It's Bush-Cheney, Not Rove-Libby
As with Ms. Stewart, Mr. Bush’s paroxysm of panic was must-see TV. “The president was a blur of blinks, taps, jiggles, pivots and shifts,” Dana Milbank wrote in The Washington Post. Asked repeatedly about Mr. Rove’s serial appearances before a Washington grand jury, the jittery Mr. Bush, for once bereft of a script, improvised a passable impersonation of Norman Bates being quizzed by the detective in “Psycho.” Like Norman and Ms. Stewart, he stonewalled.
I love Rich. Maureen Dowd often nails a good image, but Rich knows how to slam-dunk the whole damned story.
Rich summarizes the now well known facts of the Valerie Plame case: how the Bush Administration conspired to discredit a critic of their Iraq policy, Joseph Wilson, by outing his wife (Valerie Plame) as a CIA agent, thereby jeopardizing her whole network of field operatives. For you non-Americans reading this blog, this is treason, a death penalty offense. But Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald still has to (1) prove it, and (2) determine how far up chain of command the conspiracy went.
Next, Rich covers the history of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), which formed in August, 2002, seven months before the invasion of Iraq. He outlines the circumstances that provided a climate of hubris, an enabling environment that permitted the WHIG boys (and girl -- don't forget Condi) to perpetrate this crime: namely, the fact that their inside man, Attorney General John Ashcroft, had his hands all over the case. Snip:
Though Mr. Rove may be known as “Bush’s brain,” he wasn’t smart enough to anticipate that Justice Department career employees would eventually pressure Mr. Ashcroft to recuse himself because of this conflict of interest, clearing the way for an outside prosecutor as independent as Mr. Fitzgerald.
Rich concludes his article by wondering whether we'll learn "how our . . . democracy was hijacked on the way to war." This coming week, we will at last see the fallout of Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation. I'm hoping his indictments will be the first step toward getting our country back on track.
Speaking of "on track": remember The Bridge on the River Kwai? British POWs, led by stalwart Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness), are forced by their Japanese captors to build a bridge. Nicholson scores an odd sort of victory over the enemy by not only building the railroad bridge but making a damned fine job of it. That bridge becomes Nicholson's obsession. Even though the other British POWs point out to him he's helping the Japanese, Nicholson will see that bridge built, come hell or high water.
I see parallels in the Plamegate snafu. The Bush Administration sought to win a war; never mind it was a war that had nothing to do with 9/11 or Usama Bin Laden. Winning that war has become Bush's bridge, his obsession, and he'll play straight into the enemy's hands to get the job done. By trashing our Constitution with the Patriot Act and the practice of extraordinary rendition, and by committing high treason in the Plamegate scandal, the Administration has done more to serve the enemy than Bin Laden could ever have accomplished through acts of terrorism.