Thursday, July 14, 2005

Juan Cole on Karl Rove

A lot of ink has been spilled on the subject of Karl Rove and his contempt for national security, but, as Informed Comment makes clear, the harm Rove has done, not just to the country's safety, but to the lives of countless individuals and to the cause of fighting terrorism in general, is impossible to overstate.

Rove made it clear from the very beginning of the planning for the war in Iraq that he would make sure anyone who publicly exposed Bush administration wrongdoing would suffer for doing so to the full extent that Rove could make them suffer. And no one doubted for a moment that he would make good on those promises.

But when Rove chose to make Joseph Wilson pay for exposing the fraudulence of the Bush administration's claims that Iraq had tried to buy uranium yellowcake from Niger, he topped anything he had done in the past, and demonstrated beyond any serious dispute that he has no concern whatsoever for national security, for law, or, quite literally, for the lives of any number of people who did nothing to cross Karl Rove.

Ambassador Joe Wilson ... was the first to let the American people know that the Bush administration lied about Iraq's alleged attempt to purchase uranium yellowcake from Niger. Wilson went to that country, investigated the structure of the uranium industry (which is mainly in French hands anyway), and concluded it was impossible. Bush and Cheney had believed a set of forged documents manufactured by a former employee of Italian military intelligence. ...

In revenge, Rove tried to discredit Wilson and perhaps also punish him and his family. The purpose of such punishment is always to bully and terrorize other employees, as well as to shut up the whistleblower. Since the Bush administration has done so many illegal things, if Washington insiders started blowing the whistle, there could be a hundred Watergates. Rove let everyone in Washington know that he would destroy anyone who dared step forward. The White House also dealt with former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil when he blew the whistle on the Bush planning for and Iraq War in January of 2001 (look at the date). They threatened O'Neill with jail time for revealing classified information, even though O'Neill had never been given any. He subsequently fell quiet. It is also said that the Bushies tried to prevent Anthony Zinni, a retired Marine Corps general, from getting any consulting gigs in Washington because he opposed the Iraq war.

But Rove's revenge on Wilson was the ultimate. Plame was undercover as an employee of a phony energy company. She was actually investigating illegal proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. When Rove blew her cover to the US press, everyone who had ever been seen with her in Africa or Asia was put in extreme danger. It is said that some of her contacts may have been killed. Imagine the setback to the US struggle against weapons of mass destruction proliferation that this represents. Rove marched us off to Iraq, where there weren't any. But he disrupted a major effort by the CIA to fight WMD that really did exist. [Emphasis added in text above.]

Prof. Cole notes the insistence by Rove and the Republican National Committee that Wilson was sent to Niger by the C.I.A., not by Pres. Bush, and asks, Why would it be a discredit to Wilson to have been sent to Niger by the Central Intelligency Agency?

Why would it matter that Valerie Plame suggested to the CIA that they send her husband Joe Wilson to Niger? Wilson had excellent credentials for the mission, which the CIA immediately recognized.

Rove can only have thought it would discredit Wilson to associate his mission with the CIA if he viewed the CIA as the enemy. This is the Richard Perle line. If Wilson was sent to Niger on the recommendation of a CIA operative, then he was not an objective ex-ambassador but a CIA plant of some sort, attempting to undermine the Bush administration and the military occupation of Iraq. ...

Rove views his own country's intelligence-gathering agency as the enemy! And why? Because anyone who questions or opposes the Executive Branch's policies in Iraq is a dangerous adversary.

The bottom line is that, in the context of his role as Bush's top adviser, Karl Rove is not motivated to serve his country's best interests by helping to implement Pres. Bush's policies. Rather, he sees his job as preserving and advancing the interests of George W. Bush, the man, the person, the wealthy Texan who is Karl Rove's close crony.

And that kind of individual should not be in any kind of position that gives him power to affect what happens to our country.

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