Eventually, I suspect that I’ll get around to writing about this, but it’s interesting to watch reactions as more and more facts trickle out. In any event, Lileks, as usual, says things far better than I ever can:
Anyway. The arguments over the Rove / Plame affair are best hashed out elsewhere. was nearly swayed by an interview with noted thinker and finger-painter Ted Rall today, until he said he wouldn’t believe the administration if they said the sky was blue. People say this as if it proves their bonafides as a critic, but really, that’s a rather easy thing to verify. If the sky is indeed blue and Scott McClellan makes that point, you could assume that they have painted the windows, I guess. In any case I’m amused how this Scandal seems disconnected from the issue of yellowcake in light of the post 9/11 atmosphere. Given all the tales in the 90s about the threat Saddam faced – a threat everyone accepted when Clinton was launching strikes and pulling serious faces – the idea that the whole Niger-yellowcake nexus should have gotten a big shrug in 2002, when the WTC rubble still smoked, seems to be another act of willful amnesia. If anyone in 02 could have thought we’d be parsing who said what about which agent re a politically motivated rewrite of the intel, they’d have heaved a sigh of relief: so we didn’t get hit again.
It’s all a luxury that seems vapid only after something bad happens again. You’ll note that when Blair gives a press conference nowadays the press doesn’t bring up the Downing Street Memo. Give them time, though; in due course the press will shake off that ill-fitting caot of national solidarity and start asking why the bombers weren’t detected by orbital satellites the day they were born. The role of the press is to reset the clock to yesterday morn, ferret out the slightest hint of imperfection, and splash the front page with the words that give them that priapic prang: Ongoing Investigation. Questions remain. But sources say.
Well: what of the families of the charter airline pilots?
You may recall the story. The xx ran big piece on a charter airline the CIA was using to transport suspects. This isn’t just outing a covert operative; it was outing a covert operation. In the case of Wilson / Plame, we had an attempt to point out how two opponents of the adminstration were trying to thwart the foreign policy of the US government via the pages of the NYT and Vanity Fair; in the case of the airline, we had an attempt to peel back the Tupperware lid of secrecy of an anti-terrorist organization in order to ruin – I’m sorry, let the people know what they needed to know about the operation. Did anyone wonder whether the families of the people in that charter airline might be harmed in anyway? Did anyone wonder whether this information might compromise attempts to interrogate suspects? Did anyone ask what the devil was served by running this story?
Imagine the war was prosecuted by a Democratic administration; imagine a GOP operative blowing the charter airline’s cover to make a point about billing irregularies. Imagine the GOP operative slipping photos of the planes on the tarmac, tailfin numbers visible, to the press.
Imagine the press running with the covert-ops story, outraged that the Democratic administration had covered up this crucial story. Can you see that happening? You can?
The air on Bizzaro World – what does it smell like, exactly? As fresh and sweet as one can only dream?