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Libby Will Take the Fall....

....but is Cheney now in Fitzgerald's sights?

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, February 21, 2007.

The jury in the Scooter Libby trial is at its first day of deliberation as we speak, and I would find it difficult to believe that he won’t be convicted. Just about all reports are that the defense did a terrible job, because they had a terrible job, hampered somewhat by the fact they had no possible plausible defense to offer. For their client to be correct in his weak excuses, around ten other folks of impressive credentials would have to be wrong, and that there was no trail of smoke to a conspiracy for which not the slightest reason could be suggested to benefit anyone. Libby was contradicted by not only the horrid liberal media but by members of his own administration, like former Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, a man deservedly so terrified of his own role he demanded amnesty before he’d cooperate with the prosecution. Others of similar guilt level see themselves as invulnerable.

What this means is that Libby will likely, absent a pardon from Bush, go to prison. It is, as his boss Dick Cheney pointed out, unfair that he alone should be singled out to do so. But what Cheney apparently had in mind was that Karl Rove ought to be led weeping to the blade and basket, and there the modest Terror stop. But the reality is, federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald might be making a stab at bringing down Dick Cheney, the Vice President, for Libby’s actions could not have been done without his boss’ approval and connivance, nor would he have motivation without them.

This is the result of the Vice President taking offense at the newspaper article of Joseph Wilson, one Valerie Plame’s husband, who had been sent to Africa to check up on reports Iraq was trying to obtain material for a nuclear bomb. Wilson found no sign of any recent activity and said so. But Weapons of Mass Destruction was initially the sole Bush-Cheney reason to invade Iraq. Without it, they had no excuse for what they eventually did. Cheney is the one who holds grudges, and what records we have suggest he was livid about Wilson’s article written in July 2003 about the visit to Niger.

So Cheney and Libby tried to make Wilson out to be a Clintonista who was sent to Niger by his wife, a CIA clandestine agent, just to make mischief. His wife had no such authority, but she did recommend him, since he knew the country and the issues. The CIA also hadn’t fallen easily into line with the Bushies before the war, and so the Bushies and neo-cons, at that time in lock step, tried to paint Wilson and his wife as mere political operators not really doing big boy stuff. They could only do this by pointing out Plame’s marriage to Wilson and imply….something. Nepotism, maybe. Also? Sex, which always scares Republicans.

The problem was that Plame, an undercover agent, was protected from just that sort of thing by the laws that make outing agents a crime. As soon as Libby discovered that Plame was an operative, he had to cover his tracks, so he invented conversations, forgot others, and lied a lot to the FBI and other agencies. In fact, it is only on the issue of lying that Libby is in the dock at all, because any other charge might allow the government to claim national security.

Although he promised to fire anyone who had revealed Plame’s name, Bush has fired nobody. Under oath, the media revealed that Armitage, Rove, Libby, and others have all been shown to have pushed this story to them. Armitage left with his boss, Colin Powell, but Rove is still there, and Bush refuses to honor his promise. Again. Ask New Orleans and the Gulf Coast about the value of Bush’s promises. The value is zero; there is no hyperbole there, it’s valueless.

We can only hope that the investigation continues unabated and prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald gets face time with Cheney on the stand and under oath. I would not be surprised if Fitzgerald had an accident, frankly. I think this administration would do that, they’re so unhinged from reality or sense of guilt, shame, or responsibility for their actions.

As the Libby trial wound down this week, President Bush had the unmitigated gall to compare himself to George Washington and the Iraq War to our Revolution. He does this sort of thing a lot. It’s the stigmata of the delusional, who think they need to nudge the public to acclaim what he sees as obvious. He’s compared himself and his struggles to Lincoln, Truman, FDR and doesn’t seem to realize how bad it makes him look even if people are stupid enough to think the comparison of events is valid.

And he’s about to after Iran, and thus present the world with something it’s never seen before: an actually united Islam against the west. All of this so a preppy with Daddy issues could be a War President and a Great Leader, albeit one that increasingly reminds not of our own past great leaders, but of North Korea’s in the present.