Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rove Unfit For Public Office

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Rove Unfit For Public Office

Juan Cole,
Informed Comment
July 12, 2005

Whether the courts can and will punish Karl Rove for telling Time Magazine's Matthew Cooper that Joe Wilson's wife was a CIA operative should be beside the point. That's for the courts to decide.

The real question is whether we want a person to occupy a high office in the White House when that person has cynically endangered US national security to take a petty sort of revenge on a whistleblower.

Ambassador Joe Wilson, who once dared Saddam to hang him while wearing a rope around his neck while acting ambassador in Baghdad in fall of 1990, was the first to let the American people know that the Bush administration lied about Iraq's alleged attempt to purchase uranium yellowcake from Niger. Wilson went to that country, investigated the structure of the uranium industry (which is mainly in French hands anyway), and concluded it was impossible. Bush and Cheney had believed a set of forged documents manufactured by a former employee of Italian military intelligence. (In the
US, the only major public intellectual with close ties to Italian military intelligence is pro-war gadfly Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute).

In revenge, Rove tried to discredit Wilson and perhaps also punish him and his family. The purpose of such punishment is always to bully and terrorize other employees, as well as to shut up the whistleblower. Since the Bush administration has done so many illegal things, if Washington insiders started blowing the whistle, there could be a hundred Watergates. Rove let everyone in Washington know that he would destroy anyone who dared step forward. The White House also dealt with former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil when he blew the whistle on the Bush planning for and Iraq War in January of 2001 (look at the date). They threatened O'Neill with jail time for revealing classified information, even though O'Neill had never been given any. He subsequently fell quiet. It is also said that the Bushies tried to prevent Anthony Zinni, a retired Marine Corps general, from getting any consulting gigs in Washington because he opposed the Iraq war.

But Rove's revenge on Wilson was the ultimate. Plame was undercover as an employee of a phony energy company. She was actually investigating illegal proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. When Rove blew her cover to the US press, everyone who had ever been seen with her in Africa or Asia was put in extreme danger. It is said that some of her contacts may have been
killed. Imagine the setback to the US struggle against weapons of mass destruction proliferation that this represents. Rove marched us off to Iraq, where there weren't any. But he disrupted a major effort by the CIA to fight WMD that really did exist.

Moreover, the whole thing only makes sense if Rove is a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist to begin with. Why would it matter that Valerie Plame suggested to the CIA that they send her husband Joe Wilson to Niger? Wilson had excellent credentials for the mission, which the CIA immediately recognized.

Rove can only have thought it would discredit Wilson to associate his missiion with the CIA if he viewed the CIA as the enemy. This is the Richard Perle line. If Wilson was sent to Niger on the recommendation of a CIA operative, then he was not an objective ex-ambassador but a CIA plant of some sort, attempting to undermine the Bush administration and the military occupation of Iraq.

This theory is that of a crackpot. The actions are those of a traitor. What is the difference between Robert Hansen revealing key secret information for money to the Soviets and Karl Rove revealing it to the proliferators for political gain for the Republican Party and the Bush White House? Both are traitors who traded secrets for gain.

A man who would do what Rove did should not be in the White House in any capacity. And no person who tolerates a man like Rove in the White House should be commander in chief of American security.


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