Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Bush Photoshops Rove Out of Plame Scandal"

David Corn (Mother Jones):
In his book, Bush Photoshops Rove out of this scandal. By doing so, Bush doesn't have to explain why he took no action against Rove or justify why he did nothing after his press secretary falsely told the public that Rove was not connected to the Plame leak.

Bush ardently defends his decision to commute Libby's sentence without pardoning him, revealing that most of his advisers "believed that the jury verdict was correct and should remain in place." He recalls that this led to a showdown with Cheney. Libby had been Cheney's chief of staff, and the vice president was a forceful advocate of a pardon. At one meeting with Bush, Cheney declared, "I can't believe you're going to leave a soldier on the battlefield." Bush writes that in eight years he had never seen Cheney so worked up. But in Bush's telling, he stood his ground, striking a tough position only because he believed it was the right one. The whole point of this episode—which appears in a chapter called "Personnel"—seems to be that Bush was his own man in the Oval Office and was willing to say no to Cheney.

Yet the CIA leak case was about much more than Bush's ability to stare down the veep. The questions that remain concern Bush's willingness to tolerate a White House campaign to discredit an administration critic (a campaign that led to the exposure of a CIA officer who had overseen efforts to gather intelligence on WMDs in Iraq and elsewhere) and Bush's decision to do nothing about both Rove's involvement in that effort and Rove's attempt to cover up his role. Bush has nothing to say about any of this. (A much fuller and more accurate account of the CIA leak case can be found in the new movie Fair Game, even if this Hollywood picture fictionalizes aspects of the story.) For Bush, the Plame case is only a tale of a difficult decision about a pardon. It is not about political skulduggery or dishonesty at the highest levels of the government. MORE...

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