Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Scooter

There has been a lot written about Scooter Libby recently, and it may be difficult for people to sort out. Let me see if I can help.

For about two years, many in Washington and throughout the country have wondered who, if anyone, would be implicated in the outing of a CIA agent. This is serious because no less a light than George Herbert Walker Bush called the outing of a CIA agent, “the most insidious form of treason.”

This just shows how little imagination George Herbert Walker Bush had. It never occurred to him that someone could out a spy simply to discredit a critic who had the temerity to point out that the President of the United States was lying about the main justification for a war that has cost more in lives than the attack on the World Trade Center.

George Herbert Walker did get one thing right. He called Joe Wilson a true American Hero. According to the Washington Post,

In 1990, while sheltering more than 100 Americans at the U.S. Embassy and diplomatic residences, Wilson briefed reporters while wearing a hangman's noose instead of a necktie -- a symbol of defiance after Saddam threatened to execute anyone who didn't turn over foreigners.

The message, Wilson said: “If you want to execute me, I'll bring my own fucking rope.”

George W. Bush is a down-to-earth man of the people, and so he could not abide a show-boater like Joe Wilson. So much the more so when the President was saying stuff like “The smoking gun could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.” Wilson was showing off that he had been an ambassador, had investigated Iraq’s alleged efforts to get mushroom cloud fuel, and found that – to put it politely—it was a lie.

But how to make Wilson pay for his impudence? The President himself was a brave, courageous leader and so the answer seemed obvious: he would use surrogates to attack Wilson’s wife. This might have been a problem because she was an under-cover agent of the CIA, and therefore care must be taken to leave no evidence pointing back to the President.

Much of the rest of the story is well known. The CIA objected to one of its agents being outed. It seemed to be bothered by the fact that making her status known would endanger the life of the several people who worked with her, or dealt with her when she was supposedly an energy analyst at Brewster-Jennings.

Things kind of spun out of control. Next thing you knew, there was a special prosecutor, a grand jury, and just a whole bunch of things. One of the best friends of the administration went to jail, and everyone got the idea that the White House was in deep kim-chee -- especially Karl Rove, whose nicknames compared him variously to Bush’s brain or excrement. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

Anyway, it could have gone bad for the White House because the special prosecutor seemed like a serious guy, intent on doing his job. Once again, the pessimists misunderestimated the Bush White House.

A team had been assembled that could do things that others would have thought impossible. For example, they lost two elections and still managed to show up in the winner’s circle on Inauguration Day. It seemed that whenever they needed a hero of their own, one would appear.

And so it was that Scooter Libby burst onto the national consciousness. When the situation called for Obstruction of Justice, he was the administration’s go-to guy.

So now you know exactly what George W. Bush meant when he said, "Scooter has worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people and sacrificed much in the service to this country. He served the Vice President and me through extraordinary times in our nation's history."

... and tell 'em Big Mitch sent ya!

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