Monday, October 31, 2005

"Did The Mules Get Out?"

"Miners frequently complained that company mules were treated far better than their human counterparts. Years after cave-ins or mine explosions, miners' anecdotes recount the first words of the coal operators when a mine collapsed: did the mules get out?"

—Wikipedia, The Ludlow Massacre

I spent the late evening and early morning hours one weeknight not long ago talking on the telephone to a friend of MojoWire, whom we believe is either retired from one of the various American intelligence services, or retired from a service that works closely with agencies that employ non-official cover operatives. We're not sure which service, and frankly we hope we never find out.

Our friend is deeply— let me reiterate that for effect, deeply— angry about the public posturing of the Bush administration and its apologists in reaction to the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby on five separate criminal charges related to the cover-up of who mishandled the classified identity of Valerie Wilson, destroyed her career as a non-official cover operative of the CIA's counter-proliferation division, and burned her front company and its entire network of contacts. The phrase I kept hearing come over the wire from our friend was pretty stark: "They're telling us that we're not even worth as much as a three-dollar crack-whore."

This is, of course, a step down— again, in our friend's view— from where they stood when Reagan was willing to trade a missile battery or a squadron of helicopters to get them back.

Now, apparently, our President and his senior officials are willing to spend them for nothing more than a bit of domestic political payback. I have to admit, if I had been in the line of work that many of Valerie Wilson's associates did— who are now either dead, in prison or living lives of quiet desperation in some suburb somewhere waiting for the man in the black turtleneck to show up with silenced pistol— the righteousness of my pissed-offness would legendary.

(To be fair, I have to admit my still considerable pissed-offness is probably not as righteous as our friend's, principally because I lack the requisite personal technical experience to comprehend fully the deepness and hardness of the extent to which Libby and whoever else was involved has screwed the people who do have it.)

I am, of course, reminded of the quote from Wikipedia that introduced this article. Deep in my cynical, obsidian, ultimately very civilian heart, my reaction to our friend's troubles is to say, "You're just now noticing that when the mine collapses, the first thing the boss wants to know is whether you got the mules out?"

That's too flip, though. Our friend is the one I blame for giving me the following axiom:
Patriotism is the delta between what you got paid and what your services were worth on the open market.

And now, I suspect there are a lot of people like our friend— people with training in some very black arts, who have been employed to do questionable things for patriotic ends— who are watching how the civilian governing elites in America are managing the Valerie Wilson affair, and they are thinking that their services are apparently not worth very much on the open market anymore.

Yes, the CPD will have to close out all its accounts with Brewster Jennings, but DID WE STOP JOE WILSON FROM MAKING TROUBLE OVER THOSE FORGERIES FROM NIGER?!???

I mean, come on fellas— what could have been the worst that could have happened if you had done the right thing and kept Valerie Wilson's classified identity protected? Do you really want to continue trying to tell us that it was necessary to disclose her identity so that Americans would get the message that Joe Wilson only went to Niger because it was a boondoggle set up by his CIA wife?

Because that is such obvious bullshit.

Here's what we all know was really on the table, and I'm going to say it because no one else will: the administration desperately needed to discredit Joe Wilson to prevent the possibility of an investigation of how the Niger forgeries were inserted into the policy making process that led to the Iraq War. Why? Because somebody— or several somebodies— were up to their necks in a conspiracy to pass those forgeries off as genuine, and if Joe Wilson wasn't discredited, then somebody would have to be held accountable for that.

Has anybody been held accountable? No. Has there been any substantial effort to investigate that matter? No. Is there any effort underway now to find out who was responsible and hold them accountable? No.

Looks like it's working so far...

Rather than allowing whoever was responsible for the pushing the Niger forgeries to be held accountable and do the time for their crime, the administration burned a CIA operative in a demented scheme to cover it up. You fsckers burned Valerie Wilson's entire network just so you wouldn't have to go to Federal prison.

Come on, guys. It's not like the Federal pen is anywhere near as hardcore as a state prison. You probably would have been able to cut a deal and stay in jail only a few years.

Oh, no— you are clearly saying— that would have been more than you could be asked to sacrifice for your country— contrasted with what you feel completely comfortable asking people like our friend on the telephone Valerie Wilson's burned network to sacrifice for your country.
Patriotism is the delta between what you got paid and what your services were worth on the open market.

"Did the mules get out?"

1 comment:

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