In the last couple of days, we have learned that George W. Bush authorized the Valerie Plame leak. Scooter Libby has alleged this, and yesterday the White House refused to challenge the allegation. What does this mean? For starters, it means that when a president talks about security, it should give us pause when 13 million of his fellow citizens live below the poverty line. It should give us pause when thousands of poor African-Americans were stranded on the now literal island of poverty in a sea of prosperity, emphasized by the SUV's pouring, then turtling across the bridges in a fullblown upper-middle class exodus from the unnatural disaster catalyzed by "natural forces."
After 9/11 cynical conservative American politicians cried out that the twin towers were a reminder that the number one priority of the president of the United States is the security of the American people. Of course, their Project for a New American Century envisioned a kind of anemic security based on steady military spending and expansion of American corporate interests abroad. Though W. and Co.'s betrayal of the full meaning of security is evidenced by the Katrina disaster, it is even more morally repugnant to see that they are more than willing to flout the protocol of their own (military) national security for partisan political ends, revealing the identity of a CIA agent in order to punish her husband for criticizing the administration's claims about WMD's in Iraq before the war (for critical discussions of this issue [surely to be perceived "liberal" by some readers] see here, here, here, and here; for a conservative take see this and this). Still, there's something strange to this that smells of a more elaborate strategem. Are they really that stupid? Did they really think that it would not come out that they had authorized the leak? They're cynical and hypocritical, but they do what they do well (spin, distract, cover tracks, avoid accountability). In any case, this post is about the hypocrisy of an administration that has built its image around security. Whose security? Whose freedom? And at what cost to whom. These are eternally the questions.