Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Plame Affair as Symbol

I have deliberately chosen not to blog much on this topic for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that other bloggers were doing such a fine job at crafting posts that gave both a broad over-view of the whole sick story and a nice tie up of all the sordid details that I couldn't possibly have added anything. That doesn't mean I haven't been tracking the story and pondering its implications. It would be hard for any thinking person to avoid doing so once the press finally (after nearly two years) began giving the story the coverage it deserves.

As October winds down, the media in all its forms (including the internet versions) are filled with rumors, with predictions, and with promises. The word is that either this week (perhaps today) or next, Patrick Fitzgerald will be issuing indictments and/or a final report on his investigation into the unlawful identification of an undercover CIA agent. That members of the White House staff were involved in this despicable form of punishment of someone who dared disagree with the official regime in its push for war in Iraq is clear. Just how far up the operation went is still a matter of speculation, but it is conceivable that the Vice President and President were involved, either before or after the fact.

I admit that a part of me is thirsting for indictments. That part of me wants to see these arrogant pissants taken down for believing that they were above the law, above decency,and could do whatever they wanted, including destroying a career, just to get whatever they wanted. That part of me reveled in the indictment of Abramoff because the investigation of that lobbyist has to be making a whole slew of elected politicians nervous that they will be mentioned as recipients of Mr. Abramoff's largesse. That part of me chuckled with the indictments of Tom De Lay because his brand of sleaze compromised the electoral process in Texas and the legislative process in Congress. That part of me laughed out loud when the news hit that Bill Frist is being investigated for insider trading of stock supposedly held in blind trust while he serves as a Senator and Senate Majority leader because of the sheer hypocrisy exposed.

Still, a larger part of me is feeling an incredible sadness over those matters and the larger matter of the Plame Affair, which I believe stands as a symbol of the sickness that has taken over American politics and the American landscape itself. I don't believe America is a "special" nation, "ordained by God" to lead the world in anything. We are a comparatively young, certainly brash nation made up of human beings, some of whom actually believe in democracy and the principle that a free and responsible nation has much to contribute to the world. Instead of being an example of hope, however, we have become the antithesis: a nation to fear because we have become the world's bully.

Our so-called free press, which our founders envisioned would be the source and protector of all our freedoms, instead has been reduced to the role of water carriers for the regime. It is no accident that the Plame Affair involved the press. From Robert Novak's column outing Valerie Plame by name to Judith Miller's incarceration for contempt, reporter after reporter have been directly involved in Grand Jury testimony. The White House staff knew that they could get at least someone in the press to do the dirty work, and they were right. Then, after a few articles about the coming investigation, the press got quiet. Little was published about the alleged crime until Judith Miller found herself in jail. Now, the papers, magazines, and television news are filled with stories about the pending indictments. It took two years. The story did have legs.

Unfortunately, this same press, which should be embarrassed both by its role in the scandal and its failure to cover that scandal honestly, is now giving ink and time to those who would justify what may be a major crime as simply evidence of "the criminalization of politics." The equation runs like this: compromising a CIA's cover and the cover of the agent's sources with the possible compromise of a program investigating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (including nuclear weapons) is simply "hardball politics." The security of the nation be damned.

The press was supposed to alert us when the government engaged in behavior designed to harm us all. Instead, it was complicit with the government. It was no different than the organs of the state in the old USSR or in the most brutal of dictatorships.

Sad. Tragically so.

3 Comments:

Blogger One Salient Oversight said...

What a great post! You have captured my feelings exactly - a sense of excitement and joy over the coming political storm, but deep sense of despair that things have become like this.

I honestly think this investigation may reach the top - impeachment of Bush now appears closer than ever. But there is no doubt that, if this were to happen, it would bring America great shame. Nevertheless, the truth must be told.

11:58 PM  
Blogger Eli said...

Has anyone asked the question whether Republicans would consider Bush being named as an "unindicted co-conspirator" to be sufficient grounds to impeach him?

8:13 AM  
Blogger One Salient Oversight said...

Eli,

That is the hope that the liberal blogosphere do not wish to discuss...

8:24 PM  

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