The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Valerie Plame case is like a lazy Saturday morning in bed, after one has woken up and fallen asleep several times. This blissful state is usually spent pondering unimportant and uninteresting topics such as the ceiling or the quality of the breeze coming in the window; at some point these musings completely fail to hold one's attention and unconsciousness results.

Joe Wilson was tasked by the Bush administration to travel to Niger and investigate Saddam Hussein's possible attempts to procure fissible material. He did not find any such attempts, which is of course conclusive -- just like when I look on my dresser for the car keys and don't see them, that conclusively proves that they are not there, except later when I find them on that dresser under a magazine. Syndicated columnist Robert Novak, speculating why the Bush administration would send a hostile Wilson to Africa, noted that his wife worked for the CIA. This violated ... snrgk ... unhh ... zzzz ....

Did I fall asleep? Sorry about that, but there was nothing really interesting about what Novak wrote about some bureaucrat's wife. (It is interesting that Novak is known as the "Prince of Darkness." Novak does not murder people, or molest children, or belong to a cult, or support totalitarian movements. He is a Republican.)

It is against the law to disclose the identity of an undercover agent. On the other hand, there is such a thing as perspective, and it is clear that Plame's fifteen minutes of fame from Novak's column have done her no harm. People who fear the disclosure of their identity do not usually pose for photo spreads in Vanity Fair. Also there is considerable dispute over whether Plame really was an undercover ... under these covers ... these are nice covers, cool, a nice pastel color ... zzzz ...

(Blink. Blink. Blink.) So ... who gives a shit, and why? Did Karl Rove break the law by telling Bob Novak that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA? Maybe, but even if he did, so what? Plame is not exactly sneaking around Damascus with a GPS transmitter and ceramic gun. Politicians do vile things all the time, but this is on the order of not reporting a gift from a lobbyist worth twenty-five dollars.

Honest to Christ, what is there to keep Mickey Kaus at the keyboard for hours, wasting time that could be profitably spent twitting Excitable Andy and incompetent auto executives? Tom MacGuire of "Just One Minute" has done yeoman's work dissecting the many and varied idiocies of the New York Times, but would anyone criticize him for mailing it in just this once? "Today the Times said ... I don't know, something to reassure Manhattan liberals that the Bush reign of terror is almost over. I'm going to the ball game. See ya. Oh, and Judith Miller is speaking in tongues and claiming to be the reincarnation of Joan of Arc."

And we all know that it's not a smear for Rove and Novak to identify Plame as a CIA operative. The Democratic Party has decades of experience defending the sanctity of America's intelligence agencies. In 1982 the law was passed that made it a crime to disclose the identities of agents. Morton Halperin -- pal of Philip Agee, who published the identities of hundreds of agents in the 70's and managed to get the Athens station chief assassinated -- opposed this legislation, saying that the CIA is "the subverter of everybody else's freedom." In 1993 Clinton nominated Halperin to be an assistant secretary of defense. That's how much Democrats care! (John Kerry's web site has a petition calling for Rove to resign. What was Kerry's position on Halperin?)

It's the wild enthusiasm of liberals for Rove's prosecution that is the most notable thing about the Plame scandal. The left's sudden and overwhelming love for protecting the secrecy of CIA agents (even if they don't particularly need or want it) is startling and not a little unnerving, just like their previous wild enthusiasm for people who salute with precision, and claimed to have run guns to Cambodia. It's like the friend or relative you have who takes up a new hobby every six months. This summer he's blowing a grand or two on precision paintball equipment, over the winter it was photography, last year he bought a baby grand piano.

(Though in your manic friend's defense, at least he does not agitate for the arrest and resignation of people he doesn't like. The blood rushing to Democrats' erections at the thought of Rove's resignation has prevented them from realizing that Rove is an advisor. He can call up Bush and offer him advice any time he wants to, just like Dick Morris did when his foot fetish scandal forced him to resign from Clinton's employ.)



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