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"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show
"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket
"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming
March 11, 2007
I Have An Opinion!
My site trouble prevented me from issuing my opinion on Scooter Libby's conviction. But now it's working again, AND I REFUSE TO BE SILENCED.
1. The whole thing should never have been in the criminal justice system. I don't think the law against naming CIA agents is a great idea to begin with. And I certainly think it's a terrible precedent to force reporters to testify about their sources. Moreover, I suspect both these things will come back at some point to bite progressives very hard in the ass.
I realize this perspective may be unpopular with some. And I understand where such people are coming fromÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Âit's only natural to want to see at least one of these guys punished someway, somehow. I've given into such temptation myself, on occasion.
But as we've learned, the criminal case addressed an extremely narrow issue, and most of the information it uncovered remains secret. By itself it gets us nowhere.
2. The whole thing should be the subject of a massive congressional investigation. The tiny issue was: did Libby commit perjury? The medium-sized issue is: whether any "crimes" were committed or not, what exactly did the Bush administration do, and why? The serious, largest issue is: why do we allow the Bush administration to hide behind jingoism, when it's crystal clear they couldn't care less whether any of us live or die?
Even for an anti-American America-hater like myself, this aspect of the Plame case was startling. I'm not surprised the Bush administration did what they did. I'm not surprised they tried to cover it up when caught. But I am surprised other American institutionsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Âincluding the broader Republican partyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Âhasn't focused on the large issue, and forced Bush at least to pretend he was sorry and fire some people.
I mean, you have an administration that's built their case for a giant war on terrorists and terrifying weapons of mass destruction. We live in a world where, whatever the Bush administration's lies and exaggeration, this is a real problem. And then they blow the cover of someone who's secretly worked for decades on WMD issues.
If you'd written a script like this, no one would believe it. It would seem like agitprop. And yet it happened. A woman works at some real risk for decades with no recognition at government pay rates for what she believes is the best interest of her country. An administration screams for years about how much they LUV AMERICA so much they'll do ANYTHING TO PROTECT US. But when this women becomes inconvenient, they squash her like a bug.
Likewise, when maimed soldiers come back from war, they're discarded like used tissues, even as Bush speaks constantly about how he LUVS THE TROOPS. Likewise, as New Yorkers wandered about in a haze of grief in mid-September, 2001, the Bush administration lied about the safety of breathing the air in lower Manhattan, even as Bush went on to give 20,000 speeches about THE HORRIBLE TRAUMA OF 9/11.
But all this apparently this makes no never mind to the Republican party, or the Washington Post editorial page. They have just as much contempt for us as the Bush administration itself. Indeed, their contempt may be deepest for those who actually believe all their lies about how we're all in this together and act on this belief. Suckers!
That's the main thing I take away from all this: the depth of the disdain these people feel for us. It's been bracing to witnessÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Âin their minds, we basically don't exist, except perhaps as useful props. The question now is whether we, the regular Americans, have enough self-respect to get our acts together and force them to care about our lives. And that's something that can't really happen in courtrooms.Posted at March 11, 2007 07:21 PM | TrackBack