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TNR's Jason Zengerle Fronts for NeoCons

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Michael Leon
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Some New Republic writer can always be counted on to carry water for the Bush hawks' absurd talking points.

But I never do see a retraction for their more ridiculous exertions. Maybe Jason Zengerle will surprise us.

After Joe Wilson's appearance on 60 Minutes last night in which Wilson joined former CIA undercover operatives in confirming that blowing Valerie Plame's cover did inflict damage on the United States, the CIA, and Wilson's family in particular, Zengerle, in today's The Plank, has divined that the indictments really show that the Bushies are not vindictive and mean-spirited.

It's Wilson who has taken "hits" by the indictments.

"Wilson's full of it when he says Libby and Rove and whomever else blew his wife's cover purely for spite...," and Bush's cronies' motives "don't appear so sinister," Zengerle assures us.

Unbelievable. First of all, Wilson has alleged a range of reasons why the administration blew his wife's cover and spite is merely derivative of one of them -- namely the personal destruction and smearing of a war critic.

Smearing is, to some of us, inherently slimy and unethical, and even sinister when it puts lives at risk.

There are a couple of obvious reasons for the illegal outing of Plame that Wilson has proposed: Wilson knocked down a central justification for the Iraq war -- No uranium deal in Niger. You know, Jason, the discredited 16 words?

So Libby and scum needed to:

" Defend the lie
" Intimidate others who would expose the lie

If the folks at the CIA and State department started speaking freely in 2003 like Wilson did, the case for invading Iraq would have begun to look precisely like it does now - a lie that has resulted in the death of 10,000s.

But the Bush administration, surprise, did not defend its lie with facts and logic after Wilson went public. They went after Wilson ad hominem, in effect asserting: Hey, his wife got him the job, she's with CIA, so don't believe his conclusions.

"[A] decision was made to get a 'work-up' on me. That meant getting as much information about me as they could: about my past, about my life, about my family. This, in and of itself, is abominable. Then that information was passed at the appropriate time to the White House Communications Office, and at some point a decision was made to go ahead and start to smear me...," as Wilson told Salon (Salon, May 3, 2004).

The only thing Wilson got wrong is that it is the White House Iraq Group who did the smearing.

What does Zengerle think? Libby and company were just straightening out the record dispassionately, lending a helping hand to reporters out of a commitment to truth because they believed Joe Wilson may have exaggerated how many people in the administration read his report?

The indictments show, so far, that Libby appeared before a federal grand jury and "lied" under oath repeatedly, and "fabricated" a story. Why, Jason, do you think Libby lied and fabricated?

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Michael Leon is a writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. His writing has appeared nationally in The Progressive, In These Times, and CounterPunch. He can be reached at maleon64@yahoo.com.
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