Monday, April 10, 2006

(A) Humans may lie. (B) Government officials are humans. (C) Therefore, government officials may lie.

A segment of the public seems to want to think of their elected leader as larger than life, possessed with greater powers of perception, with more knowledge and greater wisdom than mere humans. Those people may see themselves as loyal and devoted “children” and their leader as “Daddy,” impossible to do wrong, and able to “lick” anyone else’s old man. People who sincerely believe that about the head of their own party, even subconsciously, are often willing to defend the leader’s actions, no matter what.

Others see political leaders as human, with human traits that allow for mistakes, lies, greed, and personal agendas that may supersede the common good. They also see those same humans with the potential for doing what they believe is right for the majority of Americans and the world. But, first and foremost, they see humans who ought to be held accountable for their actions when they hold temporary positions of national leadership.

Those defending the current charges against the President concerning his alleged authorization of “leaks” sound tragically humorous as they blether on, skirting the truth, searching for a straw to grasp, defending, and twisting and spinning the information as it surfaces, comically unable to admit that their leader may have done wrong and lied about it.

Those who see their leaders as human are shaking their heads, wondering what facts will come out. But they do not doubt that any man in high office could have done what Bush and/or Cheney are accused of doing. They simply wish it were not so.

If you see elected leaders as human, and not often the best humans who could have been chosen, walk through a possible scenario with me. I have no proof of its truth. I only know some of the ways of humans, and I can speculate.

First, a review of what we know. Someone leaked classified information that lead to revealing a CIA operative’s identity. It seems like an attempt to discredit the operative’s husband. He had written an article before the Iraq war began casting real doubt on the administration’s contention that Saddam was buying enriched uranium from Africa, as Bush had confided in conspiratorial tones during a State of the Union Message while he prepared for the invasion. At any rate, it is a crime to reveal the identity of operatives. It also turns out that the “declassified” information released about the Africa purchase proved to be “erroneous intel.”

Bush went on television after the CIA operative had been “outed,” and in sincere tones said he wanted to find out if there was a leak. He assured listener/viewers that if it turned out a member of his administration was involved, he “would be taken care of.” Most people were satisfied. A few wondered, cynically, if being “taken care of” meant the “perp-a-traitor” would be protected, even pardoned.

Investigators eventually discovered that Scooter Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff, was the one who first gave the information to a journalist. Libby has now testified that Cheney told him to do that. And further, it is reported that Libby said he was hesitant to leak the information until Cheney told him that the action was authorized by Bush, himself.

Now for what leads to speculation. Look at Cheney’s record of lies, deceptions, and his behind-the-scenes way of running the government. Where to start? How about during the first years when it seemed so obvious that Cheney was running things, and Bush was not, that late night comedians jokingly said Bush was only a heart beat away from the Presidency. Cheney’s.

There is a long list of incidents from the beginning showing Cheney seeming to be in charge. Skip forward to 9/11. Bush sat frozen in a Florida classroom when told the nation was under attack. Cheney in DC was putting the nation on alert status. Further, Cheney advised Bush that he should not return to DC because Air Force One was a target. Later there was an official admission that there was never any evidence of that. Cheney, in other words, had lied.

But, instead of rushing back to Washington to take charge of the government, Bush hid out at Offutt Air Force Base, in a cave, near Omaha, NE, while the New York mayor rushed down town to help, and Cheney took charge of the White House.

Two days later, Bush showed up at ground zero with a bullhorn, and the mayor loyally said afterward that the tremendous support and leadership of the President was wonderful to behold. Or words to that effect. The nation cheered Bush’s leadership! Cheney was sent to an undisclosed location as the Bush handlers worked to make the President a hero. Some have speculated that Bush was not happy with Cheney’s visibility immediately after the terrorist attack. Perhaps.

There have been reports speculating that Cheney and Bush have had a falling out. We don’t know. But think of them as humans, and consider a few more facts we do know. Again, early in the first term, Cheney met secretly with oil industry officials to form the nation’s secret energy policy. Criticism of that continues to hurt the administration. Cheney pushed through the first round of tax cuts for the super rich, and when Bush questioned the need for a second round, asking what about the lower income people, Cheney was reported to have said, “Remember our principles, remember our principles.” (Did he mean, “Remember our principal”?) The second round was passed, and the national debt soared.

A small plane headed into White House air space on a working week day as Bush was riding a bike in Maryland. Cheney, however, was working at his desk and ordered an evacuation, including Laura Bush. The President was not notified of the potential attack on the White House and his wife until he returned some time later, after the alert was over. Even, Laura, the First Lady of Stepford, said that the President should have been told at the time. Some see that incident as a turning point in the Bush-Cheney relationship.

Whatever the case, it is true that not long after, Cheney went on a vacation to Wyoming while Bush spent August in Texas, and Hurricane Katrina roared toward New Orleans.

Remember, Bush and Cheney are humans. So Cheney, who had been taking charge for years, sat in Wyoming, perhaps thinking he’d let the little guy take care of it himself, since Bush had been so upset with the evacuation scenario at the White House and Cheney’s role right after 9/11.

And, perhaps the little guy didn’t know what to do, relying on others as he had from the start, assuming others would take charge, again, as they had from the beginning. That could have been partly his thinking, or lack of thinking. Humans act that way sometimes. Whatever the thinking, Katrina came ashore while FEMA did almost nothing right.

And the destruction and continuing fiasco on the Gulf Coast was and is too tragic to describe adequately here. The criticism was loud. Bush had to hear it.

So what did he do? Again, I am imagining, based on knowledge of fallible human nature. But it seems as if he decided to show Cheney and his critics and the nation that he could, indeed, take charge of an issue. Bush surprised everyone, including his staunchest supporters, by nominating his advisor, friend, and one of his biggest fans, especially during those trying post-Katrina days, to the Supreme Court! Surely you still remember Harriett Miers.

Another peek at possible relationships occurred when Cheney had that hunting accident. He not only didn’t notify authorities for many hours, he never did call the President to inform him. And Bush did not call Cheney to talk about it after the news was made public. That indicates strained relations to me.

Though there is much more, that may be enough to give a possible view of the relationships and ways of thinking going on in the White House. So, go back again to Scooter Libby’s recent testimony. He testified that Cheney told him it was Bush who authorized the leaking of classified information, later proven inaccurate, but information that lead to revealing a CIA operative’s name, a felony, and helped deceive the nation to accept war with Iraq.

It is interesting that so many journalists today are saying Bush authorizing the leak. What Libby testified to was that Cheney told him that Bush had authorized the information be put “out there.” There is an important difference, but the media has assumed that both Libby and Cheney were telling the truth, Libby to the Grand jury, and earlier, Cheney to Libby. So, the media says, “Bush told Cheney to get the information out, and so he did, through Libby.” But is that the way it happened?

Put that Valerie Plame leak into the context of the time it occurred, back when Cheney was taking charge and there seemed to be no split between him and Bush. So, did the President authorize that leak? If so, did he know what he was authorizing? Or did Cheney, who may have been in charge more often than not back then, simply lie and tell the hesitant Scooter that the President had authorized release of the information?

Don’t call me a conspiracy theory nutcase. Something happened back then. Humans in the White House leaked, or planted, information, seemingly for their own purposes. They were not larger than life leaders knowing what was best for mere humans. They were, and are, humans. They had personal agendas and acted in ways that might push them forward. So think about it within the context of how humans can behave in order to maintain power, get their way, or achieve their goals.

An Associated Press story on April 7 said the following. “Bush merely instructed Cheney to ‘get it out’ and left the details to him, said the lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case for the White House. The vice president chose Libby and communicated the president's wishes to his then-top aide, the lawyer said.”

I think that report fits my scenario, though one must suspect the complete accuracy of the anonymous lawyer source.

The AP story continued: “It is not known when the conversation between Bush and Cheney took place. The White House has declined to provide the date when the president used his authority to declassify the portions of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, a classified document that detailed the intelligence community's conclusions about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.” Those are the “conclusions” that proved erroneous, by the way. But as interesting as that may be, there is another question.

Why would the Bush League decline to provide the date of declassification if there were nothing to hide? And if the information were declassified, why was there a need to plant or leak it to the press?

To summarize: Bush may have authorized the leak. Or he may have told Cheney to “get it out;” “it” being the National Intelligence Estimate, the information, though wrong, he thought would help his case. Or Cheney may have lied to Libby about Bush authorizing the leak. Or Libby may be lying now, but today, that seems least likely.

Conclusion: Someone in high office is lying. And not just about his sex life.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is impressive evidence for your scenrio. You could also have included Bush agreeing to testify to the post 9/11 commission only if there were no press releases, no outside witnesses, no recordings made, no notes taken, and remember this -- If Cheney accompanied him for joint testimony.

The people who were in charge of those arrangements knew when to chaperone their boy Bush! But he did become more independent after his less than one percent victory "mandate" for a second term. It is so obvious that they are lying. All we lack is proof.

4/12/2006 4:51 PM  
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