The Real Culprit / the Big Enchilada

I must say, there's been a nice flood of commentary about the Rove-Wilson-Plame affair. Whether a healthy increase in public awareness will follow remains to be seen, but the forecast looks good, and I'm hopeful. As upsetting and redundant as it may be, I'm going to keep cranking the volume on my voice of dissent, even if it's on the small scale (ie. talking to myself). My admiration for today's best political critics is too great - shutting up is not an option.

But, hypothetically speaking, if I've ever had delusions of becoming the next Frank Rich, they were dissolved into my imagination when I read last Sunday's New York Times column, which effectively takes every thought, every observation, and every point I wish I'd made about this issue and turns it into a master crafted piece of critical protest prose. The best commentary writers find that hard-to-find beat between style and substance and keep the rhythm like Keith Moon on a double dose of speed - the more wittily fun to read, the more politically insightful, the better.

Rich is the undisputed forerunner of this genre. In case you don't feel like reading it (what's wrong with you?), he takes aim at a general observation many leftys have been forgetting amid the Rove witch hunt: this is bigger than a CIA leak, it's bigger than revealing confidential sources, and it sure as hell is bigger than the press are acknowledging. While Watergate was about fraudulent mistrust, Lewinskygate was about the covergence of sex and power, this leaky scandal is another sizeable roll on the Bush Adminstration's mighty snowball of deception. WMDs, fixed Iraqi elections, CIA leaks, prisoner scandals, and the like will keep on building until there's one hell of a sunny day and the lies will melt all the way down to a regime change.

Listen up:

"This case is about Iraq, not Niger. The real victims are the American people, not the Wilsons. The real culprit - the big enchilada, to borrow a 1973 John Ehrlichman phrase from the Nixon tapes - is not Mr. Rove but the gang that sent American sons and daughters to war on trumped-up grounds and in so doing diverted finite resources, human and otherwise, from fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. That's why the stakes are so high: this scandal is about the unmasking of an ill-conceived war, not the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative who posed for Vanity Fair."

-Frank Rich, 7/17/05 New York Times column


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