Junk Charges, Speculation and the Tips of Icebergs

October 27, 2005

On what we on the left are calling Fitzmas Eve, I want to share with you my thoughts on the matter. With regard to Patrick Fitzgerald’s grand jury investigations, some right-wingers have recently said that charges like perjury and obstruction of justice are petty, junk charges; that they are wastes of taxpayer money and beneath prosecution. These are the same people who, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, waxed eloquent and passionate about the absolute necessity of prosecuting these exact crimes to the fullest extent possible. If they are aware of their hypocrisy they hide their shame well.

But actually I find that to a certain extent I agree with them. I don’t know that I’d say such crimes weren’t worth prosecuting, but I do agree that focusing on them is missing a larger point. In the case of Mr. Clinton the lies were in service of covering up a tawdry extramarital affair. That, after all, was what really happened. Focusing on the “real issue” behind the charge can be instructive with regard to the seriousness of case, at least in the court of public opinion. In the case of the current investigations, what would perjury and obstruction of justice be about?

On its face, I suppose such lies under oath would have been to cover up the crime of outing an undercover CIA agent who was working on weapons of mass destruction. Think that through for a minute. Post-9/11. CIA. Undercover. Weapons of mass destruction. Someone blew her cover, jeopardizing her work and the safety of the country. Doing so is a serious crime, perhaps even a treasonous one. Contrast the seriousness of this with the aforementioned illicit affair.

As if that wasn’t enough, something even worse nags at me. I wonder how far the story goes. What was Joseph Wilson butting heads with the White House about, anyway? The documents which seemed to indicate that Saddam Hussein was building a nuclear weapon. The one’s that turned out to be forgeries. The ones that Wilson turned out to be right about. The ones that the president told the American people about in his State of the Union address. The ones his administration used to frighten us into a preemptive war.

Who forged the documents? Someone made them for a reason. What was that reason?

Follow me here for a second. Let us assume that someone in the White House outed Valerie Plame deliberately, knowing full-well that she was undercover CIA. Let us also assume that these individuals did so for the popularly speculated reason: to discredit Wilson, who had tried to point out that the Sadddam/nuclear thing was bunk. Does it seem entirely unbelievable that the same people might not have arranged this bogus evidence in the first place? Do you think it impossible that whomever sought to discredit Wilson and retain the bogus evidence for going to war might also have planted that same bogus evidence to begin with?

Does it seem like a Tom Clancy novel? The kind that got made into movies starring Harrison Ford in the 90s? Maybe. But in my heart of hearts I suspect that it could be true. I recoil from the magnitude of the offense, but I think it entirely possible that someone engineered a scheme to steer our country, the worlds only military superpower, into an unnecessary war under false pretenses. A war in which many thousands have died. That is my guess as to the true size and shape of the iceberg whose tip may tomorrow manifest itself as a perjury indictment.

I guess it’s unlikely that such a thing would ever be proven, let alone successfully prosecuted. In a very real way, I don’t even want to know if it is true. But I fear that it may be.

No comments yet

  1. Of coarse it is true.

    That is I think a perfect illustration of the moral fiber of the Bush family and the people they surround themselves with, associate with and make money with.

    Now America needs a big dose of fiber to help evacuate them from its system.

  2. Looking at this administration and the seemingly endless number of fingers being pointed in every direction but themselves is depressing. Yeah Clinton fooled around. Yeah he tried to lie about it. But who’s business was it that he did so in the first place? I can almost guarantee that the vast majority of the people casting shame upon him would be just as quick to deny such accusations had they been in the same situation.

    In cases in which harm is done to someone else’s well being i.e. war or declassification of someone’s job, I think it is something that deserves prosecution. It may be incorrect for me to try to create “degress of law-breaking” or double standards but I think the situations were two completely different issues. The first being none of our business regardless of who he was, and the latter being all of our business since we are supposedly in this “War on Terror”. When it seems as though someone on our own side is taking shots at another citizen, they deserve every bit of scrutiny. I’m glad indictments are being handed out. I just hope Rove gets his in the coming days of the extended investigation.

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