Friday, March 9, 2007

Story of the Week - March 5-9

First of all, how do you get Ann Coulter to shut her mouth? Stop listening to her. And by God, don't buy her books.

Now, Story of the week.


Scooter Libby is a liar. That thing about Tim Russert telling him about covert CIA agent Valerie Plame? He made it up. And now he's going to jail for it. Maybe.

Oversimplified and quite possibly peppered with inaccuracy, here is the Scooter Libby story, and why, in the wake of this week's verdict, the call is out for Vice President Dick Cheney to resign:

In 2002, Joe Wilson, a former ambassador to African nations and Iraq, went to Niger, possibly on instructions from Cheney, to discover whether Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger and thus fuel their weapons of mass destruction. Wilson came home and said he doubted this was true.

That didn't stop the Bush administration from claiming in the 2003 State of the Union that "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." A number of articles including Joe Wilson's "What I didn't find in Africa" refute this in later months. In later months, the War in Iraq also begins, justified partly by the "evidence" from Africa.

More importantly in this case, Joe Wilson wrote that scathing article, which was true, critical of the Bush administration. Within the month, Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is outed as a CIA operative, in what Wilson alleges was the Bush administration's revenge on his criticisms. The act itself, he says, was orchestrated by Cheney (this is an ongoing lawsuit)

So someone outed this covert agent, and that's against the law. Judith Miller of the New York Times is asked to reveal her source and refuses, until Libby relieves her of her obligation to protect her sources and Miller essentially says it was Libby. And Libby says it wasn't. And he was lying.

Beyond that, if Cheney or Rove told Libby to out Plame, we don't know for sure, but a lot of people, including Joe Wilson, think so. Whether Libby lied to protect Cheney we also don't know, but it's possible. Regardless, Libby lied and he's going to jail for it.

The fascinating part of the story is what will happen to Cheney. Calls for his resignation have gone out from all sides, Republican and Democrat. It would help Bush, it would help Republican presidential candidates, it would give the democrats a say in who the next VP is, it would make the country better to have anyone but Cheney.

Sadly, these are mostly "what-if" scenarios. Cheney is way too arrogant to admit wrongdoing and defeat, especially since he wasn't convicted. Remember, when he shot his friend in the face (by accident), the friend apologized to Cheney! He's the same guy who, when the Bush campaign asked him to go find a Vice President he came back a few days later and said "I'll do it." He found himself. Now that's arrogance.

There is no doubt that Dick Cheney is arrogant, corrupt, vindictive, criminal, soulless, evil, and stubborn. There is also little doubt that he orchestrated the leak of Valerie Plame's identity with the intention of sabotaging her career to exact revenge on Joe Wilson. Each day, the guy reminds me more and more of Jafar from "Aladdin."

Which leads me to believe that even if Bush asked him to resign, he would say no, and it would take criminal conviction (not likely, says Libby Prosecutor Pat Fitzgerald) congressional impeachment (less likely) or a fatal burst blood clot in his leg (possible?) to remove him from office otherwise.

But just the thought or resignation and the prominent people voicing that thought is enough to make you think about how much this Vice President doesn't give a crap about anything but his own personal power and agenda. And sadly, there's not much we can do about it, and Cheney knows it.

There is good news, though: Cheney has no desire to run for President. So in 683 days, he'll be gone anyway.

Please, discuss. This is a monster story and we all can help each other understand it.

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