoroughly kept in the dark about the unsavory secrets of the past half century. Without doubt, the conventional history is more comforting, less troubling, the American government making the right decisions or at least ones justified by the exigencies of a long struggle against a ruthless enemy. To encounter the secret history is disturbing, unnerving. It comes with a sense of vertigo, the uneasy discovery that what one assumed to be true might not be. The secret history is a challenge. It is the unpleasant reality that exists beneath the surface of our time. It also is a history in danger of being lost, possibly forever. With a national news media absorbed by tabloid journalism and disinterested in serious research, many U.S. operatives who prosecuted the Cold War are agin g and passing away without their experiences being recorded. Other times, the glut of trivial information obscures the pieces of valuable evidence that do enter the public domain. At least in the near term, our understanding of this recent era -- and our nation's role in it -- is way off the mark. It is as if the final price for winning the Cold War is our national confinement to a permanent childhood, where reassuring fantasies and endless diversions shield us from the hard truth of our own recent history...