• "Who had so badly served the president? Who Valerie [Plame] was and what she did, or who I was and what I did, were merely the administration's means of obfuscating the real issue and confusing the public. The White House was trying to fling dust into the eyes of the press and public while descending into what a Republican staffer on the Hill later called a 'slime-and-defend' mode." Former ambassador Joe Wilson, "The Politics of Truth," April 2004
• "What did President Bush know about the Valerie Plame leak, and when did he know it? Is it possible that he and Vice President Cheney, along with most of Bush's inner circle, could have known about this plot to exact retribution on Ambassador Wilson at the expense of national security? Is it possible that President Bush or Vice President Cheney could have been involved themselves?" Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter, July 22, 2005
• "Cheney aide Libby is indicted," Washington Post headline, Oct. 29, 2005
• "If [President Bush] leaked the name, you could be hung for that! That's treason! You could be killed! They shoot you on the battlefield for that!" Hollywood luminary and future Democratic nominee for President Ben Affleck, April 7, 2006
• "As most of us have long suspected, the man who told Novak about Valerie Plame was Richard Armitage, Colin Powell's deputy at the State Department and, with his boss, an assiduous underminer of the president's war policy. Armitage identified himself to Colin Powell as Novak's source before the Fitzgerald inquiry had even been set on foot. The whole thing could -- and should -- have ended right there." Columnist Christopher Hitchens, Aug. 29, 2006
• "Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush's closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously." Washington Post editorial, Sept. 1, 2006
Unfortunate? Perhaps. But for whom?
Valerie Plame has a book deal with Simon & Schuster estimated to be worth seven figures. Joe Wilson saw his memoirs (cited above) skyrocket to the top on a number of bestseller lists. And the two of them are sought-after guests at elitist Washington cocktail/Bush-bash parties.
Wilson's reputation is mud, but a bad reputation beats none at all, which is what he had prior to launching himself into the national political debate with his string of lies.
Colin Powell, ostensible friend and erstwhile ally to President Bush, should have come forward to stop this madness if he had maintained an ounce of integrity and any sense of loyalty. Instead, he sat back and watched this sordid saga play out. Why? His reasons are known only to himself.
Richard Armitage, Powell's No. 2 in the State Department and close friend, is silent. He, too, could have come to the aid of Bush, Cheney and Karl Rove, who have been implicated in this pack of lies. And he could have prevented Lewis Libby's indictment had he simply spoken up. He didn't. Look for his book to hit the stands any day.
No. Certainly none of these participants was damaged by this non-scandal. Who, then, lost?
Scooter Libby, of course, has lost everything, both in terms of his reputation and in the pocketbook. Not to mention the fact that his career has been forever destroyed.
The president and his closest allies have been damaged, to be sure, by "Plamegate," as was intended by those in the media and in the Democratic Party who plotted for it to be so.
But the big losers in this condemnable affair? Besides all those journalists and editorialists who really don't care? Us, for having been taken in by this pack of lies and liars.