Friday, September 30, 2005

Out of Jail

I expect you're as relieved as I am, Bush, to see New York Times reporter Judith Miller freed from jail today. What an embarrassment! In a free and democratic America, to have a news reporter in jail for something that she never even wrote! What a mockery! So much for freedom of speech! So much for the right of a journalist to protect her source! What could the rest of the world be thinking, when we preach one thing so pompously, then turn around and violate our precious principle ourselves? What would your people be saying about China, say, if they treated a journalist this way?

That said, I have to admit I'm puzzled by the conflicting stories here. Miller asserts that she never received "a personal, explicit statement" from her source, allowing her to name him in testimony. Attorneys for the source himself, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, your Cheney's Chief of Staff, claim that he "signed a waiver more than a year ago." The fact that Miller didn't get the message was, they claimed, a "misunderstanding."

You know what, Bush? I find it incredibly hard to believe that this smart, articulate, word-savvy woman, whose life's work has been the art and business of communication, would spend eighty-five days of her precious time in jail because she failed to understand a clear and unconditional statement of release. And even if this smart, articulate, word-savvy woman had indeed been so obtuse, on this occasion, as to misunderstand his waiver, why in God's name would this Scooter stand by and allow her to spend all that time in jail when he knew very well, if it was true, that he had released her from her obligation to protect him as her source, and that she had "misunderstood" him? What a gentleman! And what, knowing the circumstances, would have prevented him at any time along the way--including the time before her being sent to prison--from picking up the phone and saying, "Hi, Judith. This is Scooter. Remember me? Well, I release you." Or sitting down with her over a cup of coffee? Or dropping her a hand-signed note?

So you see how this thing might seem to me to stink a bit, Bush. And how I might be asking myself what your people might be getting out of this journalist being held in jail for so long. The intimidation of other journalists? Petty vengeance, either against Miller personally, for her honest reporting on Iraq or against the New York Times? The hope that the whole disgraceful episode--the gratuitous outing of a CIA agent, with all its national security ramifications, in order to punish her husband for exposing your administration's lies--would in time disappear from the public consciousness, or lose its political value to those who oppose your policies and practices? Or, perhaps worst of all, was it just the sheer habit of abusing power?

Well, the truth is, I can't fathom it, Bush. I'm glad for Miller's sake that she's out of jail; and I hope that you will take the trouble to demand an explanation for the entire episode. But I'm not holding my breath. If I were in your shoes, I'd be screaming at these people for an explanation for embarrassing me this way.


dennis said...

What I learned is that Miller was a staunch supporter of Bush. Also, that have the office disliked her. for what, bringing her politics to the job
Might have been in Vanity Fair, don't remember.

dennis said...

correction,,,,,,That's - half the office - not have the office.

dennis said...

Oh yes, she, supposedly, got unusual preferential treatment as a journalist covering Irag. Stayed in Chalabi's (sp?) mansion instead of with the rest of the newspeople and some other inside stuff. Could it be? that The bushleague buys the news, like reported on, If this is true, I don't sympathize with her jail sentence.

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