Monday, September 29, 2003

Can someone explain the big deal about the Plame, or Plume, or whatever, affair? I don't watch TV except for Enterprise (this week's episode looks... interesting) and British comedies, so I'm kinda outta the loop here, but from what I can figure, it goes like this:

*Idiot former (UPDATED) ambassador says bad things about his own country while country is at war.

*Someone at White House outs his wife -- who, like her husband, is an American citizen -- as CIA to beat reporter/columnist.

*CIA stands for "Central Intelligence Agency" of the United States of America.

*Wife is not in deep cover in some dangerous place when this "outing" happens. Wife is, in fact, at a cocktail party.

*This "outing" is allegedly done as payback, or for vengeance, or as a warning, or something.

*Now, wife will have to work a cushy desk job.

*Wife is not dead.

*Ambassador is not dead.

*Neither was fired.

*Neither was threatened with violence or (job) termination.

Thus, when the loony left responsible left of center says that

This episode exposes the viciousness and amorality at the very heart of the Bush administration, and I hope it opens some conservative eyes about the nature of the administration they support. These guys are not who you think they are and they aren't pursuing their policies for the principled reasons you think they are. After all, if they went to war with Iraq because of a genuine commitment to humanitarian relief and Middle East democracy, don't you think they would have paid a little more attention to postwar planning? What does it tell you that they didn't?
...I'm left to conclude that there is a great deal of fury out there for no good reason.

(What does it tell me? That they made a bad call about postwar planning. They got the war right, and the aftermath wrong, so far. In other words, they're "human."

Hey, wait -- if the dread neocons were running this, and doing it to enlarge the American empire, and to forcibly spread American democracy abroad, shouldn't there have been more postwar planning on their part? I mean, we can, I think, generally agree that the stereotype neocon is a [Jewish] intellectual ivory tower sort; doesn't the absence of all-seeing postwar planning suggest that it wasn't a neocon cabal? Just asking.)

I'm actually serious -- and this invitation is open to any outside of the fever swamps of left or right: Tell me why l'affaire Plame is such a big deal. Please. I'm willing to listen. Otherwise, like Glenn Reynolds is suggesting, I don't see the big deal, other than a bunch of folks who normally hate the CIA suddenly developing a swollen heart for one of its agents.

Email address to the left.

UPDATE: Little Tiny Lies has something on this -- and the comments are worth reading. Tacitus is never very taciturn.

And I should add: I understand the danger to real contacts Ms. Plame may have had. But as payback, these seems reeeaaally stupid, awkward, and ineffective -- and let's be honest, the White House political operation is none of these.

And, like one of Steve's commenters noted, if this were Karl Rove doing the leaking, do you really think he'd need to hit six reporters before he got one to print for him? Puh-lease.

UPDATED AGAIN: Clifford May says this wasn't a secret in the first place and asks a good question: How messed are the folks at Langley?

ONE MORE TIME: Drudge is now carrying a quote from Novak to the effect that no one told him to run the name, no one narrowed it down for his attention, and by crackey, the woman was an analyst, not an operative. Seals the deal, to my mind. Link when it becomes available.

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