The resigned Scooter Libby did not leak Valerie Plame’s name, a fact known to a special prosecutor charged with finding out who did and if were a crime. After hours of testimony, he was found self-contradictory under oath (though self-contradictory hardly to the extent of a Joe Wilson who said and wrote things about his yellow-cake inquiries that could not be conceivably true), and now faces a possible prison sentence.
Ditto the exemption given to the Duke accuser who repeatedly lied in her sworn testimonials, but will apparently not be charged with perjury because her stories are so implausible that officials think she must be unhinged — a new rationale that the perjurer is apparently free from indictment when the concoctions exceed possible belief.
Alberto Gonzalez perhaps (emphasize “perhaps,” as yet we don’t know all the facts) showed a lapse in judgment or at least of political savvy by firing politically appointed federal attorneys, something that was not unusual in past Democratic administrations.
Paul Wolfowitz, who sought to curb corruption that undermines support for World Bank aid to Africa, likewise is facing a lynch mob over perhaps a similar one-time lapse of judgment in regard to compensation of a companion — nothing, however, ranking with the various scandals surrounding Kofi Annan, whose son profited by United Nations exemptions given through his family ties. In today’s moral calculus, presiding over a $50-billion-dollar Oil-for-Food scandal that led to frequent death in Iraq and profit among global elites is a misdemeanor, recommending a pay package for an employee one dates is an unforgivable felony.
One could go on with the furor over the misdirected pellets from Dick Cheney’s shotgun, or the clamor for the Rumsfeld resignation. Yet contrast all this hysteria with the slight whimpers surrounding recent controversies over conflicts of interest or lapses in judgment surrounding Richard Armitage, Harry Reid, or Dianne Feinstein. The destruction of federal documents that might well alter history’s consensus by former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger was a snore for most journalists.
What, then, is the one common tie that explains all these furious efforts of the media and partisans to go after these present and former Bush-administration officials?
Payback for Iraq.