I've always had the inclination to play devil's advocate. But, try as I might, I have not been able to figure out the conservative's-eye-view on this one. Any way I slice it, Scooter done wrong. Scooter got caught. Scooter gets punished. What's to defend?
The Valerie Plame case that Scooter is alleged to have obstructed the justice of is sort of convoluted, and complicated. But (unless I'm misunderstanding something) basically boils down to this:
- Joseph Wilson is sent to Niger to determine whether or not Saddam Hussein has tried to obtain yellowcake uranium from that government.
- Wilson comes back from Niger, saying basically, nope they ain't.
- The Bush Administration ignores this and uses the story as a justification for war anyhow.
- Wilson gets perturbed and writes an editorial, saying WTF? I said they ain't!
- Dick Cheney gets all--well--CHENEY on Wilson's ass, and decides to smear him somehow.
- Through dodgy means, the administration "outs" Wilson's wife as a spy. Neener-neener, we screwed up your lives, Wilson!
- The CIA gets a little annoyed that one of its agents (and all of her contacts, and the front organization she "worked" for, and her fellow spies there) were so carelessly exposed. They demand an investigation.
- The Bush administration (in an uncharacteristic move) agrees, and sends Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate.
- Along the way, several politicians have been implicated in the outing, including Cheney, Rove, Armitage, and Scooter along with journalists Judith Miller, Robert Novak and Matthew Cooper.
- Fitzgerald tries to find out the truth, but the truth seems hard to arrive at. Seems Scooter was lying his buns off, "throwing sand" in Fitzgerald's eyes.
- Ultimately, the only charges that were filed were the only provable ones, that Scooter lied and obstructed justice. . .that is prevented the prosecutor from finding out the truth.
So, Scooter is now sentenced to the pokey and a quarter million dollar fine. But, all the right-wingers are now rushing to his defense. What's to defend? OK, there are many many arguments from the right about the minutiae in my outline above. They say Mrs. Wilson either sent or suggested that her husband be sent to Niger. To this I ask, "and?" They say Armitage was the leaker, so Scooter was innocent. Maybe Armitage did, but Scooter lied to the grand jury about it, so--still guilty.
But the weakest arguement of all is, "there's no underlying crime!" Oy. Where to start on this. First, this defense didn't work for Martha Stewart or President Clinton. But, second, and more importantly, is this REALLY where we want to draw the line? Do we want our politicians to dance all over the line between illegal and legal, and declare "it's all good" if they don't cross over? Even if there is no technical "crime" here, are we really going to say it's OK that a (confirmed covert) spy--who was investigating nuclear proliferation in the middle east--can be outed for political revenge, during a time of war? If this doesn't meet a fine-tooth-comb reading of illegal, it's OK? Are you freakin' kidding me, man?
Why are the conservatives going to such extraordinary lengths to free Scooter? Why do they think ANYTHING about this sordid affair is ok? Anybody? >crickets<