December 16, 2010
I suppose it was inevitable that the movie Fair Game would be controversial in some way. What I took to be a move primarily about the effects on Valerie Plame’s marriage and life of her being ‘outed’ as a covert CIA operative, is, according to the director, Doug Liman, is “about the President of the United States lying to the American people, and what happened to the people that challenged him”. This from an article at CJR.org in response to an editorial in the Wall Street Journal by Judith Miller (a journalist who was herself caught up in reporting the issues of the case at the time.) Both articles are worth reading for anyone interested in the history, but they are also examples of the polemic that is so divisive in the US at the moment where any deviance from a party line (on either end of the political spectrum) gets a vigorous party line response. I would not accuse President Bush of lying to the American people in the sense of some personal and morally culpable choice. At the same time, and however it came about, a lie was told which was a critical part of the argument that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and so part of the case for American engaging in a war of aggression, the costs of which we will be paying for generations to come. (Serious question: Is that, as I believe, an indisputable statement of fact? Or is that somehow a political statement, meaning someone would not like it said?)
Fast forward to the kind of rhetoric around President Obama’s ‘tax deal’. While I do not understand the logic of being both against the deficit, AND against any ending of temporary tax cuts for people earning over $250,000 per year AND supporting the costs of two wars, I do get that letting some temporary tax cuts go a little longer in exchange for the continuation of unemployment benefits is worth doing. There are too many people hurting right now to play games with their lives for a principle. I’m pro-pragmatism.