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Commentary: Bush support declines; investigate leak

Public support for the Bush administration continues to decline. The deceptions by Bush are clearly in focus. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein did not import uranium oxide from Niger. Iraq had no ties with Osama bin Laden...

Public support for the Bush administration continues to decline. The deceptions by Bush are clearly in focus. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein did not import uranium oxide from Niger. Iraq had no ties with Osama bin Laden and thereby could not be implicated in the 9/11 bombings. There were no Iraqi trailers producing biological weapons (anthrax or small pox). There were so many lies that any statements now emanating from the White House are suspect.

Bush instigated a pre-emptive attack on Iraq which is illegal under international law. He eschewed world opinion and our partners in the United Nations as he acted unilaterally. America and Americans are more likely now to be exposed to terrorist attacks here as well as in their travels abroad.

Bush has underplayed the massive killings of civilians in Iraq by suggesting that the U.S. attacks were done with precision bombings. Bush has tried to cut the costs of warfare on the backs of those doing the fighting and by reducing the benefits of veterans of other wars. The economy is in a shambles, and 43 million people have no health insurance. There are huge transfers of tax dollars to the wealthy and to his corporate supporters.

Furthermore, Bush is pushing vigorously for oil exploration in the pristine Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.

Bush currently has more serious problems with which to deal. In response to Bush's statement that Niger had been sending uranium oxide to Saddam Hussein, former ambassador, Joseph Wilson, went to Niger to consult with government officials there who would know the truth of Bush's assertion. On his return to the United States, Wilson wrote an op/ed article for the NY Times questioning Bush's veracity in continuing to support the Niger-uranium connection. It seems that key members of the Bush administration became incensed at Wilson's audacity and leaked the name of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, a CIA agent, to Robert Novak, a syndicated columnist. Novak outed Plame in a syndicated column on July 14, identifying her as a CIA analyst. Novak said that his informants were two senior administrative officials.

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This is a clear violation of federal law. Conviction could result in a 10 year prison sentence. It has potentially serious repercussions for Plame as well as for her covert contacts. She can no longer perform her CIA functions as an agent. Pundits aver that the move by the White House officials was intended as punishment for Wilson's Times article.

According to William Rivers Pitt, Plame listed Brewster Jennings and Associates on her W-2 form as her employer. This was a CIA front company and probably was the front company for other CIA agents. Pitts suggests that their covers have also been blown. Serious stuff.

The issue now is the determination of who will investigate this imbroglio. Outing a CIA agent translates into an act of treason. Therefore, the appointment of a special investigator is absolutely required. According to the Washington Post, seven out 10 Americans believe a special prosecutor should be named.

John Dean, convicted conspirator in Nixon's Watergate dilemma, suggests that Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame should file a civil law suit. This will allow them to subpoena witnesses who will be required to give sworn testimony, according to Dean.

However, Bush is asking for Ashcroft's Justice Department to do the investigation. Given the long history of the buddy-buddy relationship between Bush and Ashcroft, having Ashcroft heading up the inquiry would be tantamount to the fox guarding the hen house.

The Bush administration seems to be imploding as a result its focus on power rather than on humanitarian issues that might improve the quality of life for his constituents and for our world. His lies and distortions will eventually lead to his downfall.

Iver Bogen is professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

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