Our 27 months of hell

IJ Reilly

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I thought this deserved its own thread because I think I can read something between the lines of Wilson's piece. Does anyone else see it?

By Joseph C. Wilson IV

JOSEPH C. WILSON IV was acting ambassador in Baghdad when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. He is the author of "The Politics of Truth" (Carroll & Graff, 2004). He was a diplomat for 23 years.

October 29, 2005

AFTER THE two-year smear campaign orchestrated by senior officials in the Bush White House against my wife and me, it is tempting to feel vindicated by Friday's indictment of the vice president's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Between us, Valerie and I have served the United States for nearly 43 years. I was President George H.W. Bush's acting ambassador to Iraq in the run-up to the Persian Gulf War, and I served as ambassador to two African nations for him and President Clinton. Valerie worked undercover for the CIA in several overseas assignments and in areas related to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

But on July 14, 2003, our lives were irrevocably changed. That was the day columnist Robert Novak identified Valerie as an operative, divulging a secret that had been known only to me, her parents and her brother.

Valerie told me later that it was like being hit in the stomach. Twenty years of service had gone down the drain. She immediately started jotting down a checklist of things she needed to do to limit the damage to people she knew and to projects she was working on. She wondered how her friends would feel when they learned that what they thought they knew about her was a lie.

It was payback — cheap political payback by the administration for an article I had written contradicting an assertion President Bush made in his 2003 State of the Union address. Payback not just to punish me but to intimidate other critics as well.

Why did I write the article? Because I believe that citizens in a democracy are responsible for what government does and says in their name. I knew that the statement in Bush's speech — that Iraq had attempted to purchase significant quantities of uranium in Africa — was not true. I knew it was false from my own investigative trip to Africa (at the request of the CIA) and from two other similar intelligence reports. And I knew that the White House knew it.

Going public was what was required to make them come clean. The day after I shared my conclusions in a New York Times opinion piece, the White House finally acknowledged that the now-infamous 16 words "did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of the Union address."

That should have been the end. But instead, the president's men — allegedly including Libby and at least one other (known only as "Official A") — were determined to defame and discredit Valerie and me.

They used eager allies in Congress and the conservative media, beginning with Novak. Perhaps the most egregious of the attacks was New York GOP Rep. Peter King's odious suggestion that Valerie "got what she deserved."

Valerie was an innocent in this whole affair. Although there were suggestions that she was behind the decision to send me to Niger, the CIA told Newsday just a week after the Novak article appeared that "she did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment." The CIA repeated the same statement to every reporter thereafter.

The grand jury has now concluded that at least one of the president's men committed crimes. We are heartened that our system of justice is working and appreciative of the work done by our fellow citizens who devoted two years of their lives to grand jury duty.

The attacks on Valerie and me were upsetting, disruptive and vicious. They amounted to character assassination. Senior administration officials used the power of the White House to make our lives hell for the last 27 months.

But more important, they did it as part of a clear effort to cover up the lies and disinformation used to justify the invasion of Iraq. That is the ultimate crime.

The war in Iraq has claimed more than 17,000 dead and wounded American soldiers, many times more Iraqi casualties and close to $200 billion.

It has left our international reputation in tatters and our military broken. It has weakened the United States, increased hatred of us and made terrorist attacks against our interests more likely in the future.

It has been, as Gen. William Odom suggested, the greatest strategic blunder in the history of our country.

We anticipate no mea culpa from the president for what his senior aides have done to us. But he owes the nation both an explanation and an apology.
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-wilson29oct29,0,4988049.story
 

zimv20

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at a minimum, i'm reading that he's calling bush a hypocrite for not condeming libby's actions. from there, it's not a stretch for me to assume that mr wilson believes bush was involved.
 

IJ Reilly

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zimv20 said:
at a minimum, i'm reading that he's calling bush a hypocrite for not condeming libby's actions. from there, it's not a stretch for me to assume that mr wilson believes bush was involved.
Well that, yes. But I'm seeing signs (perhaps because I already expected them) of a possible civil suit against Libby, perhaps drawing in other White House people. If Libby takes one for the team by plea bargaining (and I suspect he's under a lot of pressure to do just that), then a civil suit from Wilson might be the only way we'll see any more goings-on behind the green door. Wilson claiming publicly that he and his wife were personally damaged might well be the opening salvo in a round of civil litigation.
 

Sayhey

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IJ Reilly said:
Well that, yes. But I'm seeing signs (perhaps because I already expected them) of a possible civil suit against Libby, perhaps drawing in other White House people. If Libby takes one for the team by plea bargaining (and I suspect he's under a lot of pressure to do just that), then a civil suit from Wilson might be the only way we'll see any more goings-on behind the green door. Wilson claiming publicly that he and his wife were personally damaged might well be the opening salvo in a round of civil litigation.
It's been rumored for a while that the Wilsons would file a civil suit, but I think you're right, IJ, this piece, besides pointing fingers at Bush and "Official A" (aka - Karl Rove,) does seem to be laying the groundwork for such a suit. More power to them. Good analysis, IJ, and great catch.
 

IJ Reilly

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Sayhey said:
It's been rumored for a while that the Wilsons would file a civil suit, but I think you're right, IJ, this piece, besides pointing fingers at Bush and "Official A" (aka - Karl Rove,) does seem to be laying the groundwork for such a suit. More power to them. Good analysis, IJ, and great catch.
I hadn't heard the rumors, but obviously I'm not surprised. The double bind for Libby and the Republicans is, if he does plead, then I believe the Wilsons will have set of legal facts on their side, e.g., the Grand Jury indictment and the admission of guilt. The only avenue of escape might be if Libby were to plead Nolo contendere. I don't know if the judge and the prosecuting attorney have to agree to such a plea, but I would hope they would not. Political trivia fans will remember that Spiro Agnew pleaded nolo.
 

Deepdale

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IJ Reilly said:
... But I'm seeing signs (perhaps because I already expected them) of a possible civil suit against Libby, perhaps drawing in other White House people. ... Wilson claiming publicly that he and his wife were personally damaged might well be the opening salvo in a round of civil litigation.
You are all over this one, IJ. Very good analysis and I hope the Wilsons fare well in the end.
 

mactastic

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Nice catch, and I'm sure you're right about a civil suit pending. It certainly hasn't been a secret that a civil suit is a possible outcome -- and thanks to the SCOTUS precedent in the Paula Jones case, discovery can proceed while Bush is still in office. The GOP will indeed rue the day they went after Clinton so vociferously.

However, with criminal indictments now a reality, any civil suit will be years off I'm afraid.
 

IJ Reilly

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mactastic said:
Nice catch, and I'm sure you're right about a civil suit pending. It certainly hasn't been a secret that a civil suit is a possible outcome -- and thanks to the SCOTUS precedent in the Paula Jones case, discovery can proceed while Bush is still in office. The GOP will indeed rue the day they went after Clinton so vociferously.

However, with criminal indictments now a reality, any civil suit will be years off I'm afraid.
Interesting observation about the Paula Jones connection.

The way I see it, a civil suit is of importance if Libby plea bargains and we don't get a criminal trial. Presumably, if Libby pleads guilty, the Wilsons will file a civil suit sooner rather than later. The point is, I think we find out some of what Fitzgerald unearthed in his investigation but did not reveal in one or both of these trials.
 

Deepdale

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During Ed Bradley's "60 Minutes" segment dealing with the Wilson-Plame matter, there was a clip shown from the Bush campaign where he was claiming how his administration would restore integrity and honor to the White House in the post-Clinton era. Now that was amusing given the transgressions he and his cronies have engaged in.
 

zimv20

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Deepdale said:
During Ed Bradley's "60 Minutes" segment dealing with the Wilson-Plame matter, there was a clip shown from the Bush campaign where he was claiming how his administration would restore integrity and honor to the White House in the post-Clinton era.
that's a common misconception. he actually said he'd restore indictments, not integrity.

as i like to say about I. Lewis Libby, the "I" is for "Indictment."
 

Deepdale

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zimv20 said:
as i like to say about I. Lewis Libby, the "I" is for "Indictment."
I like that. :) It is the use of "Scooter" that kills me. Here is a man in his late 50's or so and the media regularly refer to him as Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Being part of the Bush administration must have made him long for a return to his junior high school days.

Imagine a national security advisor whose first name was Lawrence, but as a youngster had a nickname that others used for him. At a meeting about North Korea's nuclear program, the president would say, "We have a serious situation unfolding over there. How do you think we should proceed, Bootsie?"
 

tristan

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Yeah, only rappers and few uber-hackers get to keep funny nicknames as an adult.

The civil suit sounds like a great idea, but it could just lead to more people perjuring themselves and obstructing justice and never actually getting to the truth. But I do hope that Joe Wilson and his wife get some kind of recompense. As a country, we're lucky to have people like Joe Wilson.
 

IJ Reilly

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tristan said:
Yeah, only rappers and few uber-hackers get to keep funny nicknames as an adult.
No, no, nicknaming is a very common practice among "old money" families. It's a little secret code game played between fellow prep-schoolers. The British wear their school ties to identify themselves to others as being Old Boys; Americans have their family nicknames.

Personally, I can't help laughing every time I hear Libby referred to as "Scooter," because it conjures the closing moments of an old episode of Dragnet. "Irving Lewis Libby, alias 'Scooter', was sentenced to 26 years in a federal prison..."

Somebody should come up with the matching graphic. I'd do it myself if I was better at Photoshop. (Hint: airbrushing in a broken nose would really make it work.)
 

Chip NoVaMac

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IJ Reilly said:
I hadn't heard the rumors, but obviously I'm not surprised. The double bind for Libby and the Republicans is, if he does plead, then I believe the Wilsons will have set of legal facts on their side, e.g., the Grand Jury indictment and the admission of guilt. The only avenue of escape might be if Libby were to plead Nolo contendere. I don't know if the judge and the prosecuting attorney have to agree to such a plea, but I would hope they would not. Political trivia fans will remember that Spiro Agnew pleaded nolo.

The problem is that with the "facts" as Libby as spun them so far, it is near impossible for it to go higher than him. Much like North and the Iran-Contra affair. Bush an Rove are safe. Dare I say like some people protected Hitler and others like him him, from their "sins".
 

IJ Reilly

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Chip NoVaMac said:
The problem is that with the "facts" as Libby as spun them so far, it is near impossible for it to go higher than him. Much like North and the Iran-Contra affair. Bush an Rove are safe. Dare I say like some people protected Hitler and others like him him, from their "sins".
Not necessarily. Many things were implied by the Fitzgerald indictments but not directly mentioned because they weren't illegal, such as the involvement of Cheney in the formulation of the smear campaign. They could easily come out in a civil suit. I am also less interested in legal jeopardy for these people than I am in the truth coming out about this administration.
 

Chip NoVaMac

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IJ Reilly said:
Not necessarily. Many things were implied by the Fitzgerald indictments but not directly mentioned because they weren't illegal, such as the involvement of Cheney in the formulation of the smear campaign. They could easily come out in a civil suit. I am also less interested in legal jeopardy for these people than I am in the truth coming out about this administration.

I care little about the civil courts over the legal courts. Though like in the OJ case, they can lead to some justice for some. I prefer a criminal charge against this Administration. To me there is little difference between Hitler and Bush -other than that Hitler did for "purity" and Bush did it for his "faithfuls" profit. So who is the real devil now?

God have mercy on all of our leaders souls past and present...
 

Deepdale

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3rdpath said:
Did anyone else catch the nickname that Bush calls Rove?

Turdblossum.....I kid you not, it was in the L.A. Times.
In deference to him being president, I suppose Bush's nickname is a tad more dignified ... "Dumbo."
 

solvs

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tristan said:
But I do hope that Joe Wilson and his wife get some kind of recompense.
He got a book deal. Doesn't make up for it, but it's something. Oh, and I hope Rove et al fry for this.
 

Mike Teezie

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You and me both, solvs.

We have those "Loose Lips Pink Slips. Fire Karl Rove." posters hanging everywhere at work.

It's so great to work for/with tree hugging, hippie, communist, liberal fags like I do.

:D
 

solvs

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I'm not even that liberal and I think he should hang. Ask Don't Hurt Me how he feels about these people (hint: I don't think he likes them either). And he's a Republican! :eek:
 

tristan

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Well, as Fitgerald said, the biggest issue isn't even the damage to Joe Wilson, it's that a climate is created where people don't feel safe from retribution. We have the first amendment in this country, but it's not going to do much good if everybody's afraid to speak because they don't want to end up with their wife's career hobbled, audited by the IRS, on the no-fly list, accused of collaboration, whatever. Then its McCarthy all over again.
 

JesseJames

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Remember how moderate the Bush administration was before 9/11?
Then afterwards it was like someone flipped a switch. Right into paranoid good ol'boy circle the wagons mode.
Are WASPs this tightly wound when crisis happens? Maybe we are reaping the effects of tightly wound WASPs?