Mar 8, 2007

Defining a Real American Hero

I was watching this video of Hardball this morning. Two pundits argue over the Libby verdict. Now, I know you already know who I believe is an American hero, but let's review the facts. I watched the Democratic-leaning pundit call Libby a felon and I watched the Republican-leaning pundit call Wilson a clown. In the interest of the truth, let's go over these men's history and how exactly they have served their country while in the service of various government offices. I will attempt to just break it down to the highlights of their careers.

I will start with I. Lewis Libby. Here's his credentials and working history:

In 1972 he graduated magna cum laude from Yale, under mentor Paul Wolfowitz. In 1975 he received his Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School. After graduating from Columbia, Libby practiced law in Philadelphia from 1976 to 1978.

One of Libby's clients in his work as a private lawyer was fugitive billionaire commodities trader Marc Rich, who had been convicted of tax evasion and illegal trading with Iran, and who was pardoned by President Bill Clinton.

Libby has also, at various times in his career, held positions with the American Bar Association, been on the advisory board of the
RAND Corporation's Center for Russia and Eurasia, and been a legal advisor to the United States House of Representatives, as well as served as a consultant for the defense contractor Northrop Grumman.

He accepted a job offer from his old professor, Paul Wolfowitz, and went to work for Wolfowitz at the State Department, from 1981 to 1985," as a member of the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff. From 1982 to 1985, according to his official U.S. State Department biography, Libby served as director of special projects in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

In 1985 "he left the government to enter private legal practice.... By 1989 he was working again for Wolfowitz, this time at the Pentagon, as principal deputy under-secretary of defense for strategy and resources....For his government service Libby was awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Award and the Department of the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award. He also received the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Award for Public Service. During the George H. W. Bush administration, Libby was also confirmed by the U.S. Senate as deputy under secretary of defense for policy. Libby co-authored the draft of the "Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994-99 fiscal years" ( with Wolfowitz for then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney.

He still worked as a lawyer during this time and in 1995 became managing partner at the Washington office of the Dechert, Price and Rhoads law firm, where he worked until 2001, when Vice President Cheney named him chief of staff and national security adviser.

Along with Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Wolfowitz, Libby became part of a network of neo-conservatives who many know as the 'Vulcans' – Mr. Bush's core national security team. In 1997 Libby became a founding member of the Project for the New American Century and, while he was still a partner at Dechert Price, and Rhoads, he joined Wolfowitz, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, and others in writing its 2000 report entitled, "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century.

On October 28, 2005, Libby resigned his government position, hours after being indicted on five felony counts (one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of making false statements, and two counts of perjury) by a U.S. Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel as part of the CIA leak grand jury investigation, a federal inquiry "into the alleged unauthorized disclosure of a CIA employee's identity. On March 6, 2007, Libby was found guilty on four of the five counts with which he was charged: two counts of perjury, one of obstruction of justice, and one of making false statements to federal investigators. Libby's lawyers announced that he would seek a new trial, and, if that attempt fails, they will appeal Libby's conviction.

Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald "said he didn't expect anyone else to be charged in the case." He noted also that he had been unable to formulate charges against anyone else in the CIA leak grand jury investigation because of the obstruction of justice by Libby.

(Source: Wikipedia )

So, let's recap- Libby is a lifelong lawyer. He's a student of Wolfowitz, noted Neocon. He represented Marc Rich, whom Clinton pardoned, an act the Republicans have vilified Clinton for. He received several government awards, all while working both for the government and as a lawyer in private practice. He has ties to defense contractors. He was a founding member of the PNAC and a "vulcan" neocon. He has ties to several noted neocon mouthpieces, all who were in a rush to go to war with Iraq, all for reasons that have shifted several times in the past.

Has he done anything heroic? From what I gather, he is only considered a hero by the far right wing bush supporters currently because he obstructed justice, preventing Federal Investigators in further moving up the chain of command to who ordered the outing of a covert agent in order to punish Joe Wilson.

Now, onto Joe Wilson-

Wilson is a 1971 graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He worked as a carpenter for five years after graduation. He became more serious about his education, won a graduate fellowship and studied public administration, and, having become fluent in French as a teenager, he entered the Foreign Service in 1976.

Ambassador Wilson was a member of the U.S. Diplomatic Service from 1976 until 1998. His early assignments included Niamey, Niger, 1976-1978; Lome, Togo, 1978-79; the State Department Brueau of African Affairs, 1979-1981; and Pretoria, South Africa, 1981-1982.

In 1982, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Mission in Bujumbura, Burundi. In 1985-1986, he served in the offices of Senator Albert Gore and the House Majority Whip, Representative Thomas Foley, as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. He was Deputy Chief of Mission in Brazzaville, Congo, 1986-88, prior to his assignment to Baghdad.

Most notably, from 1988 to 1991, he was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. He was praised by George H. W. Bush after sheltering more than one hundred Americans at the embassy, despite Saddam Hussein's threats to execute anyone who refused to hand over foreigners. As a result, in 1990, he also became the last American diplomat to meet with Saddam Hussein.When Hussein sent a note to Wilson (along with other embassy heads in Iraq) threatening to execute anyone sheltering foreigners in Iraq, Wilson publicly repudiated the dictator by appearing at a press conference wearing a homemade noose around his neck and saying "If the choice is to allow American citizens to be taken hostage or to be executed, I will bring my own fucking rope," a flair for public appearance that has become a trademark of Wilson.

Ambassador Wilson was the Political Advisor to the Commander-in-Chief of United States Armed Forces, Europe, 1995-1997. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Gabonese Republic and to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe from 1992 to 1995.

Ambassador Wilson holds the Department of Distinguished Service Award, the Department of State Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards, the University of California, Santa Barbara Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the American Foreign Service Association William R. Rivkin Award. Additionally, he has been decorated as a Commander in the Order of the Equatorial Star by the Government of Gabon and as an Admiral in the El Paso Navy by the El Paso County Commissioners.

In late February of 2002, Wilson was sent to Niger on behalf of the CIA to investigate the possibility that Saddam Hussein had a deal to buy enriched uranium yellowcake. Wilson met with the current Ambassador, Owens-Kirkpatrick, at the embassy, and was informed that she had already debunked that story. However, they agreed Wilson would interview dozens of officials who had been in the Niger government when the deal had supposedly taken place. Wilson ultimately concluded "it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place."

The controversy surrounding Wilson began with President Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address on Jan.23, in which he stated that "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." In the July 6, 2003 issue of The New York Times, Wilson contributed an "Op-Ed" entitled "What I Didn't Find in Africa," in which he accuses the Bush administration of "exaggerating the Iraqi threat" in order to justify war. On Monday, 7 July 2003, the day after the publication of "What I Didn't Find in Africa," the Bush administation admitted "that accusations included in the president's State of the Union address have turned out to be inaccurate.

His wife was soon outed as a CIA covert operative by as yet un-named sources. Which led to Scooter Libby. And because of Libby's obstruction of justice in the investigation, we may not find out exactly who ordered Plame be exposed in order to punish Wilson for his outspoken rebuttal to the Bush war reasoning.


The media received this information in order to attempt to discredit Wilson by asserting that Wilson's wife gave him the job, which uh, and this is where the logic escapes me... How exactly is it bad to send the U.S. official with the MOST experience in Africa and Niger to Niger to investigate? It's not. And that is just the beginning of where the right wingers' story goes south.

But the right wingers assure us it wasn't for revenge or retaliation or anything like that. It was to expose Wilson's "Lies", of which there are no evidence that he has lied at all. And, speaking of lying, Libby was found guilty on four counts.

So, to recap on who is a Hero:

Joe Wilson- he personally Stood Saddam down IN BAGHDAD- on the eve on Desert Storm- While wearing a Noose around his neck and protecting hundreds of Americans who Saddam had threatened to kill. He was the last American diplomat to meet with Saddam.
(C'mon, even Caveman's got to admit, that's some John Wayne Ballsy shit, now, ain't it?)

He stood by his report that Iraq had NOT tried to buy uranium in Niger and that this Administration not only knew that, but ignored it anyway in their rush to get America to invade Iraq.

Lewis Libby - he personally outed a covert CIA operative (whose Specialty was WMD) to the press (under orders?) and then lied to federal officials to prevent anyone higher than him being implicated.

Libby: Hero- NO, Felon- YES.
Wilson: Hero- YES, Clown- NO.

And if you have a different take on it, feel free to comment.

UPDATE: Why Cheney lost it when Wilson spoke out


Frederick said...

Wow, that was allot to take in. Thanks for the effort you put into assembling this info. I'm tempted to work on the definitive laypersons explanation as to whether or not Mrs. Plame was under cover, seeing as there is so much spin in the press.

Fade said...

That's a great idea, Fred. With all these pundits spewing epithets and distractions, the bare facts get mired down. As my post illustrates, when faced with the simple facts, it's hard NOT to see the truth.

Caveman said...

Fade this Libby shit has bored me from the start..sorry not into leaker's and dumb asses dam you boys have a lot of time on your hands ..buhahahah...welp got to go and waterboard my neighbors cat

Fade said...

(chuckle) yeah, ya'll get "bored" fast when it shows your side is completely incompetent and corrupt.

Other things that bore Caveman:

Osama's current whereabouts
Constitutional rights
Terrorism on the rise due to Iraq Invasion
Our Troops