reality du jour
In a realm of discourse in which words have lost all normal meaning, it is not surprising to hear that Nixon also told Sulzberger, 'I rate myself as a deeply committed pacifist.' Many men have been 'committed' for less obvious lapses from reality.
I.F. Stone, 14 March, 1971, vol. 19. no. 6
So, this is Fitzmas?
Forgive me for missing the party, my internet went down...yeah, great timing...and the essay I wrote yesterday before all this news broke is now hopelessly out of date. (To be honest, it wasn't much to write home about anyway.) Coming back online today at 3PM was like...whoa, what a difference a day makes.
Now, I'm just a humble blogger out here on the West Coast, what do I know...but that New York Times story last night had the effect of setting official reality on its ear, didn't it?
The Vice President knew Valerie Plame's identity early in June of 2003 at least...and, more importantly, he knew that Scooter Libby knew, too, because the Vice President had told Libby that information himself. There's nothing exculpatory about that fact...as "innocent" as whomever leaked that story spun it out to be.
I mean, when the President joked about looking for WMD's hidden around the White House, I guess he should have been looking for leakers too, huhn? Instead we learn that Cheney's Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby, who was on the "team" preparing an anti-Wilson push-back with Karl Rove, learned of Plame's indentity from the Vice President himself, instead of from "someone in the press" as had been maintained all along. For the administration to withhold information like that from us while we held a Presidential election in 2004 seems to me to be a lot more than a technicality. I'd call it salient information for an impeachment proceeding.
The guy running the Vice President's office lied to a special prosecutor investigating the outing of a CIA operative? The guy running the President's reelection campaign lied to that same special prosecutor, and collaborated in the cover up? The President's Spokesperson misled the public in the President's name in no uncertain terms? And all the President needed to do to set this straight was to ask Dick Cheney for one piece of information? And these guys still have jobs?
Bush told us he wanted to "to get the bottom of this" and that "he'd fire anyone involved"?....yeah, and Richard Nixon was a deeply committed pacifist.
The folks in D.C., including the media, have forgotten something about our system of government: it derives its legitimacy from the consent of the governed. Perjury a technicality? Hmm, I'd say perjury in the investigation of the outing of a CIA agent would be called by another "T-word": treason. I'm not the only one. I'd say that using Valerie Plame's identity...obtained by dint of a security clearance...for whatever reason: to attack her husband, to attack her, to attack the CIA, to cover up the White House Iraq Group's exagerrated scare tactics in the build-up to the Iraq war counts as a serious abuse of power.
Last time I checked, treason and abuse of power were not mere technicalities. Hell, some would call them impeachable offenses.
I started this piece with a quote from I.F. Stone. Stone was the only journalist of his day to call the Johnson administration out on the bogus Gulf of Tonkin incident. There's a great number of folks who have wondered if the Niger "yellowcake" forgeries were not our very own Gulf of Tonkin incident. The times have changed. This issue isn't going away.
In my view, whatever course this investigation takes, it's time for a complete accounting of the information relating to the lead up to Bush's war in Iraq to be released to the public. All of it. Lawrence Wilkerson said it well:
Decisions that send men and women to die, decisions that have the potential to send men and women to die, decisions that confront situations like natural disasters and cause needless death or cause people to suffer misery that they shouldn’t have to suffer. Domestic and international decisions should not be made in a secret way. That’s a very, very provocative statement, I think. All my life I’ve been taught to guard the nation’s secrets. All my life I have followed the rules. I’ve gone through my special background investigations and all the other things that you need to do, and I understand that the nation’s secrets need guarding, but fundamental decisions about foreign policy should not be made in secret.
I would simply add that after the fact, in the aftermath of those secret decisions, when over 2000 lives have been lost because of those secret decisions...the American public deserves no less than a full accounting of the facts. And if the GOP, with their dominance in Congress and their President, reelected while keeping this secret from us, won't give it to us, then it's time for patriots to step up and do their part. As I.F. Stone wrote in another essay in 1971, on the heels of Daniel Ellsberg's leak of the Pentagon Papers:
The publication of secret government papers is hardly new. A patriot newspaper in Boston, thanks to a leak from Benjamin Franklin, published the Roayal Governor's correspondence on the eve of the Revolution. The furore over the Sedition Act began in 1798 when John Franklin Bache (Benjamin's grandson) published secret diplomatic documents to attack the covert Federalist war against France.
It's time for some courageous sources and journalists to do their duty and join the tradition of the Franklins and Ellsbergs and Stones of our nation's history.
The reality du jour is that the new boss is the same as the old boss. The similarities between Nixon and Reagan and Bush 1 and Bush 2 far outweigh their differences: we've been lied to once again and, once again, we've been lied to with an election on the line.
I don't know about you, but all this smells like a highly impeachable offense. And whether the GOP has the guts to go there or not doesn't mean we don't have an obligation to talk about it.
We the people would like some truth...now...thank you very much.