Fair Game (the movie): The Truth Saves a Marriage
and Slaps a Tyrant's Hand
The newly released film Fair Game retells a moment in time when the president was caught in a bald-faced lie he used to start a useless war that ruined the lives of millions, both here and in Iraq and God knows where else.
Yet the only ones who called for impeachment were ignored. It's far more just to impeach a typical male having a mid-day romp with a piece of . . . devil's food, not yellow cake.
For Bush's "16 words" that lied about yellow cake in his 2003 SOTU speech, ultimately Scooter Libby went down and took with him a brief fad in which children could be seen riding scooters on sidewalks, the way we did back in the fifties.
The story is known, an outrage that outed Cheney, Rove, and Bush far more than Valerie Plame, a self-described civil servant whose husband, Joe Wilson IV, was victimized by a Cheney-Rove brand of vengeance for having decisively proved what we all knew--there were no WMD in assembly in Iraq any more than there are polar bears in Sub-Saharan Africa. The film reminds us that such a project had been aborted years ago, around the time of the Gulf War.
It seems that the highly skilled and highly attractive CIA operative Valerie Plame had recommended her husband, former U.S. ambassador to Gabon, for a mission to Niger (pronounced Knee-djehr in the film [accent on second syllable], not N-eye-djir [accent on first syllable]), the bottom of the barrel in terms of quality of life, as he knew as an expert in the area. He was hired by the CIA to reesearch the country to discover whether there was indeed undercover trade in yellowcake going on between Niger and Iraq.
A career diplomat for twenty-two years, Wilson was a perfect choice, very used to keeping secrets as Valerie's husband, well schooled in African culture and politics.
But having visited Niger and researched it at least as thoroughly as Hans Blix and co. had toured Iraq in search of WMD, even into Sadam's personal bedroom bureau, and found not a trace, this time Wilson broadcast far and wide that Iraq wasn't trading with Niger for yellow-cake uranium to enrich with metal tubes that were, in fact, proved to be useful in other projects.
It was embarrassing to be caught in a bald-faced lie even if articles of impeachment did not result. Rove and Cheney were mad at being outed in Joe's July 6, 2003, op ed in the New York Times. So, before anyone knew it, a well-known Washington Post journalist, the late Robert Novak, outed Valerie Plame, ruining her career but, even worse (the family was clearly well heeled), resulting in the death of family members of an Iraqi American whom Plame had persuaded to consult her brother on the use of the "suspicious" metal tubing, a high-ranking and prestigious physicist who still lived in Iraq.
One may assume that, though Plame and Wilson's adorable twins were unharmed (despite death threats against all of the Plame-Wilsons), the Iraqi physicist's family was less fortunate--the physicist brother went missing, among the others. There are hideous scenes of the three days of Shock and Awe that shook the world at least as much as did 9/11. Of people standing in shock as their city collapses around them, of others running from the mayhem as buildings struck by bombs explode.
All because of yellow cake, what [Joe] "didn't find" being traded between Niger and Iraq.
Here's an absurd thought: why not bomb Niger for selling the stuff to Iraq? Because it had even less to do with 9/11 than Iraq did, if that's possible.
Back to the movie: Plame becomes furious at her husband for outing himself as her husband and defending her vociferously throughout the mainstream media. She remains loyal to an employer, the CIA, that has fired her outright, in the midst of many vital projects in which she had held leadership roles. She also reviled the publicity.
No doubt the screening process is so infinitely intricate that Plame was honoring vows she had taken when first hired right out of graduate school. I can't help but think of answering yes at interviews to the question whether I'd work overtime uncompensated, since non-exempt, and eagerly nodding yes and blearily regretting it once hired.
Plame had reason to regret her vows even more, now interfering with other vows she had decided to break, those she had taken at her wedding.