Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Nov. 16, 2005

Libby's indictment: deserving yet unsatisfactory

by Payal Patnaik, Online Editor-in-Chief
Joseph Wilson, the CIA envoy sent to confirm the Africa claim in 2002, wrote an editorial to the "New York Times" about the Iraq-Niger deals being false. This attempt of righting the wrong caused more harm than good. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff and national security advisor, leaked the Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative to several journalists. Libby sought to discredit Wilson believing his actions to be subversive, blurring his purpose, and ruining the career of his wife, Plame, by revealing her position at the CIA.

The indictment of Libby signifies all that is wrong with President George W. Bush's Washington. Justifying America's invasion in Iraq with a distortion of facts, Libby and the rest of Cheney's men continued to mislead America with their stubborn habit of compromising their integrity for "national security." This so-called national security only protected the real Republican motive to find a reason to start a war.

Cheney and Libby were interested in Iraq before the invasion. They had ordered the CIA to investigate claims that Iraq was receiving uranium from Africa. The men already had a war of their own: a grudge against Hussein. The rumor that Saddam Hussein had ordered uranium from Niger was confirmed to be bogus, yet in his 2003 State of the Union address, Bush claimed that the British government believed Saddam Hussein sought uranium from Africa. Bush invaded Iraq accusing Iraq of harboring "weapons of mass destruction," a lie encouraged by Libby that is as red as the blood spilled. Therein lies the true beginning of this scandal, almost the equivalent of Watergate, as Cheney and his gang sought to justify a war that wronged our nation.

These sorts of government actions should not exist within America, the land of democracy and justice. Libby's actions show more of a totalitarian perspective, for his actions clearly indicate his conviction in a government that squashes opposition. Libby probably believed that small untruths can be told in order to achieve his higher purpose of "national security."

Now that the source of the Plame leak is identified, the scandal is traced up to the vice president. Immediately after the leak, Bush claimed that those involved in the scandal would be punished. He has been strangely quiet since Libby and others close to him were discovered to have been involved. Similar to the Watergate scandal, the public watched the blame go higher and higher in this case, until it reached the lie that Bush said in his State of the Union address and stubbornly stuck by at the beginning of the war: that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Libby tried to cover up his tracks by leaking the identity of Plame in order to quiet Wilson's accusations against the government. And now, Libby is no more; he is no longer Cheney's top aide. Yet, in this scandal, could it have been one man's fault that started the Iraq War? It's an "All the Vice President's Men" rather than "All the President's Men," where the president was made the biggest fool of all for believing the lie that was told to him and stubbornly supporting an unjustified war.

But one man, Libby, is shouldering all the blame. Hopefully, like the Watergate scandal, all who were involved, and all who authorized these wrong actions will be held accountable for their actions at the end. Hopefully, at the end, we will have confidence in our justice system that even high-ranking officials cannot escape the hands of the law and moral responsibility.

Bob Novak, a columnist, revealed that Plame worked in the CIA in his column "Mission to Niger." He said that his source was "two senior administration officials," who are, in fact, Libby and Karl Rove, a top Bush aide. Cheney should be under strict investigation, and President Bush questioned if he knew that the claims were false. All five counts of Libby's indictment stems from his lying about three exchanges he had with three journalists about the Plame-CIA link. A man cannot single-handedly cause a nation to go to war without a single person knowing the truth behind the lie. If Libby lied to us and Bush led us to a war because of this lie, then Libby is not the only man to blame for this scandal. Further investigation needs to be done to other officials who were close to Libby, for the blame is slowly creeping higher and higher up a vine of deception.

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  • Anonymous on November 16, 2005 at 8:28 PM
    Overall good article, but to be fair Clinton and Gore also stated that Iraq was a threat and that they thought that Iraq had WMD's.
  • JAMES CLARK (View Email) on November 17, 2005 at 1:52 PM
    I am almost positive that in the few days immediately preceding the invasion of Iraq, the media reported Saddam Hussein pleading with W to not invade them; that Iraq had no WMDs and that the UN inspectors could return for unfettered inspections. Am I incorrect? If I am not, I am surprised that no more mention has been made of this, considering that W followed with an almost frantic rush to invade. Did he fear that the American public would demand that he delay his war?
  • JB on November 17, 2005 at 5:38 PM
    YAY PAYAL!!!!!!
  • // on November 17, 2005 at 10:37 PM
    Overall good article, but to be fair Clinton and Gore also stated that Iraq was a threat and that they thought that Iraq had WMD's.

    They didnt start a big war, though. France thought so too, but they didnt act on what turned out to be bad intelligence.
  • tsk tsk on November 17, 2005 at 11:03 PM
    what a sorry state our government is in...
    nice job though, thanks for bringing this to attention =>)
  • Naod Yiman (View Email) on November 17, 2005 at 11:18 PM
    OK so George has made some mistakes, Cheney has made some mistakes but George is president for about 3 more years so deal with it. This is like the 20th article bashing Bush this year, find someone else to pick on. I haven't gained anything from reading this article except for what everyone else is saying. Bush Lies Who Dies, very original article, and im not being sarcastic.
  • Anonymous on November 19, 2005 at 1:27 PM
    To James Clark and //, in short, wrong.

    Here's a quote from Clinton:

    "If he refuses or continues to evade his obligations through more tactics of delay and deception, he and he alone will be to blame for the consequences. . Now, let's imagine the future. What if he fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction.? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal. And I think every one of you who's really worked on this for any length of time believes that, too."

    Here's Gore:

    "If you allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons, how many people is he going to kill with such weapons? He's already demonstrated a willingness to use these weapons. He poison-gassed his own people. He used poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors. This man has no compunction about killing lots and lots of people. So this is a way to save lives and to save the stability and peace of a region of the world that is important to the peace and security of the entire world."
  • Blazer Parent on December 29, 2005 at 2:01 PM
    The question from James Clark was whether Saddam Hussein had been willing to cooperate with UN inspectors before the US invasion. The answer is essentially yes. The inspections were working and were on a clear path to demonstrate that Iraq had no significant remaining capability to develop or produce nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. The United States (especially Vice President Cheney) dismissed the reports of UN inspections with claims (which we now know to be false) that either Iraq was not cooperating or that the inspectors were patsies.

    So the Administration insisted on inspections and when they didn't turn out as the Administration hoped (they really wanted Iraq to resist) they ignored the inconvenient facts. The timing of the invasion was not based on any failure of inspections but on the weather. What this indicates is that the twin justifications of WMD and enforcing UN mandates were merely pretexts for invasion.

    And by the way, the silent scandal of the supposed Iraqi nuclear threat is that even if the evidence we pointed to had been true it would have been scant evidence of a nuclear program. Attempts to buy uranium ore and actually buying aluminum tubes might be considered indicators that a country a country might have nuclear ambitions, but by themselves they prove nothing and are far removed from any actual nuclear threat. The proper response should have been to keep evaluating the evidence and watching for further signs. If we had done this, we would have understand soon that even the scant evidence we thought we had was false. But that's not the conclusion the Administration wanted, so that's not what they did.
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