VALERIE PLAME, THE PRESIDENT, AND THE FOREIGN RELATIONS COUNCIL

It was about 1998 when I was sitting by the hospital bed of a favorite, albeit conservative cousin, with my brother at my side, that I first heard of the Council on Foreign Relations. My conservative cousin (who’d just suffered a stroke) as well as my slightly less conservative brother insisted that no one could be elected president in this country without the approval of that council.

Recently I watched for a second time the story of Valerie Plame, her husband, Joe Wilson, and the whole cast of characters in the George W. Bush administration, including Vice President Dick Cheney and his assistant, Scooter Libby, in the movie, Fair Game. Even after following events as they unfolded on the news and watching the movie twice, I was still shocked that Mr. Libby, found guilty of lying to investigators and obstructing an investigation into the lead-up to the Iraq War, was let off with a comparative slap on the wrist. If his behavior was not directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis in the Iraq War, it contributed substantially to them. His bosses, Vice President Cheney and President Bush made sympathetic noises when he was convicted and acknowledged him as a good soldier who fell on his sword rather than betray his bosses.

As a result of Mr. Libby’s collusion in the disclosure of Valerie Plame’s identity as an undercover CIA agent, her value as an agent was lost, and the people she worked with were exposed to severe punishments, even death, in their native countries  by her exposure.

By now the reader is probably wondering, “Why am I telling you all this? This is long past; let bygones be bygones as President Obama counseled after he took office.”

The reason I’m bringing this up again is that I wonder if we might not be reaping some of the rotten fruits of those 2002 to 2007 events. Like many progressives, I’m having my doubts about a president I campaigned and voted for and saw as welcome relief after twenty years (yes, including President Bill Clinton) of conservative administrations. I taped a small bumper sticker inside the back window of my car that said: “Prosecute George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, and others for crimes they committed in office,” or words to that effect.

When President Obama said that he didn’t want to deal with past problems but wanted to look to the future, I said to myself, “I guess that makes sense,” but I wasn’t convinced. I thought of those poor (literally and figuratively poor) guys who were sent to prison for life for stealing their third pack of cigarettes, and who must have been thinking, “Hey, could we choose up sides again? Scooter contributes to the deaths of thousands and costs the country billions, and he gets thirty days in jail. I steal a total of less than ten dollars and I get sent away for life?”

Then I asked myself, “What do I know?” and tried to let it go. It was the ten to one offer to conservatives over the deficit, proposed by this president that brought back my questions. It was also an article a friend sent me from the Lexington Herald Leader, titled, “Obama Acts as a GOP ‘Trojan Horse,’” that made me wonder even more.

Stay with me now. Here’s how the Council on Foreign Relations figures into my suspicious and devious mind: I asked myself, “What if my conservative cousin and brother were right when they said no one could be elected president of the United States without approval by the Council. I don’t know that they were but lets say they were for the sake of argument) and what if candidate Obama was told by members of the Council that they would support his candidacy only if he vowed not to prosecute members of the previous administration?”

Far-fetched? maybe, but more far-fetched than the events that led up to the war in Iraq and the declaration of a War on Terrorism that has continued for more than a decade and has contributed to the possible bankruptcy of this country? More far fetched than the false story about yellow cake nuclear material imported from Niger and aluminum tubes that could not support their supposed use? I don’t think so.

Come to think of it, is the supposition of such a conversation of candidate Obama with members of the Foreign Relations Council more far-fetched than Democratic President Obama, who ran on a platform of restoring the American Dream of equality and a fairer distribution of the country’s wealth, proposing a ten part cut in services to the middle class and poor to a one part increase in taxes on the wealthy?

It was also an article a friend sent me from the Lexington Herald Leader, titled, “Obama Acts as a GOP ‘Trojan Horse,’” that made me wonder even more.

Stay with me now. Here’s how the Council on Foreign Relations figures into my suspicious and devious mind: I asked myself, “What if my conservative cousin and brother were right when they said no one could be elected president of the United States without approval by the Council. (I don’t know that they were but lets say they were for the sake of argument) and what if candidate Obama was told by members of the Council that they would support his candidacy only if he vowed not to prosecute members of the previous administration?”

Far-fetched? Maybe, but any more far-fetched than the events that led up to the war in Iraq and the declaration of a War on Terrorism that has continued for more than a decade and has contributed to the possible bankruptcy of this country? More far fetched than the false story about yellow cake nuclear material imported from Niger and aluminum tubes that could not support their supposed use? I don’t think so.

Come to think of it, is the supposition of such a conversation of candidate Obama with members of the Foreign Relations Council more far-fetched than Democratic President Obama, who ran on a platform of restoring the American Dream of equality and a fairer distribution of the country’s wealth, proposing a ten part cut in services to the middle class and poor to a one part increase in taxes on the wealthy?

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