Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Fascism of the Bureaucracy

Mark Steyn, writing at NRO,  responds to the Libby verdict with an indictment of both American “politicized justice” and too-cautious Bush Administration when controversy erupted over his “16 fateful words.”

I never feel more foreign than when observing contemporary American justice, which seems to the outsider to have absolutely no sense of proportion. Mr Libby has been convicted of lying about his recollection of a conversation. The lies about who leaked Mrs Wilson’s name, the lies about what her husband was told in Niger and what he reported back to the CIA and how he got the job in the first place, all these are still out there. And in particular the leaker Armitage – who remained silent as the drip-drip-drip of speculation corroded the Administration’s integrity month in month out – remains a beloved figure on the social scene, full of delightful asides and amusing gossip. Only the peripheral lie about the minor lie arising from major lies is to be punished.


The Bush Administration can be faulted on several grounds for its conduct here, but one of its earliest errors was apologizing for the notorious “16 words” in the SOTU that started this thing:


''The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."


The British government stands by that statement. So does Lord Butler, in his investigation. In stepping back from the statement, the Administration showed an astonishing political ineptness, and in effect legitimized Wilson’s core grievance.

This lie, that George Bush lied, is the biggest untruth in this entire, sordid affair.

Bill Bennett has another good take on the Libby conviction, also writing at NRO:

For my own part, based on the above, I still do not believe that Scooter Libby’s actions were criminal and that he is deserving of jail. There might have been real crimes here, but if there were, unfortunately, they were never charged. Joe Wilson’s hands are not clean, and neither are Richard Armitage’s.

In the aftermath of this case, I maintain what I said the first time Joe Wilson alleged the outing of his wife: if your spouse’s position is of such a classified nature that disclosure of her position would put her job in jeopardy, then don’t write a political op-ed in the New York Times that has implications for what your spouse did to put you in a position to write that op-ed.

That’s the biggest travesty among many in this appalling spectacle. Joe Wilson, the CIA, the State Department, all with agendas and axes to grind, actively work against a legally elected President and his appointed cabinet secretaries and officials, and seek by means overt and covert, by leak and lie, the effect a change in policies with which they didn’t agree. Call it Fascism of the Bureaucracy. Woe to the future President who ever pisses them off like George W. Bush did. They got away with it here, and they’ll surely do it again.

As the nutroots hoot and holler in hysteria, you will surely hear what this “investigation” has always been about:

How can we get payback against those lying liars in the White House, who not only lied to the American people about WMDs, but somehow tricked our fellow Democrats to voting to authorize the war in the first place. (Because, you know, we can’t blame them, or we’d end up hating everybody and have no friends left.)

Libby goes down. You see what they think will happen next: Vice President Dick Cheney. And you know who, right after that!

And meanwhile, in the backrooms over at State, and in the bowels of the CIA, the career manipulators and fabricators, liars and cynics all, have to be smiling.

Pathetic as it was, they got their day in court. They got their man. And kept their misdeeds out of public sight.

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