July 20, 2005
By Ken Sanders
when he was running for president, Bush the born-again straight-shooter
promised to restore dignity to the White House, tarnished and sullied
by the oversexed and hair-splitting presidency of Bill Clinton.
But recent events compel one to wonder (again) if Bush has restored,
or is even capable of restoring, dignity to the office of president.
The recent events all revolve around the question of who in the
White House outed CIA agent Valerie Plame in an alleged plot to
injure Joseph Wilson for criticizing Bush's plan to invade Iraq.
Last week, Bush's puppet-master, Karl Rove, was named as the first
person to tell Time reporter Matthew Cooper that Wilson's
wife worked for the CIA. This weekend, Time further revealed
that Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff,
was Cooper's other source.
The revelation of the involvement of both Rove and Libby in the
Plame affair is significant if only because for two years the White
House adamantly denied that either official had any involvement
in Plame's outing. In fact, so certain was Bush that no one in his
administration, including Rove and Libby, were involved in outing
Plame that on June 10, 2004, he answered a succinct "yes" to the
unambiguous question of whether he stood by his pledge to fire anyone
who leaked Plame's identity. Now, a little over a year later, Bush
has back-pedaled and will only fire someone if they "committed a
President Bush's qualification of an earlier and unambiguous vow
to fire anyone who revealed Plame's identity, regardless of criminal
liability, is telling. Bush's qualification can and should be read
as the White House's tacit admission that Bush's ventriloquist and
Cheney's "Scooter" leaked Plame's identity to Time's Cooper.
Bush's retreat still provides him with an out if either Rove or
"Scooter" are indicted since to be charged with a crime is far different
than to have committed a crime. Therefore, if either Rove or "Scooter"
end up being indicted, don't be surprised if they remain on the
The involvement of these two "public servants" is further significant
because it lends additional credence to Wilson's allegations that
his wife's safety was jeopardized by the White House as retribution
for Wilson's sin of candor. To be sure, Wilson has certain credibility
problems, not the least of which was his failure to mention that
his wife, not Cheney's office, recommended him for the trip to Niger.
Wilson's credibility issues, however, pale in comparison with those
of the Bush administration's. What has been, but should not be lost
in "Plamegate" is that despite Wilson's admonishment that allegations
of Saddam's attempt to purchase uranium from Niger were "bogus,"
the White House nonetheless included the claim in its pre-war sales
pitch. The claim was included in Bush's State of the Union addres,
Once the the Niger claim was revealed to be fabricated and false,
the White House pled scrivener's error and George Tenet took the
fall. In honor of his distinguished service in misleading the public,
Tenet was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Kudos for a
The Niger claim, however, was only a part of the Bush administration's
overall fabrication of bases for invading Iraq. The revelations
in the Downing Street Memos that Bush & Co. "fixed" the intelligence
around the policy of regime change in Iraq reveal a broader scheme
by the White House to falsify and fabricate intelligence to justify
the administration's predisposition to invade Iraq.
The White House has never denied the Memos' authenticity nor attempted
to explain the Memos' claim of fixed intelligence. The press has
not insisted that it do so. Indeed, the White House has yet to be
pressed to explain anything about the Memos, much less about how
or even if the White House manipulated intelligence to garner support
for the Iraq war. For the most part, the press still takes the word
of the White House as the gospel truth. Knowing this, the Bush administration
has little to fear.
Born-again and sober as a judge, Bush promised to deliver us from
Clinton's legacy of sin and debauchery. Instead, Bush defrauded
the nation into an intractable war in Iraq, resulting in tens of
thousands of dead and wounded, and likely increasing the terrorist
threat to our national security in the process. To conceal his Ponzi
scheme, Bush and his cronies endangered the life of a CIA operative
and her contacts, as well as further undermined national security.
The question, then, is this: who will restore dignity to the White
House following the damage done by the Bush administration?