OP-EDS

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October 6, 2003

How I learned to stop worrying and love the President

President Bush and Karl Rove are not guilty of treason. Even though it looks like they exposed the name of an undercover CIA. operative just to get back at her husband—Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson—for openly criticizing the decision to go to war in a letter to the New York Times, I believe that they are true patriots who never would think of betraying their country in such a fashion. And here is why:

President Bush had nothing to gain from leaking Valerie Plame's identity. All the disclosure did was send a message that those involved in the decision-making apparatus should not publicly disagree with the President. And we all know that the Bush administration favors the kind of free and open debate that built America. And, of course, they would never jeopardize the life of one of their top agents by disclosing her identity.

Secondly, the war has never been a political issue. President Bush and Karl Rove had nothing but the country's security needs at heart when they decided to invade Iraq. Just because Ambassador Wilson's official report (which was requested personally by Vice President Cheney) stated that there was no possibility that Iraq could have acquired fissile material from Africa, they placed those allegations in the State of the Union for a higher purpose—a "noble lie," if you will.

It's not as if the war is failing, and the Bush administration is searching for individuals to take their frustration out on. Just because the multi-trillion dollar tax cuts that President Bush staked his election on have driven us into the deepest deficits in American history, and just because the cost of the war in Iraq is skyrocketing and impairing the U.S. economy's ability to recover, doesn't mean that the Bush administration would try and squelch dissent among the ranks of the Diplomatic Corps.

In addition, the choice to leak the information to Robert Novak is a dead giveaway that the Republicans are not involved. Just because he is one of the most notable conservative, right wing ideologues in the country, and just because he has extensive ties to the Bush administration means nothing.

Furthermore, when he said "two senior administration officials" confirmed Plame's identity, he must have been mistaken. Robert Novak of all people is a patriot and a conservative who would definitely have understood that exposing the name of an undercover CIA operative is not only a felony, but also outright treason.

And finally, I believe that Karl Rove would be one of the last individuals to place politics above national security. Rove, though he has turned political spin into an art, knows where to draw the line. For example, he has shied away from using military images to promote the president and would never think of using the military as a prop for a political campaign.

But alas, I'm lying. The Bush administration had a lot to gain by leaking Plame's information—in particular, the kind of loyalty only fear for family can buy. The war is the most political issue of all; in fact, Vice President Cheney has said repeatedly that President Bush's re-election will depend solely on his handling of the "War on Terror." And the war is failing, not because of the people on the ground but because of the people in command. The Bush administration was all talk and no walk when it came to reconstruction. I'm lying, and when they say that they had nothing to do with the treasonous exposure of an undercover CIA. operative, so is the White House. Unfortunately, they're running the country, and I'm just writing my weekly column.