Monday, April 10, 2006
Politicians, pundits, journalists and bloggers have been debating President Bush's ultimate motivation for authorizing the leak of classified information about the Iraq war to Scooter Libby. But the central issue in the case is not whether or not Bush broke the law per se, or whether he sought isolated revenge against Joe Wilson. What's important to understand and determine here is whether or not this leak is part of a much broader scandal; part of the Bush administration's cover-up of a pre-planned invasion of Iraq, and the cherry-picking of intelligence to fit that mission.
There's been much speculation and documentation (Downing Street Memos; Richard Clarke's book; etc) that indicates that the Busheviks, as early as January 2001, had their military sights on Saddam. What's more, recent documents out of Britain show that in January 2003 the war plans, and a date for the March invasion, had already been set, even before weapons inspectors had completed their work and before then-Secretary of State Colin Powell was set to appear before the U.N. Security Council to make the U.S.'s case for war. These war-mongers had every intention, from day-one, of invading Iraq whether or not WMD existed. Eidence continues to surface which strongly suggests that the Bushies hand-picked intelligence which bolstered their WMD rhetoric, while intentionally ignoring any dissenting advice or concerns from generals and military experts who doubted the existence of WMD and questioned the overall viability of the mission.
And that's the real issue here. On its own, Bush's leak falls into a very gray area of what a U.S. president can and can't divulge to the press and the public in the interest of national security. That argument can be debated for the next 50 years without coming to any substantive conclusion. But when a president leaks classified information for purely political purposes, to cover up the fact that he manipulated intelligence in order to justify war, and to punish those detractors who refute his bogus claims, then that's an entirely different matter. In fact, those would be impeachable offenses.
Several critical questions exist. Americans have a right to know whether or not they were lied to by their elected representatives. Whether or not they were deceived in Bush's rush to war. Whether or not the Busheviks knew WMD did not exist, and whether they manufactured evidence anyway to justify the invasion. Whether or not their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, friends and relatives have died over a lie. And whether or not there's been a highly orchestrated campaign, still being executed, to cover up all the lies and deception. And that's why Bush's leak is such an important issue.