This morning Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle spoke--with characteristic understatement born of caution, not wit--about "a disturbing pattern of conduct by the people around President Bush." They are attacking good, honest American citizens simply for stating the facts about issues important to our nation. It bothers Tom (but I hope it doesn't surprise him) that
*Larry Lindsay was fired as the President's Economic Advisor because he spoke honestly
about the costs of the Iraq War; that
*General Shinseki, the Army's top general, was targeted when he spoke honestly about the number of troops that would be needed in Iraq; that
*U.S. Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers
was suspended from her job when she disclosed budget problems that make our nation's parks are less safe; that
*Professor Elizabeth Blackburn was replaced on the Council on Bioethics because of her fair and balanced scientific views on stem-cell research; that
*Richard Foster, an actuary for the Dept. of Health and Human Services, was told he would be fired if he told Congress and the American people the real costs of last year's Medicare bill; that
*Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, when he stepped forward to criticize the Bush Administration's Iraq policy, was ridiculed and then made the victim of a spurious government investigation to see if he improperly disclosed classified documents. "He was, of course, exonerated," Daschle reminds us, "but the message was clear. If you speak freely,
there will be consequences."
The most heinous example of this "disturbing pattern of conduct by the people around President Bush" crosses the boundry of the realm of odious dirty tricks into that of High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Daschle relates what we all likely have heard once at least, but must never forget: that
"Ambassador Joseph Wilson....who by all accounts served bravely under President Bush in the early 1990s, felt a responsibility to speak out on President Bush's false State of the Union statement on Niger and uranium; but when he did...[his] wife was the target of a despicable act. Her identity as a deep-cover CIA agent was revealed to Bob Novak, a syndicated columnist, and was printed in newspapers around the country." Otherwise-subtle Daschle adds significantly that: "That was the first time in our history that ... the identity...of a CIA agent was disclosed for purely political purposes."