David Corn has a good summary of the closing arguments that were given today in the Scooter Libby perjury trial: Final Arguments about Scooter, Cheney & Truth.
The case has been fairly interesting for me, mainly because of the way it tears aside a lot of the bullshit and presents a reasonably clear view of what was going on inside the Bush White House during the spring of 2003. There haven’t really been huge revelations; certainly not if you were paying attention at the time. But getting the facts out into the light is an important step. It will be nice if some similar light-of-day treatment can come from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into pre-war intelligence on Iraq, but I guess I won’t hold my breath for that.
One thing in particular that has struck me is the self-righteous zeal Cheney’s office displayed in refuting Wilson’s “lie” (in quotes because I suspect it wasn’t an actual lie, but instead was merely a mistake on Wilson’s part) that the trip to Niger had been specifically instigated by Cheney’s office, and that Wilson’s negative findings must certainly have made their way back to Cheney’s desk. What an irony: The habitual liar (Cheney), for once actually having the truth on his side (that he hadn’t explicitly sent Wilson on the fact-finding mission), but prevented by national security considerations from going public with the information about Wilson’s wife. But of course, as we all now know, Cheney didn’t let concerns about national security stop him; he used intermediaries to leak her identity far and wide, until Novak bit and made the information public.
The raw, festering dishonesty that is at the heart of the Bush presidency comes from Cheney’s office. Bush himself is a liar, sure, and deserves to be held accountable for the crimes committed in his name. But Cheney is the Moriarty, the evil genius, the cynical spider at the heart of the web. Fitzgerald’s closing argument reiterated the government’s case that Libby committed perjury in order to protect himself, and while I guess that makes for a simpler storyline, I think the reality is darker than that. Libby lied to protect Cheney. He lied to obscure Cheney’s role in orchestrating the response to Wilson’s charges, and beyond that, to obscure Cheney’s role in making the original dishonest case for war.
They fight the light each step of the way, but eventually the light will win, at least for those willing to look. History will not be kind to these people.