One of the most notorious events in political history is Watergate, which most of the world recognizes as a period where American democracy was more at risk than any other before or after. Ever since the burglary [followed by months of hearings and impeachment proceedings], almost every Washington scandal has been christened “gate” in its honor. The suffix expressly magnifies a poisonous classification – toxic enough to bring down any government or president.
But oft forgotten are the tentacles of Watergate – how the Republican Party was determined to win at any cost, commit treason to delay an end of the Vietnam War so they could eke out a narrow victory in the 1968 election, and use the CIA and other federal agencies to damage unions and Democrats.
Not only was Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” part of the course-change that affects the political climate to this day, but the precedents of war ruses, burglaries, and the use of “dirty tricks.” Karl Rove is only the latest example of crooked Republican operatives. The recently released recording of Lyndon Johnson reveals Nixon’s high treason – four years preceding Watergate.
In 1972 burglars hired by the Committee to Re-Elect the President (Nixon) broke into the Democratic Headquarters at Watergate. But the break-in was only the tip of the iceberg, we were later informed, of the Republican Party’s plan to rig elections. Nixon’s plot was to eliminate potential Democratic rivals who stood any chance of defeating him.
The “election” of George W. Bush in 2000 is a progeny of Richard Nixon’s, and coincidentally several of the old characters remained to carry on the dirty trick tradition. Sandra Day O’Connor expressed regret this year for her Bush v. Gore vote.
Less than a month after stealing the 2000 election and three weeks before GW Bush’s inauguration, burglars hired by Republicans broke into the Niger Embassy in Rome. This “gate” has not received the attention it deserves, because the whole Iraq invasion relied on this single event. Bush’s neocons were busy creating pretexts for war, and this burglary was key.
Not only was the break-in reminiscent of Watergate, but it was conducted in similar fashion – to steal government stationery and seals to forge a letter from the nation of Niger to Saddam Hussein in order to claim Iraq was building nuclear weapons. No valuables were taken from the embassy that night – no artifacts, no jewelry, no cash. Just official paper and seals.
If the Niger burglary would have been investigated like Watergate by vigilant Woodward and Bernsteins, perhaps Bush would have been seen airlifted off the White House lawn like Nixon in ‘74. But the burglary was never crowned “Embassygate” or “Nigergate,” thus GWB survived to drag the nation into endless war and economic ruin rivaling the Great Depression.
Of course, the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame and the trashing of her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, will be remembered for Wilson’s NYT exposure of Bush’s deliberate lies leading to war. The couple became “fair game” in Rove’s book of dirty tricks – a heritage stemming from the Republican Party’s love affair with Nixon.
But the Valerie Plame scandal is also a product of “Embassygate” where burglars broke into the Niger Embassy nine months prior to 9/11. Without the January 2001 burglary there would have been no Iraq War, no outing of CIA operative, no 16-word State of the Union lie, and no 2008 crash.
The George W. Bush Library opened this week in Dallas. Naturally, Bush supporters are trying to spin a revisionist history of his 8-years in office, especially focusing on the WMD that were never found.
But the timeline of history reveals Bush-Cheney-Rove-Rumsfeld lied deliberately and repeatedly to force America into invading Iraq, and they did so even before stealing the 2000 election. The timeline is most telling.
The embassy burglary was one smoking gun, and the other was the Downing Street Memo (Minutes) of July 23, 2002. British Intelligence Officials personally visited the White House a few days earlier and conveyed what they learned to Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The memo quotes the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) reporting what George W. Bush told him – that he wanted to remove Hussein through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD but that the intelligence and facts were “being fixed around the policy” to justify war. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw followed up by stating it was clear that Bush had “made up his mind” to go to war but that “the case was thin.” So WMD would have to be brought into the equation as leverage.
In other words, it was all fabricated.
Bush’s thinly disguised attempt at revising his record with his new $500 million library is an all-out assault on truth. Rachel Maddow reports how the library’s interactive videos attempt to mislead visitors into believing Bush’s decision to invade Iraq was justified.
The party of burglars, the party of dirty tricks, the party of wars, the party of depressions – cannot spin itself a fresh face. History will record the party as the most destructive force to the nation it purportedly loves. Republican leaders obstruct all that is good while promoting the bad. America cannot progress as it has in the last century unless it divorces itself from Republican encumbrance.