It starts with, "There is more than a whiff of payback in the air as the media gleefully report on the finger-pointing," thus providing the theme that all of this criticism isn't much more than revenge tactics. This paragraph then ends with:
The case of Valerie Plame Wilson is being offered up as one of those morality tales that have a broader meaning. Mrs. Wilson?s scandalous unmasking may be to the Bush administration what the $640 toilet seat was to the Reagan- era defense buildup in the 1980s: an easy-to-grasp symbol of arrogance and excess.
The case is just a symbol. It's just something to cling to. A representation of things like arrogance and excess and other rich stuff that democrats hate. that's all.
Now, wait a moment. A $640 toilet seat is, in fact, a symbol of excess. Sure. But Reagan never claimed to be a pauper or have pauper's habits. Furthermore, it's expensive and silly, but nothing more. Now, how on earth can you compare this to an administration which has a foundation in the belief that it is strongly for the intelligence community, the military complex, then betray someone, their mission (which is also one that is very crucial to this administration), and jeopardize their life and the lives of everyone they work with? Well, there's not. But it's very clever to make it seem like there's a comparison, thus diminishing the effects of this very very horrible thing done.
Then it says, "The administration is showing defiance, but not its characteristic cockiness," thus leading you to believe they're coming from stage left. Cute. But not to worry, the paragraph ends with a nine word sentence about how Kay found no WMDs, then a 46 word sentence contradicting that idea.
Then the article devolves into a very odd portrayal of the events leading up to the scandal, mostly seeming concerned on showing how "colorful" the ambassador was. It includes the most precious line of all, "After drinking mint tea and talking to Niger officials for about a week, Wilson concluded that the reports of Iraqi uranium purchases were almost certainly bogus." This thoroughly demeans his investigation, which had more to it than mint tea. The recounting of the events leave out a few key details as well, such as the report being delivered to the White House (the implication is that the report disappeared into a not seen black hole of intelligence somewhere).
After a more recounting, there is, "Leak investigations often lumber slowly along before petering out." This is old news too! And news that is commonplace, you know. These sorts of leaks, the sort that (even this article admits at this point) jeopardize so many, oh, they happen all the time. They just come and go like a sloth, generally fading away just as they came.
So why didn't this one peter out? "The facts remain murky but tantalizing to students of the Washington game." It's all just a game, to be studied by Washington erudites. Again, that's all. Amusing! But don't you worry about it.
This part I just don't understand:
It may be significant that both Rove and Libby deny leaking classified information. They may say that in talking to reporters they used her name without knowing that she was undercover.
Er, you can say, "his wife is an CIA agent in Weapons of Mass Destruction" without knowing she's undercover? Or, back up a moment... even saying she's in WMDs... isn't that classified? Give me a break. But back to the article deconstruction... I'm not going to count words this time, but again substantially more time is given to the administration's excuses than on the very superficially presented accusations.
And the last three paragraphs are about, "If the trail of the leaker does lead back into Cheney?s office, the irony will be too delicious for the press to ignore. Cheney has been the most outspoken foe of leaks in the administration." Of course this won't die! Everyone loves to pick on Cheney!
Ok, let's get real. Here are the facts:
Wilson goes to Niger in 2002, finds no evidence of uranium being sold to Iraq. The report he sends on is either not seen or ignored. Wilson more recently publishes accusations of the Bush Administration, claiming that they're intentionally negligent. A week later, Novak publishes an article which contains the name and occupation of Wilson's wife. The CIA opens an investigation into the matter.
Those are the basic facts, now let me present another detail.
In an interview I saw with him, I believe I recall that it was Rumsfeld who sent him to Niger, but I'm not sure I remember that right (I was in the emergency room at the time) -- but I'm pretty sure he was asked to go by someone in the administration. Now this is pretty interesting when that very same administration then does not "see" the report he filed. Why would they send him and then not look at the report? I mean, even if he was drinking mint tea as an investigation, wouldn't they want to check his report before dismissing it as "unauthoritative". Perhaps they did, but that's not what they're saying. They're saying they didn't see it. Somehow, I doubt this. But what strikes me more is that this detail, and these questions, are left out of the article entirely.
The thing that strikes me as such clever propaganda by this article is that it really wants to make you think it's a disenchanted moderate finding the whole fiasco of the accusations into just another silly game by politicians. Sure, there are things to consider here, but... the public doesn't really need to care about it! It honestly is the most effective method for diffusing the public view of the case. I will give the credit for that.
However, I would like to say that I absolutely abhor it. Let me reiterate here. The Bush Administration claims it's for the military, that it's for the intelligence community, that it is looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction the world over to make everyone safer. I really wonder why it is no one has called them on this mantra, and then going against all of it by exposing one of its agents in this very field! This is not safe. This is not an action that supports the military or the intelligence community. This destroys probably many years of work in finding those pesky WMDs.
And why? There would be NO REASON to expose her unless it's an act of revenge. Seriously, if they just wanted to say, "He was just sent out because of who he knows," they could have easily just said, "he has close allies in the intelligence community that got him to where he is," or somesuch statement that is made all the time without destroying missions or lives. It would then be very easy to discount him, and his original story would go unnoticed. But without any forethought into the matter, whomever leaked just went for the brute force response.
This act is not a representation of excess and arrogance. A game of politicians for people to amuse themselves by. It's the pinnacle act of betrayal, resulting from the prevailing attitudes of self-righteousness and bullying of this administration. For two years, the message has been, "You're either with us or you're a terrorist," and if you're a terrorist, you deserve no rights, no life, no rules. So when someone in a position of authority to say so speaks out against them, someone reacts predictably with essentially, "Oh yeah? Well since you're against us, your wife doesn't deserve to work in that field! How do you like that???" They probably thought this was a perfectly valid way of conducting business.
And that, THAT, is the shame this case is. Not that it represents anything, but that because the administration is the way it is.... someone even thought that this action was OK. We're not talking about $640 toilet seats. We're talking about someone's LIFE. We're talking about undermining their mission, the very mission that is supposed to be what this administration is for. This isn't something to be poo pooed. This is vile. You're damn right it should remain in the attention of the press. And I'd like to see some more questions be asked, and answered.