Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fair Game: Valerie Plame's outing on the big screen. Where's Bush?

Plame's book, Fair Game, has been made into a movie, out soon. Perhaps it will yield enough profit for her to protect herself and her family since the government she served has declined. (Wiki commons photo)

I'm tired of talking about George W. Bush. I used to think he was simply the puppet of Dick Cheney; then someone convinced me that he did have a brain and was not Dick's puppet. I don't know and don't, any longer, care who ran the mechanism of whom. The fact is, the two of them brought such ignominy to the White House and its environs that it would seem that Washington, DC., is no more than salted earth today, unable to support life or nourish those who depend on it.

I often -- for example, day in and day out -- try not to think of the disaster those two miscreants left behind. I am beginning to learn something about British politics, which is only sensible since I live in the UK now. But yesterday morning, BBC4 radio broadcast an interview with Valerie Plame Wilson, former CIA clandestine agent outed in a fit of pique by Deadeye Dick's well-exercised right hand, "Scooter" (perfect name for Dick's right hand, no?) Libby.

Amazingly, Libby served time for his unconscionable engagement in payback. Payback? For what?

Bush administration kicks truth in the teeth
For truth. In the Bush administration, any breath of truth allowed to exit the compound would have to be dealt with severely, rendered a body blow until it was no longer recognizable as truth, so that their lies could supplant it.

Just so, Bush and Cheney and Libby and countless others mantracized the lie of the hour. One of those lies, according to Valerie Plame Wilson, was that Iraq had WMDs and that Niger had supplied the essential “yellow cake.” Not. Her husband, a retired ambassador with first-hand knowledge, said it did not. So the Bush-Cheney cabal paid him back for his disloyalty (or to the rest of us, his honesty) by ruining his wife's career. (This, of course, leads to certain assumptions about the regard of the Bush-Cheney administration for the female gender.)

Outed undercover agent in danger
A subsequent lie tossed into the murky air of Foggy Bottom was that the Wilson family was not in any mortal danger after Libby outed Valerie Plame Wilson, or at least, Bush-Cheney used that excuse when their CIA (recall, it had once been Daddy Bush’s CIA, literally) denied her request for protection.

Unbelievable. Is this, then, the same government that believed the entire nation was in mortal danger because some Muslims had wreaked havoc and taken 3000 lives in New  York City just a couple of years before? Is this the administration that was throwing money, ordnance and lives of young military personnel against countries that might be harbouring that sort of terrorist? The entire nation was supposed to be at risk from deadly forces from overseas, but there was no reason to think anyone might want to harm Valerie Plame Wilson or her family after it had been made clear that her job was collecting information about national enemies for years: Is that right? No, it's clearly wrong.

It would be natural to ask, how stupid were Bush and Cheney, and how stupid did they think Americans are?

Dumb like foxes
Bush and Cheney weren't stupid at all; they knew exactly what they were doing in engineering precisely what has come to passa nation deeply divided along ideological lines. More succinctly, they created a nation divided between those who drank the Bush Kool-Aid and chose to be frightened and therefore manageable by those who would force them into ignorant servitude, and those who were not afraid because they knew:

  • The world was always thus, fraught with dangers

  • It is not impossible that 9/11 was either and inside job or done with inside foreknowledge

  • It is tantamount to becoming a serf to trade personal and civic freedom for putative protection, especially from shadowy forces.

Bush-Cheney were smart enough to know that they could force most Americans into the Kool-Aid parlor; they thought Americans were pretty stupid, and by and large, they were right. It's unfortunate that their single instance of correct assessment was that one.

Considering the hubris and self-referential activities of the Bush-Cheney cabal, it is easy to believe that there never was a real threat from Middle Eastern terrorists, even if one accepts the Twin Towers as a bona fide case of two towers, built to withstand almost anything, collapsing although the fire did not engulf them and was still localized on the upper floors when the buildings fell like a house of cards with the LOWER decks kicked out by an unseen hand.

Home-grown terrorists on Christian agenda
But let's leave that possibility. In the past ten years or so, most of the horrific acts in the US were carried out by US citizens and not even Muslim ones at that. I cite, most recently, the shooting of Rep. Gabriele Gifford, the killing of a judge and a little girl, and the wounding of many others. Where were the Muslims then? Living on the inhospitable alien landscape of Afghanistan, a nation that has been no more than rocks and camels and donkeys and men who would make other men and all women into chattel for centuries, and whose land--despite having been fought for by superpowers from Alexander the Great to the USSR to America--is virtually a pile of rocks and dust offering little more than vicious subsistence to the inhabitants. This factor, unfortunately, makes the place almost ungovernable and certainly unbconquerable; those with little to lose care little to live and will thus sacrifice yours and theirs with equal abandon.

It was a dingbat looney with Christian zeal who wreaked havoc most recently, an apparent home-grown psycho who had slipped through the cracks as he wound down into fundamentalist uber-angst and reckless behavior.


Valerie Plame Wilson got no protection. She left government, although she claims she still encourages students to enter government service. The woman must be an eternal optimist, thinking that there will never be another government as unethical in its conduct and inimical in its intent toward the American people as was the execrable government of George W. Bush. Or else, advising college students to go into government service is one way she can protect her hide from those inside who would do her harm. It is certain that the government that dumped her out of the boat is not going to wet its slimy hands helping her get to shore. And make no mistake; it’s still the same government, with just enough window dressing to keep the credulous confused.

It was an interesting interview. The interviewer asked Plame Wilson if she might have been over-reacting to threats against her and against her family. Her answer was clear, succinct and unemotional, precisely as one would expect from someone who had worked within the stress of clandestine ops for years. Valerie Plame Wilson, I have concluded, is good indeed at what she does, not least of which is surviving a several-pronged attack by the government she was proud to serve, and emerging with her mind intact.

Will brainy college graduates save America?
Bush and Cheney have so much to answer for, I and an army of bloggers could point out their misdeeds daily for the next decade and barely scratch the surface. Plame Wilson said she tells college students to study hard and graduate with the best education they can get because the nation will need brainy people who are well educated to solve the problems created in the past decade.

That’s true. But will they be treated as traitors for voicing concerns, even if they also offer solutions? Will truth ever regain a foothold in American life? Hearing truth requires a willingness to grapple with it, something in short supply in America since Bush could reach no higher than holding a book upside down when pretending to read it to children.* Grappling with truth often requires at least a modicum of education and courage, both of which Bush-Cheney badly damaged nationally.

Bush-Cheney virtually destroyed primary and secondary education in the United States via No Child Left Behind. They systematically dismantled the US economic system via a wealth shift of major proportions away from the middle class and to the top 400, and the concurrent rendering of a great deal of America's population homeless or jobless, or both. They rendered the population helpless to help themselves by a steady diet of panic alerts, color-coded so that an uneducated and biddable population might be driven to excesses of both fear and pseudo-patriotic zeal. Remember "freedom fries"? The puerile hallmark of a deluded and gullible population looking for a scapegoat for their own fear and their leaders' failures.


I wonder if that interview with the thoughtful and well-spoken Valerie Plame Wilson would ever have happened on a US radio station. I think not. I think a Limbaugh or Hannity would have been employed to assault her verbally in an attempt to prove to the baggers of the nation that this patriotic woman is in fact a traitor despite her years of service, and because she shouldered her betrayal by her superiors better than almost any soldier might.

I would like to think that the absence of an American demand for accountability by Bush-Cheney is also a mass shouldering of betrayal in the upright manner of Valerie Plame Wilson. But I think it is not. I think it is the craven simpering of a nation of peasants convinced by their masters that, if they speak out, they will be denied even the small scraps of dignity shown to them, as well as all means to live. Lord knows, there is little dignity in an America where educated people scrape by on jobs the less-educated would have once been glad to have as a means to start up the ladder. There is little means to live, when threats are made daily by Congress to scrap the meager program (compared to Europe’s) that is Social Security, to dam up unemployment benefits in a nation where the major industry is, at the moment, unemployment.

America no longer needs to fear becoming like the USSR. It already is. As in the USSR, America’s peasants refuse to revolt, or perhaps are already officially terrorized far beyond the capacity to take meaningful political action, concerted action, not actions cynically orchestrated by platoons of emperor wannabes like the Koch brothers and Rush Limbaugh. The population doesn't realize that, sooner or later, there’s going to be a gulag like Guantanamo, and not only for those identified as enemy combatants (rightly or wrongly doesn’t matter in a police state), but for those patriots labeled as traitors by the actual traitors in a democracy-killing real-life version of Mad magazine's prescient Spy vs. Spy vs. Spy.

* Bush was photographed holding the kindergarten book upside down. What did that signify? Did he think, like a mirror, the camera would reverse things? Or could he have been pre-occupied with other thoughts?