Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Charmed Life

One of the first things I remember learning in grade school is that some people live a charmed life while others take the blame for what they do. Whenever I made a ruckus, or told a joke making the other kids laugh, I always saw the inside of the Assistant Principal's office while others could steal a bible from a pulpit right from beneath a priest's nose, and get away with it. Karl Rove is of the latter breed.

The Washington Post reports today that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has told Karl Rove he's off the hook in the CIA leak case which cost the career of his counterpart, I. Scooter Libby. Mr. Rove's attorney, a gent by the name of Luskin, suggests that this will put an end to "baseless speculation about Mr. Rove's conduct." (WaPo). Too bad counsel for the White House, and Mr. Cheney, couldn't find a way to put an end to all the "baseless speculation" about Weapons of Mass Destruction that led to a war against a quixotic and delusional dictator, Saddam Hussein, who had as much to do with the World Trade Center bombing as battle fatigue has to do with genocide before we entered a war that cost close to 2500 American lives, and nearly that of ten times as many Iraqis.

We have no doubt that Mr. Rove did everything, in his power, to cooperate with the investigation, and that he's "delighted" by Mr. Fitzgerald's decision to back off. That said, doubt remains as to whether or not the former White House aide participated in a campaign of perjury, obstruction of justice, and cover-up, not to mention endangering the life of a then covert CIA agent, Valerie Plame, to as grave a degree as his colleague Mr. Libby. No doubt, the folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will sleep better, over the coming weeks, knowing that the hunt for the truth about the real source of the leak has been called off.

Yes, there's always that one kid, who usually sits in the back of the classroom, who makes all the trouble, and the others, like you and me, who take the rap for it. But, where there is a criminal justice system, one can't help but wonder why one prosecutor, and court, should be allowed to decide the fate of the culprits who have made a career of compromising the laws, and constitution, they swore to protect and defend? Make no mistake, vindication of Karl Rove goes way beyond affecting midterm elections. While this administration, and the majority in Congress, may breathe a sigh of relief on learning that he is off the hook today and, by extension, his president, there is an even bigger election two years away, and they may rest assured that the winds of change are rapidly reaching hurricane strength.

Over the past few months, the Department of Justice has been making noises about holding hearings to find out who leaked the clandestine NSA domestic spying program, and reporters, as well as management, of The New York Times may be called to testify. Why doesn't the House or Senate investigate an egregious attempt, on the part of this pair of yes men, to discredit a former ambassador by leaking information about a covert operation which might well endanger the life of an undercover CIA agent, thereby setting a dangerous precedent, and sending a message, to future leaders, that the ends justify the means. Moreover, why doesn't the Senate call their bosses, singularly and collectively, for a hearing, and hold them in contempt of Congress?

Does divulging information that exposes a secret, and illegal, operation (warrantless spying on American citizens), a practice that used to be called "investigative reporting" when we still had a free press, constitute a more serious threat to national security than leaking identity of a renegade ambassador's wife, who dared to register his dissent, as a veiled threat to anyone brave enough to suggest that this government is lying to its Congress, and its electorate? Or, is it simply that some of us lead a charmed life and, once again, it's clear that position, not possession, is nine-tenths of the law.