04/10/2006 01:13 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Fitzgerald, Bush, and the Public Trust

It's always been about accountability. The problems with this administration are always about accountability. Their defenders, like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity want us to forget when no weapons of mass destruction are found in Iraq. They say, "Why look at the past, we have to look at the future." Republicans are always looking to the future because the past is riddled with incompetence and failure. Failure to find weapons, failure to send enough troops, failure to hold fair elections1. "What's done is done," they say. "We have to move forward."

But the problem is that they have not been held accountable. And now, two years into the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity, with millions of dollars spent on investigating this serious breach of public trust, after reporter Judy Miller spends 80 days in jail, after George W. Bush promises to reckon with anyone in his administration responsible for the leak, we're told George Bush is actually responsible for the leak after all.

So why have the investigation? Why this egregious irresponsible use of tax money from an administration so adamant about tax cuts? If the information was declassified and the president authorized it, what were we investigating? This administration is so used to not being held accountable that it means nothing to them to waste millions of tax payer dollars investigating a leak that they knew all along was their own.

And what else did they know? Well, it seems they knew there was no attempt by Saddam to buy uranium in Niger. But that didn't stop them from including it in the state of the union. Or from going after an administration critic for spreading information they knew to be true, from selectively declassifying information for purely political reasons.

Hey, that was years ago, we should move forward right? Why are we all so hung up on this coverup that happened so long ago? Because the administration needs to be accountable. Because thousands have died in a war that was based on false pretenses. And we are not moving forward, and we are not making progress, and Iraq is a mess, the biggest mess imaginable. The public trust is broken. And we will never be able to fix the damage until officials, particularly the president, show accountability for what they've done. Our failure to hold our politicians accountable is exactly what has led to the current state of things, to corrupt officials like Tom DeLay and Bob Ney, to the disastrous planning and execution of the war in Iraq and the billions wasted on companies with no-bid contracts there. To hold an investigation into a coverup knowing all along where it was coming from and who was responsible. One can only shake one's head at the boldness, the gall, the absence of principles or conscience. To stall the truth at the taxpayers expense. To finally not care about the truth at all as if truth was not an ideal, not a value, but a nuisance, something that gets in the way of the greater good.

If there are no consequences then they will never stop lying to us and the results will be more deaths, like the thousands of American soldiers in Iraq that have died as a result of this administrations shady relationship with the truth.


1. Here I'm referring to Florida in 2000 and not the elections in Iraq


Stephen Elliott is the author of Looking Forward To It, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The American Political Process