And so it ends, not with a bang but a whimper. A federal judge has dismissed Valerie Plame's lawsuit against the Bush Administration. And why not? I dismissed the entire Plame melodrama as a non-issue ages ago.
Plame's civil suit was clarifying in a way that Fitzgerald's criminal investigation was not, in that it cut right to the core of the supposed root cause of the non-crime: an imaginary conspiracy to deliberately "punish" Plame and Wilson by wantonly blowing her cover for no other reason than petty revenge for an Op-Ed they didn't like.
The fact that there was no evidence whatsoever for this conspiracy didn't prevent the nutroots from accepting it as established fact -- almost as an article of faith. That's why they were so disappointed on Fitzmas morning when there was nothing in their stocking other than a peripherally related perjury charge by a bit player. They seethed because "the bastards got away with it," sprung on a technicality of the IIPA act, while the underlying conspiracy remained unpunished.
But the underlying conspiracy was all in their heads, and that's why conservatives understand that Bush Derangement Syndrome is a serious problem. It's not because we're unquestioningly adoring of the 43rd president, but rather because we're nervous about living in a society in which a significant percentage of the population throws all logic out the window on matters related to this administration.
Seriously. Here's another example of how BDS is a real problem. Just yesterday, I saw this video on the site of a fellow blogger who's a very familiar acquaintance of mine. It's a very funny, cleverly spliced and edited ad for the South China Morning Post. It depicts a bumbling, stumbling, idiotic President Bush at a press conference, desperately consulting the SCMP on his laptop so he can answer a difficult question.
The video was very obviously a heavily edited joke, but the blogger in question (who shall remain nameless) presented it as accurate. For the record, this blogger is an extremely intelligent person who is no stranger to critical thinking and skepticism. Nevertheless, she suffers from a severe case of BDS, and as a result she shuts down all critical thought when it comes to examining a piece of anti-Bush information, no matter how obviously spurious it is (and you really should watch the video to see what I'm talking about.)
Similarly, this whole Plamegate "scandal" is nothing more than a manifestation of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Is it possible that there was a willful conspiracy to deliberate imperil a secret agent by wantonly publishing her secret identity? Yes. But absent any evidence of such a conspiracy, there's no reason to believe it took place. Particularly when there are much simpler explanations available -- you know, Occam's Razor and all.
Here's the Occam's Razor narrative, as far as I'm concerned.
- Joe Wilson publishes an Op-Ed in the New York Times that's very critical of the Bush Administration, while strongly implying that he was sent on his fact-finding mission about Saddam's attempted uranium purchase by the vice president.
- Various journalists, who realize this makes no sense, start asking questions of the administration. "Why did you send this guy?" they (understandably) ask.
- "Well, we didn't. Despite his claims to the contrary."
- "Well... then who did?"
- "His wife works for the CIA on proliferation matters. I'm guessing that has something to do with it."
And that's it, as far as I'm concerned. Dick Armitage was already cleared of outing a covert agent, because he had no idea Plame was covert to begin with. If someone believes there's something more sinister at work, fine. Let them present evidence to that effect. Until then, they can STFU, and consult a therapist who specialized in BDS.