Where should we start…so much has already been said and written about the CIA leak scandal that I am not sure I can add much more to the debate. But, it’s important that we not lose sight as to what is really happening here… yes, perjury is a major crime (not to mention obstruction of justice), particularly when it’s about national security and the reasons for war… but, that’s not what this scandal is really about.
It’s about a massive cover up…but, not about who outed Valerie Plame or the “swift boating” of Joseph Wilson or any critic of the Bush Administration…it’s about a cover up of the manipulated facts and outright lies used by the Bush Administration to justify the war in Iraq. It’s about making sure that their agenda was not exposed. It’s about making sure that their critics were silenced.
We now know that Iraq had no relationship with Al Qaeda, that Iraq had no involvement with 9/11, no weapons of mass destruction and were not seeking nuclear material from Africa…we now know that Dick Cheney and his cabal (Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff’s description, not mine) were set on attacking Iraq and sought “facts” to create their case for war. We now know that they knew these “facts” to be false even while President Bush was repeating them in his State of the Union speech. We now know that their actions have created the greatest terrorist state the world has ever known in Iraq, when none existed there before. And, we now know that more than 2,000 Americans have died and thousands more have sustained life-altering injuries because of these lies.
Yes, perjury is a serious matter. So where is the outrage from the Republican party, from the same people who chose to impeach Bill Clinton for lying about an affair, not about a war. These same people are now suggesting that perjury is “just a technical issue” and that no crime has been committed. And where is the outrage by President Bush? Didn’t he say that he would fire anyone “involved” with the leak? Didn’t President Bush campaign on bringing honesty and integrity to the White House? Now that it is clear that Karl Rove just missed being indicted and that both he and the Vice President were materially involved in this scandal, I would hope that the President would use this opportunity to show that ethics in government still matter and narrowly escaping indictment is no reason to celebrate.
If the President is looking to restore credibility in government he must fire Karl Rove and anyone else involved and insist that Vice President Cheney come clean with the American public. Senator Schumer put it best this weekend when he said, on CBS’ Face the Nation, that “The real question for President Bush is going to be: is he going to be like Nixon — hunker down, get into the bunker, admit no mistakes,” Schumer said, “or like Reagan, who actually admitted mistakes, did a midcourse correction and brought in new people, bipartisan people, people above ethical reproach, into the White House.”
Plain and simple, this scandal is not about Valerie Plame. This scandal is about power, Iraq and more than 2,000 dead soldiers.