The Can Opener

Saturday, October 29, 2005 6:58 AM

It ain't over by a long shot. The indictment of Irving Libby, Esq., Vice President Dick Cheney's majordomo, is the opening gambit. Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, his associates and the FBI know, or at least strongly suspect, that there is a conspiracy inside the White House. There has to be. There is no other logical explanation. Why else would Columbia Law graduate Irv Libby go far, far out on a legal limb and do what Fitzgerald is charging him with doing, perjury and obstruction of justice? It makes no sense.

I keep coming back to the question of "why?". What is the motive? Not just here, but with respect to the larger question of the Iraq war, to which this indictment is directly connected. We are not talking about  making a killing in the stock market. This is not a question of bribery, burglary or corporate larceny. Why would Libby lie? He must be afraid of something, and therefore covering up. (Just like N.Y. Times "reporter" Judith Miller spent 85 days in jail, covering for something or someone.) Libby must be trying to hide his own malfeasance, and/or the malfeasance of his immediate superiors--Dick Cheney and G.W. Bush--to which Irv was a party.

Ex-White House counselor Patrick Buchanan regards Fitzgerald's focus and the indictment as narrow, and therefore limited. It is narrow, all right, in the same way the heal of Achilles was small. Fitzgerald's indictment is the can opener to a can of worms. Irv Libby, the chief of staff to the de facto President of the United States, Dick Cheney, and a graduate of Andover, Yale and Columbia, the protégé of Paul Wolfowitz, and the former lawyer for billionaire Israeli fraudster Marc Rich, is not the type of Washington "neoconservative" luminary who is likely to be agreeable to rot in a federal penitentiary for years while his "Team Bush" co-conspirators go their merry way.

In short, it is preposterous to regard Irv Libby as some kind of rogue elephant in this affair. "Team Bush" was all in on it, meaning the fraudulent enterprise of Iraq and the conspiracy to sell that fraud to Congress and to the American  public at large. Hence, the Valerie Plame affair. It is all part of the same conspiracy. Irv has been nailed for perjury, which was his foolish attempt to keep a lid on the scandal. His criminal attorney will advise Irv to squeal to lighten up his jail sentence, if Irv is convicted. It is either that, or Irv toughs it out, and gets pardoned at the end of the day by a grateful, impeached or unimpeached G.W. Bush, just prior to Bush taking the long plane ride to the backwash of Crawford, Texas.