Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Scooter Libby: What's This Trial Really Saying?

The important thing with the Scooter Libby trial is not what we may learn in the next few weeks. This is more about realizing what we already know. The trial should - once and for all - put to rest the notion that Iraq happened because of bad intelligence that misled our leaders. There is a huge amount of spin to that effect, but the Scooter Libby trial is a chance for the American People to contemplate the truth and to realize - finally - that the case for war with Iraq was a fraud.

Sure, we will learn some new information about the Bush White House. It's going to be fascinating, and it will most likely clarify some things about Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. When last heard from by the Right Wing on this matter, the media owed Karl Rove a big apology for besmirching his good name. How dare anyone suggest he could be involved in a dirty, vindictive attempt to bring down his enemies? That would be so out of character for the misunderstood genius, right? Even though he's shown a pattern of this behavior going back to - oh - around 3rd grade.

Yes, watching these people turn on each other will be deeply satisfying to anyone who dislikes the Bush administration. Who knows? Cheney and Rove could still end up out of their jobs and that would be good for America. There's no reason to keep Karl Rove around now, except - of course - that he knows too much.

It was different back when the Plame case started. Karl had to be protected at all costs because he was believed to be the only person who could deliver a win in the 2006 Midterms. So he stuck around only to be surprised when the American People decided against his efforts anyway - a turn of events that will go down in history as one of the great political rescues of all time.

The country was literally brought back from the brink. Two more years of a rubber-stamping, page-chasing GOP Congress, and the Imperial Presidency may have wreaked so much havoc that there would be nothing left to save.

Yes, this should be good, but the danger for the anti-Bush crowd is to get too bogged down in these personal animosities. This trial should be used to make a bigger point. Look back at what happened here.

This started with an editorial in the New York Times in which Joe Wilson challenged the Niger yellow-cake uranium claims. Suddenly we have the Vice President of the United States personally responding - to one editorial. How did that merit anything more than just a quick dismissal - if that much? Sure, you can argue that the Vice President just enjoys being a prick and that he decided to go after Joe Wilson as Washington sport - just as something to do. The Plames would be the quails of the day.

Any theory that is based on Cheney being an asshole, has to be taken seriously, but the response was much greater than the situation warranted. Besides, Cheney was busy. So what if one little detail in the airtight case for war with Iraq was in doubt? What's the big deal? They had a ton of evidence that backed up their need to do this, right?

The fact that the Vice President and Karl Rove went after Joe Wilson so vigorously is a huge clue in how we got into Iraq: The administration knew full well that their case for war was a crock and that if critics started openly examining it, the whole con job would quickly unravel. Better to respond to this question on Niger with a full-court press. Better to slam this guy hard so the rest of the critics would know not to make a sound. The Valerie Plame case was a giant "Don't go there."

If they had a real case for war, it would have been much simpler. They could let the truth speak for itself. When you're working a con it takes a lot of extra energy. That's why Cheney would personally drive over and meet with the CIA analysts - something that had never happened before. And that's why the White House freaked out when Joe Wilson spoke up.

Of course, it is absolutely perfect that these phony macho, chicken hawks would go after Joe Wilson's wife. Just on a family values level or a manly level, that is so revealing. The idea that they would compromise an employee of the CIA - and all those people who she used to work with who could still be out in the field - also says all you need to know about the phony patriotism this bunch spewed.

But sleazy facts like these are merely asides. The main point is that Cheney and company had to respond so vigorously because they were perpetrating a fraud on the American People by going into Iraq. Any criticism could lead to an examination of the rest of their case, and then the entire criminal enterprise would be exposed. That's what the Scooter Libby trial is trying to reveal - if we just want to see it.

5 Comments:

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