The Iraq War Runs Through It

Beyond the Miller-Libby game: People died

Although the grand jury's term expires on October 28, Fitzgerald could extend it if he needs more time to finish up and possibly prepare indictments. The current speculation—and that's all there is, since the prosecutor has been extraordinarily tight-lipped—is that he will finish on time.

Under the surface of this case, there has been a good deal of debate by commentators and columnists over whether the investigation has made a proverbial mountain out of a molehill.

Those who subscribe to the molehill theory contend that the press and senior Washington officials exchange tittle-tattle and trash talk all the time as mutual users of each other, pursuing their very different jobs. This molehill crowd points out that classified information is also frequently discussed, since much that is marked secret in Washington is merely embarrassing and has nothing to do with intelligence or national security.

Powell's 'blot' at the U.N. in '03. He's flanked by George Tenet and John Negroponte.
photo: www.whitehouse.gov Webcast
Powell's 'blot' at the U.N. in '03. He's flanked by George Tenet and John Negroponte.

But the mountain crowd says that since the leaked information is a direct outgrowth of all the untruths the Bush administration told to scare and con the public into supporting the war, then, at heart if not legally, the case is really about abuse of power by the executive branch.

This debate is for coffee shops. What I find fascinating is that we're about to learn what happens when you bamboozle the public with empty words and false image—instead of trusting them with the truth, or something close to it. So then it becomes a game wrapped in a hoax—and the only goal is to get elected, not do what's good for the country.

And with a war, lots of people die. There's got to be some penalty for "leaders" who play that game—perhaps something more than a permanent blot on their record.

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