News and events revolving around the ousting of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Rove violation only one flame in conflagration

Posted: July 21, 2005
by: Editors Report / Indian Country Today

If Deep Throat had ultimate justice (and perhaps some retribution) in mind when he led the trail of Watergate to Nixon, the intent of Karl Rove, the alleged Shallow Lips of Plamegate, lacks any such lofty value. Plamegate refers to the growing scandal of a White House office likely betraying an undercover CIA agent in order to get at a ''political enemy.''

The intent for Rove was to destroy the credibility of the agent's husband, a career diplomat who correctly questioned a significant intelligence claim - Saddam's alleged purchase of uranium from Niger - used to justify the hyped-up war against Iraq. The senior U.S. diplomat was Joseph Wilson, who had been assigned by the U.S. government to get the facts and whose measured assessment contradicted the rush to judgment of a Bush government already committed to a war of invasion and occupation. His wife's name, Valerie Plame, was first revealed by acerbic pundit Robert Novak.

The nimble Rove, who has launched and sidestepped many a dirty deed in his 20-plus years of building the difficult credibility of his career candidate, George W. Bush, seems a cornered man this time. Rubbish, once delicious, now gathers around him as he is ''outed'' daily in the national news for his role in the campaign to discredit Wilson.

It all stinks, but the worst of all is that it fits the overwhelming pattern of the aggressive political culture of the ultra-conservative movement. Most tellingly, it exposes the extent of willingness to suppress objective intelligence while building a case for a war plan already in motion. The public revelation of Plame's name (who was a loyal servant of the country before Rove focused on her) is one of the worst political dirty tricks in decades. Plamegate is about political retribution at its worst and it deserves to be fully prosecuted as an example to the country that this type of political behavior is not tolerable.

The Plamegate scandal now becomes an urgent political discussion. The case features a main player in Rove, who most clearly exemplifies how far the White House circle has been willing to go to suppress not only opponents but also the actual intelligence as it formulated sensitive foreign policy. Rove is the political ''Rasputin'' of Bush's inner circle - ''the architect,'' Bush has nicknamed him. For others, Rove is ''Bush's Brain,'' as a book and documentary by that name argued. More exactly, Rove is the jugular man of the G.W.B. juggernaut. He goes for the kill every time, at least in the political arena. He plays rough and doesn't hesitate to besmirch his opponents by creating media negativity with planted suggestions and lies. He is masterful and brilliant, with a keen sense of timing and a ruthless propensity to willingly muck up the nature of open discourse.

The apparently preferred methodology of putting ideology and political motive ahead of objective intelligence assessment is increasingly suspect to an American public growing weary of losing young lives and future economic well-being to a war decided upon so arbitrarily.

Significant numbers of learned people - largely ignored by the mainstream media - made it clear before it was launched that making war on Iraq ran against the current of common sense facts on the ground. Major players - including Bush the elder and his then-general, Colin Powell - had known better in 1991 than to occupy Iraq with American armed forces. Adeptly, and with statesmanlike acumen, they understood that Iraq's ethnic composition and history would prove a most dangerous and self-defeating deployment of American forces (not to mention the potential horrific toll and loss of life inflicted upon the Iraqi people once their society was fractured).

Ignoring the advice of the elder generation of Republican leadership, the administration moved directly to make war. Charged with messianic planning by his top ''thinkers,'' the makers of the war policy were adamant about brushing aside any contradicting intelligence. Thus, President Bush was convinced American ''power and will'' would be sufficient to permanently formalize and democratize the monumental sandstorms of violence and tentacled political quicksands of the controverted region.

On the political rumble level, Rove moved to destroy anyone with information contradicting the prescribed route to war on Iraq. The wanton miscalculation, at a time when strategic depth could have reaped huge rewards for a more inclusive U.S. foreign policy, has been very costly, both in lives and in treasure.

The Iraq quagmire is increasingly revealed as the result of decisions based on ideological directive rather than the pragmatic assessment of likelihood of success or failure. Tunnel vision is the hallmark of the ideologue.

Which points to the deepest consequence of the Rove debacle, featuring as it does a prime example of the harsh, valueless approach now common to political strategy and practice. One or another of the radical fringes of U.S. politics was bound to break through and invade the core institutions of the country. The right beat the left in that battle, and its true-believer minions have infected the core of American political institutions. Rove is a general to those happy-go-lucky political troops, but the real troops are in Iraq, dying.

Only now, boots deep in mud and gore, is the American public waking up to the long-term, seemingly never-ending, war policy it voted in and apparently signed up for. The Rove spy-outing affair, Plamegate, is only one symptom eliciting attention. Curing the disease will prove substantially more difficult.


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