Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Roundup on Rove

I've been behind the curve in writing about Karl Rove's involvement in outing Valerie Plame, and the connections between the Rove scandal and the Downing Street minutes, which revealed the Bush administration's manipulation of facts to justify invading Iraq. A large part of the reason for my lateness is the immense confusion I feel when I start to explore this subject. But by now, better political analysts than I have examined the Rove mess from every angle, so here is a roundup of what some of them have to say:

The White House press corps has been hammering Scott McClellan about Rove on a daily basis, and McClellan refuses to answer their questions. Joe Aravosis at AMERICAblog wonders why an ongoing investigation should be a bar to McClellan's ability to say whether the President's closest adviser outed a C.I.A. agent. All he and George W. Bush have to do is "[w]alk two doors down the hall to Karl Rove's office" and ask him.

Echidne tells us that there is a direct connection between "the Plame Game" and the Downing Street minutes. First, there is the intention to deceive inherent in both.

Nothing was wrong with the way the White House decided to go to war in Iraq, nothing. So the White House says. Never mind the Downing Street Memo which indicates that the U.S. was determined to use military force; didn't the U.S. go to the U.N. first? Never mind that they did that exactly because the British wouldn't otherwise go along with the military force option, the very thing that is apparent from the DSM. Nothing to see here, move along, please. And look! There is a white woman over there being bitten by a shark.

The same approach is now being taken in the Plame Game. Nobody knows anything whatsoever, and the White House has complete confidence in Karl Rove[.]

Second, there is the substantive connection, spelled N-I-G-E-R.

The Bush administration chose to pretend that the Niger link was a real one and used this as "evidence" for the urgent need to go to war against Saddam. That Wilson then stated the lack of any such "evidence" created the need to punish him by outing his wife. Hence, the DSM and the Plame Game are telling us different pieces about the dishonesties of this administration in the pre-Iraq phase.

And last -- in order, but not in importance -- is what both the Rove affair and the Downing Street minutes tell us about the ethics of the Bush administration. "The only real crime seems to be getting caught."

Barbara O'Brien, Keith Olbermann, David Corn, E.J. Dionne, and Marshall Wittman (the last four cited in Barbara's post) all point out that Pres. Bush and his administration are the ones compromising national security, not the opposition party or liberals -- and Karl Rove is a prime example.

Rove put political considerations before national security when he publicly identified Valerie Plame as a C.I.A. operative to discredit her husband, Joseph Wilson, and to retaliate against Wilson, for publicly stating that a key piece of intelligence supporting the war against Iraq was false. The intelligence was false, but far more important to Rove than that was the fact that Wilson had put Rove's employer, George W. Bush, in a bad light.

It's more and more clear that "fighting terrorism" means something very different to righties than it does to me (and most liberals, I suspect). I think the ultimate goal of U.S. anti-terrorism policy should be to secure the safety of American citizens from terrorist attacks as much as possible. Further, I think all policies of the "war on terror" should be put to a cost/benefit test to be sure the policy truly serves that ultimate goal and is not, in fact, undermining that goal.

But to the Right, the "war on terror" represents both an inexhaustible political resource and a permission slip to be as xenophobic as they wannabe. Whether American citizens are more or less safe from terrorism as a result of U.S. policy is a secondary matter. ...

And that's why powerful Republicans can ride at supersonic speed to ever more wealth and power simply by enthusiastically supporting a war that is making Americans less and less secure; and ignore real security threats, such as underprotected urban infrastructure.

Terrorists strike where they can do the most damage and kill the most people. Terrorists strike cities. We've seen what a terrorist attack in New York City can do. A terrorist attack in the middle of Kansas would kill three cows and a coyote. American citizens who live and work in cities need government at all levels to do [more to] secure cities from terrorism as much as possible. People who live in the middle of Kansas don't need this. Yet our government treats security as just one more pork barrel, and priorities are determined by politics instead of by risk.

Which is why the White House is stonewalling on Rove, of course: because "Bush needs Rove's political skill to salvage his sorry-ass second term" -- and national security be damned.

For more on this, see Raw Story's copy of the "Republican talking points" that the Republican National Committee has sent around to "D.C. Talkers." Melissa at Shakespeare's Sister says, nice try, but this obvious attempt to discredit the Rove story by discrediting Joseph Wilson will not work, because "it doesn’t matter if Joe Wilson were a sociopathic, machete-wielding, two-headed baboon with a leather fetish. What matters is that his wife was an undercover CIA operative, information that was not (and should not have been) part of the public record until Rove opened his yap."

Melissa also provides the link to the video (at Crooks and Liars) and the transcript (at Think Progress) of Scott McClellan being grilled about the talking points by a reporter, who asks McClellan if the talking points were given to the RNC by Karl Rove himself, since the information is so specific it's unlikely to have come from anywhere else.

More to come.

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