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ISSUE 119 VOL 8 PUBLISHED 11/11/2005

Bush needs to take a stand

By Maura De Chant
Contributing Writer

Friday, November 11, 2005

I’m beginning to feel like a broken record. Since Hurricane Katrina devastated the American southeast and blew the lid off President Bush’s insulated inner circle, the White House has not gotten a single thing right.

Amid allegations that cronyism placed the ridiculously under-qualified Michael Brown in charge of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Bush nominated a woman with little experience in constitutional law for the Supreme Court simply because she was loyal to him. After all, what is more important in a Supreme Court justice than overwhelming adoration for the head of the executive branch?

Harriet Miers’ withdrawal just so happened to coincide with the indictment of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a high ranking member of Vice President Dick Cheney’s cabal. In addition to having a nickname better suited to a middle schooler, Libby is the Darth Vader to Cheney’s Emperor. Libby was one of the biggest proponents of regime change in Iraq. Moreover, Libby wielded enormous influence over the decision to invade that country.

Libby is accused of lying about leaking the name of a CIA operative. Shortly after former Ambassador Joseph Wilson publicly decried the administration’s “evidence” concerning Iraq’s weapons program in 2003, his wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA operative.

Libby originally claimed that reporters told him Plame worked for the CIA, but it has since been revealed that he may have been lying. Although Libby pleaded not guilty to the charges, he resigned from his position as Cheney’s chief of staff.

The investigation concerning the leak has revealed some troubling features of the Bush White House. If Libby did indeed reveal Valerie Plame’s name to reporters in an attempt to discredit her husband, it raises more than a few questions about the honor and integrity of President Bush’s closest confidants, not to mention their stunning disdain for human decency.

Striking back at a political opponent by destroying his wife’s livelihood is disgusting at best. Those involved in the leak ruined a woman’s career for revenge. Bush needs to come out strongly against this astonishingly dirty political play, and not hope that the nation will soon forget.

In the wake of these revelations, President Bush faced a choice: He could publicly denounce the cabal, take responsibility for the lapses in judgment which occurred on his watch, fire those who participated in the leak and start over with a new dedication to actually getting things done; or he could ignore everything. He chose the latter.

Despite the Miers trainwreck, Bush nominated a staunch conservative to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Although Judge Alito Jr. is at least qualified to serve, President Bush completely disregarded the advice given to him by Hill Democrats, which he had promised to consider. He barely acknowledged Libby’s indictment, and he retained Michael Brown to examine FEMA’s failures during Katrina. Keeping “Brownie” around to determine how FEMA failed is ludicrous.

With Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney embroiled in the leak investigation, Bush has been wandering like a kid in a supermarket. Rather than directly addressing his failures, he has apparently decided that if he hides long enough, the country will forget about everything. President Bush is dead-set against “cutting and running” in Iraq, but at home he is doing exactly that.

It is time for him to make the necessary changes in his staff, speak out strongly against those who leaked Plame’s identity, and finally begin to lead this country. While appointing a new vice president obviously is not feasible, Bush must show some backbone to his staff, from Cheney down to Brown.

Staff writer Maura DeChant is a junior from West Bend, Wis. She majors in history and in English.

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