Whose Fall Guy?

March 8, 2007

The whole Scooter Libby case, from start to finish, has been based on the left’s depraved obsession with substantiating the lie that President Bush and Vice President Cheney lied us into war.

Though I won’t presume to substitute myself as a juror and will never downplay the actual commission of perjury, I have serious doubts that Mr. Libby lied — as opposed to having an imperfect memory over matters not that critically important — because he had no motive to lie. He had no motive because the administration had nothing to hide concerning its decision to attack Iraq and particularly the yellow cake uranium flap, despite the left’s endless cacophony to the contrary.

The relevant facts in this unfortunate saga are not that complicated. Most Democrats, because of overwhelming public support for the war, were politically compelled to support the Iraq war resolution. But when the war became less popular and the Democrats’ antiwar base demanded accountability for the Democrats’ heresy, they manufactured the fiction that the administration lied about WMD.

Enter Joseph Wilson, who was willing to put some teeth into their false claims. Wilson corroborated the Democrats’ claim that Bush lied in his 2003 State of the Union address in saying, “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” (Note that the Brits still stand by their statement.)

Wilson feigned outrage, saying he had investigated the claim himself in Niger and determined it was baseless. But the Senate Intelligence Committee and the British Butler Report both concluded that Wilson’s findings did more to substantiate, than debunk, the Saddam-Niger connection. The Senate Intelligence committee also found that Wilson lied in saying he had discredited certain forged documents, since those very documents weren’t discovered until eight months after his trip to Niger. Finally, the Committee contradicted Wilson’s claim that Cheney, rather than his wife, recommended him for the trip.

Since the administration had not lied about Iraqi WMD — as opposed to having properly relied on the best intelligence available to it (and Democrats) — it had nothing to cover up, but it did have the right — and duty — to protect its reputation, especially since the Democrats’ false characterizations were damaging America’s image in the world, something they profess to exalt above all else.

If Cheney instructed Libby to disclose that Valerie Plame was Wilson’s spouse, his motive wasn’t to punish Wilson by exposing his wife’s highly disputed covert status. It was to impeach Wilson’s credibility.

But none of this mattered to Democrats, because it didn’t fit their template that “Bush lied, people died.”

From the beginning, Democrats have been trying to make this case into something they knew it was not: a smoking gun against the administration. At the outset of the prosecution, Sen. Harry Reid shamelessly said, “The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really about: how the administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions. As a result of its improper conduct, a cloud now hangs over this administration.” (Reid and others said virtually the same thing after the verdict.)

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald also pushed the Democrats’ conspiratorial lunacy, as evidenced by his bizarre and outrageously inflammatory statement to a D.C. jury in closing argument, “There is a cloud over the vice president.” Sound familiar?

How could Fitzgerald possibly say that in good conscience, knowing and having known from the very beginning of the case, that Richard Armitage, not Libby, was the leaker and Armitage was no friend of the administration and even less supportive of the Iraq war?

Predictably, the liberal media has also made its best efforts to turn this trial into Bush’s Watergate. Early on they were praying for and predicting that Rove would be indicted. And despite the unconscionably belated revelation that Libby was not the leaker, MSNBC reporter David Shuster stuck with the Democrat template, asking Libby, after the verdict, “Are you willing to go to jail to protect Vice President Cheney?”

Protect him from what? How many times can we repeat that Libby was neither charged nor convicted of leaking — because he didn’t do it? No matter. They just continue to push the theme that “the wrong guy was convicted.”

Scooter Libby is the wrong guy, all right, but there is no right guy, because there was no administration misconduct here. Libby is also the fall guy, but not for Cheney, Rove or Bush. He’s the left’s sacrificial lamb, an expendable human being whose criminalization is necessary to perpetuate their abominable and politically self-serving myth that Bush, Cheney and Rove lied us into war.