Tuesday, November 01, 2005

War, Lies, and Videotape

Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice-President Cheney's Chief of Staff, has now been indicted on five counts of perjury and obstruction of Justice. He has lied repeatedly in the Grand Jury investigation of the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, whose husband, Joseph Wilson, had the temerity to publicly challenge the Administration's case for war against Iraq.

In one sense, this is a victory for those who have opposed this administration’s illegal war. But in another, the limiting of the indictment to one man's lies simply continues the cover-up of war crimes. That is because, for one, the best guess is that Libby will cop a guilty plea, thus avoiding a trial that could expose the real reason for his "obsession" with Joseph Wilson. The spin meisters are already hard at work saying that yes, Libby was powerful enough to have acted on his own in revealing Valerie Plame's identity to reporters. David Brooks on the 10/28 Newshour asserted exactly that.

So what we had was an administration trying to cover up the Big Lie with the Little Lie. The only problem is that the Big Lie is preserved for all to see on videotape: the President, in his 2003 State of the Union Address saying that British intelligence has learned that Saddam Hussein has tried to purchase uranium from Africa; Vice-President Cheney asserting time and again the certainty that Saddam is building nuclear weapons; Condoleeza Rice indulging in that most fearsome imagery, the mushroom cloud, which her President repeats in a subsequent speech: we cannot wait for the smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud. All this and more were reprised in Maria Hinojosa's report on NOW the PBS News Magazine 10/28 edition. And what it demonstrates is that the most serious lie of all, leading a nation to unprovoked aggression on false pretenses, has been committed by the sitting President of the United States.

This is why Joseph Wilson had to be stopped, had to be punished with the outing of his wife. To cover the Big Lie with the Little Lie. And of course, the Little Lie of little "Scooter" Libby is now said to be his alone--this generation’s lone gunman. Acting on his own volition, without the approval or knowledge of his boss, the Vice, or his bigger boss, the President, or the other key source who escaped indictment, the father of Bush lies, Karl Rove.

It is the current Big Lie. To believe which, to believe that "Scooter" acted on his own at the risk destroying an entire presidency, is to reveal that one suffers (or the nation suffers collectively) from a cerebro-rectal inversion.

[To read the transcript of Maria Hinojosa's report on NOW see here.]

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