By Carol Devine-Molin
American society is in the throes of an obsession with Iraq. What's at the root of it? The circumstances in Iraq – and the overall "war on terror" - elicit profound fear and uncertainty, which are the key elements of the zeitgeist of the early 21st century. The events of 9/11 represented a pivotal reality check that catapulted us into this new era.
In our heart of hearts, we understand that we're facing an existential threat that could decimate multitudes. Sure, our troops in warzones are exceedingly vulnerable. However, in a free and open society such as ours, we civilians are vulnerable as well. That's the nature of terrorism. We could conceivably be hit anytime, anywhere, by virtually any means, from random shootings to a nuclear strike. Understandably, most people are worried about the future – about their children, about themselves, about the nation and the world at large. Americans wonder if we can successfully survive the current onslaught from radical Islam in its "cosmic struggle for world domination", to borrow a phrase from scholar Bernard Lewis. Moreover, in this clash of civilization, Americans are beginning to wake up to the fact that our traditional allies, the Europeans, will ultimately succumb to the domination of Islam by the sheer power of demographics. Simply put, the Muslim immigrants in Europe are having many children, while the Europeans are having few.
As an aside, those of the political Far Left seem to cope especially poorly with fear, which overwhelms them. Somehow, denying the real peril and dwelling almost exclusively on "phantom threats" such global warming and capitalism are much more emotionally manageable for them. They feed their own grandiosity when insisting they're tackling the real issues – the critical issues – of our time. And what of nuclear proliferation, Islamo-fascism and terrorism? For them, it's just the paranoia of "neocons". But, hey, that's why the out-of-touch Left has been appropriately dubbed the "Kook Fringe".
To continue, messages on Iraq are constantly coming down the transom from both new media and mainstream media sources, which, in turn, are impacting our national psyche. Understandably, "Iraq Fever" is displayed in the halls of Congress (floating a new "slow bleed" bill), among 2008 presidential candidates, and on the various news outlets. However, this past week, the subject of Iraq manifested in both popular culture (the movie 300) and the legal system with the Scooter Libby verdict.
Regarding the newly released movie, 300, frankly, I'm amazed that it was even made by the Left-leaning entertainment industry since it's a salute to the power of freedom and a bold pre-emptive strike against tyranny. Sound familiar? One can't help thinking of President Bush. Moreover, there are eerie parallels between this ancient episode from approximately 2500 years ago and the 2003 Iraq War circumstances – For instance, both leaders were politically hamstrung by others who were bribed by a tyrant. Leonides had his corrupt mystics running the Oracle, Bush has his UN bureaucrats. 300 is wonderful movie, based upon an episode from antiquity during the Greco-Persian Wars – the Battle at Thermopylae – that came to us by way of the historian Herodotus. I was already familiar with, and intrigued by, the episode before seeing the movie: On the History Channel a few years back, military historian Victor Davis Hanson relayed the inspiring tale of Spartan King Leonides and 300 of his best warriors who take on Xerxes, the Persian God-King who demands homage, and his thousands of troops that greatly outnumbered the Spartans.
But the movie really fleshes it out: The Spartans were clearly magnificent, tenacious and freedom loving, besides being the best trained warriors in the world of that era. As strategized by Leonides, the battle took place at a narrow mountain pass near a cliff. No doubt, it was fictionalized to some degree, but the essential story remained intact. The Spartan's didn't mince words, and it's thrilling to hear Leonides call his men into action, with the shout, "This is Sparta!" Great narrative, spectacular visuals – Go see it.
Regarding Scooter Libby, yes, he was convicted of Obstructing Justice and Perjury this week. But any thinking person realizes there was a great miscarriage of justice here. How can you obstruct justice and lie about a crime that didn't exist! Valerie Plame's status did not meet the legal criteria of a covert agent. And the so-called "leaker" that identified Plame as CIA was former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who advised the FBI of such. That begs the question: Then why did Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald pursue an investigation when the FBI already settled the pertinent issues?
That's the big problem with these Special Prosecutors: Once they're appointed, they question and prod until they get some type of discrepancy. A faulty memory should not be the basis of a prosecution. Moreover, assigning a Special Prosecutor to any case is akin to placing a rabid dog in a room filled with people. You just know somebody is going to get bit. Furthermore, Special Prosecutors are under pressure to justify the extensive work and associated costs on these cases that are in the limelight. And what about their egos? These high profile cases that produce "results" are a notable asset to their careers. Perhaps Mr. Fitzgerald is considering a political career? And what about the jury? Was an inner city liberal jury in play that wasn't going to cut a conservative Republican any slack? Yes, juries can be biased. And did Fitzgerald play to that bias as exhibited by some of his statements? Some think yes.
As to Mr. Libby's convictions, the public should understand that the legal system provides you with the opportunity to seek justice, but it does not guarantee justice. Whether it's a civil or criminal matter, all trials are essentially a crap-shoot. The verdict can go either way, depending on a variety of factors including the venue, the jury and the skillfulness of the attorneys involved. Given the circumstances, I certainly believe that President Bush should pardon Scooter Libby. Moreover, the Justice Department should be investigating the abuses of Special Prosecutors, including those of Fitzgerald.
However, even though the political Left would have you believe otherwise, this trial had nothing to do with WMD or the Iraq War. Joe Wilson was already shown to be a liar – His assessment that there was no evidence of "uranium shopping" in Africa on the part of Iraq was demonstratively false. Both British and American authorities determined otherwise, so President Bush was indeed telling the truth in his State of the Union message, despite Wilson's attempt to discredit Bush on the uranium matter. Moreover, Wilson lied when he said that his wife had nothing to do with his assignment to the Niger mission. In fact, Valerie Plame floated her husband's name (recommended him), although others at the CIA made the decision. Clearly, Vice President Cheney had nothing to do with sending Wilson to Niger, although Wilson tried to imply that was so.
Even liberal elites came to the conclusion that Joe Wilson was liar. Here is an excerpt from the Washington Post editorial, hardly a conservative mouthpiece: "Nevertheless, it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame's CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush's closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously."
The facts are evident: The Bush administration has been victimized here, not Joe Wilson or his wife Valerie Plame. Conservatives are maligned and prosecuted because of political beliefs. We Conservatives must fight back, and expose Leftist abusers and smear-artists at every opportunity.
Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.