First, Mickey Kaus takes down the speaking style (and content) of HRC:
Is Hillary Clinton ever electric? I deny it. Her speaking style is controlled and insistent--at best, strong--and her substance quotient hovers close to zero. Expectations of electricity are expectations that will be disappointed. ...Next up is the great Hitchens, with another valuable history lesson. This time Hitch takes us all the way back to 1982, when the Left was up in arms about the unconstitutional Intelligence Identities Protection Act, then lays down a devestating indictment of the whole Plame fiasco:
...The Left...loves Hillary so much it could conceivably be bought off with a bit of Bush-bashing that covers a dramatic Hillary shift to the right. But it's now also clear that her shift to the right doesn't have to be that dramatic, because the equally Cheap Date press is ready to interpret even the subtlest, most insubstantial shading as part of Hillary's New Moderation. She can get credit for centrism without having to actually take too many positions that the left would disagree with (and hold against any another politician). Paleoliberals can love her, the DLC can love her, and she never has to say anything, either leftish or moderatish, that commits her publicly to a position that might annoy someone. Her primal drive for vagueness is free to trump her drive to the center.The only problem is that the resulting biteless rhetoric is almost totally uninspiring.
Now observe the operation of this law in practice. A fairly senior CIA female bureaucrat, not involved in risky activity in the field, proposes her own husband for a mission to Niger, on the very CIA-sounding grounds that he enjoys good relations with the highly venal government there, and in particular with its Ministry of Mines. This government, according to unrefuted intelligence-gathering from British and other European intelligence agencies, is covertly discussing sanctions-breaking sales of its uranium to a number of outlaw regimes, including that of Saddam Hussein. The husband, who has since falsely denied being recommended by his wife, revisits his "good contacts" in Niger for a brief trip and issues them a clean bill. The CIA in general is institutionally committed against the policy of regime change in Iraq. It has also catastrophically failed the country in respect of defense against suicidal attack. ("I wonder," Tenet told former Sen. David Boren on the very first news of 9/11, "if it has anything to do with this guy taking pilot training." Wow, what a good guess, if a touch late. The CIA had failed entirely to act after the FBI detained Zacarias Moussaoui in Minnesota in August.)Wow...that's strong stuff, indeed.
...Who is endangering national security here? The man who calls attention to a covert CIA hand in the argument, or the man who blithely says that uranium deals with psychopathic regimes are not in train when they probably are? And we cannot even debate this without the risk that those who are seeking the true story will end up before a grand jury, or behind bars!
Contrast the moral and intellectual clarity of Hitchens with Rep. John Conyers, Huff'n'Puff hack and shameless self-promoter, who calls the affair 'Treasongate'. That's a mighty big accusation - one I would expect from the Kossacks, but not from an elected representative of the United States. If Karl Rove is not indicted - i.e., if the Special Prosecutor concludes there is no proof that he willing exposed the identity of an overcover CIA asset, as he almost assuredly will conclude - will Conyers resign for accusing Karl Rove of treason, the most despicable crime in American politics? I intend to follow up on this one...
UPDATE 07/27/05 6:33 a.m. central: Thanks to the Blogging Caesar for including this in his always-excellent daily roundup, and to Leon H at Red State for the link, as well...