Rich Looks at the Big Questions
Frank Rich was on Meet the Press this morning, but his column is still behind the subscriber wall at The New York Times, so we have to find an alternate version at truthout.com. In "Karl and Scooter's Excellent Adventure," Rich adds his voice to the growing chorus pointing out that although Fitzgerald is investigating the question of who exposed the identity of a CIA operative (and whether that exposure was legal or illegal), the subtext concerns the reasons (and by extension, their validity) for going to war in Iraq in the first place.
I'm not sure why this seems to be hitting the mainstream media as some sort of revelation. It's never been any secret that Valerie Plame Wilson's position with the CIA was made public to get back at her husband for calling the Bush Administration out on its evidence for the war. Although Wilson focused on the White House's claim about Saddam and uranium from Niger, there should never have been any question that he was really attacking this detail as a major building block (though not the only one, of course) in the justification to war. The White House certainly recognized that. Wilson undermined the reason why the smoking gun might take the form of a mushroom cloud. Although he was specifically disputing the stated facts of the uranium, by extension he was questioning the legitimacy of the very war itself.
Any indictments the Fitzgerald grand jury may hand down this week obviously won't address those broader questions, but any trials that result won't be able to avoid them. If the trials don't explore the larger reasons for war directly, those reasons will be implicit throughout the proceedings. Why this seems to come as a surprise to the mainstream media is beyond me--you'd almost have to wonder if they just haven't been paying attention.