— Frank Rich
TomDispatch has posted an interesting “Letter from Ground Zero” that synthesizes a lot of the coverage of the Rove leak and puts it in the context of the Cold War. TomDispatch received special permission to reprint Jonathan Schell’s “The Bomb and Karl Rove” from The Nation.
Here’s an excerpt:
Like every important government crisis, the outing of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame by the President’s chief political adviser, deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, perhaps among others, must be seen in many contexts at once. (As all the world knows, Rove’s aim was to discredit Plame’s husband, Joseph Wilson, who had publicly disproved the administration’s claim that Iraq was buying uranium yellow-cake from Niger — a key element in the Administration’s justifications for the Iraq War.) Howard Fineman of Newsweek and Sidney Blumenthal of Salon point to the broader story of Rove’s habitual practice of defending his political clients by smearing their competitors and detractors. Blumenthal titles his piece “Rove’s War” and Fineman speaks of “The World According to Rove.” Frank Rich of the New York Times, on the other hand, suggests that the most important war to look at is the one in Iraq. He says that the injustice to the Wilsons and even to the CIA is secondary: “The real crime here remains the sending of American men and women to Iraq on fictitious grounds.” In other words, what’s important is not the “war” but the war.
Surely, they are all right. It’s true that the harm to the Wilsons cannot be compared to the deaths of thousands in the misbegotten conflict, but it’s also true that the resolution of the scandal is likely to have a lasting impact on American politics, and even on the American system of government. Perhaps the most important political question is whether the Bush administration is to be held accountable for any of its actions, or whether it now enjoys complete impunity and a free field of action to do whatever it likes — from waging war to designing and presiding over systems of torture to breaking domestic law. There are other contexts to consider, too.
Read the rest here (second article).