How Did It Come To This?

Let’s talk about this Plame situation and what indictments may come the way it and they should be talked about.

It’s of a piece with everything else done by this administration, in other words, arrogant, pointless, and half a loaf. An administration truly confident in its policies, never mind its politics, would have allowed Joe Wilson to say whatever he had to say, secure that its rationale for war could stand up to any criticism.

An administration filled with competent people focused on the truth of the terrorist threat would have, if it deemed war necessary, presented a case for war that honestly confronted the danger a country posed to us and convinced us based on that truth. It would not have needed dodgy sixteen-word statements, it would not have needed to destroy the people who challenged those statements.

That administration would have convinced us to go to war honestly, or we would not have gone at all. That administration would have gone to Congress, and Congress would have declared war. There may have been anger. There may have been disagreement. There always will be. There were people, as the right never tires of reminding us, who didn’t want us to enter World War II as well. There are people who believe war is never the answer. But at least the disagreement would have been honest. At least the people who lost the argument would have known what they were arguing against.

Looking back over the whole sordid mess, the whole last two years and more, what I feel most profoundly is disappointment. I get accused of naivete a lot. But I don’t believe there’s anything shameful in expecting our leaders to lead us, and to do so honestly. To be disappointed when they don’t.

It’s important, when we talk about this, to talk about why it was done. Valerie Plame’s career was immolated because this administration’s case for war was so flimsy it couldn’t stand up to criticism. Her career was destroyed, her identity revealed because instead of behaving honorably, instead of fighting their war on terrorism honestly and competently, a bunch of people inside the White House went flying off into the castle in the air that was Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

The Plame case cuts to the heart of the war on terrorism. It exposes the incompetent administration that put out flimsy excuses for war with Iraq and then reacted in nuclear fashion to anybody who dared question them.

These are not the actions of a group of people truly dedicated to keeping us safe.

They’re the actions of a group of people truly dedicated to keeping themselves safe.