THE BLOG
02/21/2007 03:55 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Libby's Defense: He Forgot Events that Never Happened, and a Tearful Sob.

OK, under oath, I admit it. I forget many things, from cell phones to birthdays to non-Euclidean geometry, and, mostly, peoples' names, but I have muddled through life with the confidence that, on balance, I remember enough. Now, however, I am worried, my confidence is shaken. Why? Because the Libby trial has clued me into the strong possibility there may be, in fact must be, myriads of moments that never occurred that I also may have forgotten.

Could that be what the White House meant when it told us that they have not failed to capture bin Laden, it is actually a success that has not occurred? Take me off the list of skeptics, and add me to the list of those who are just plain forgetful. [I cannot square that with the urgent need for $10.8B for Afghanistan, but the Libby defense convinced me that my lapsed memory of bin Laden's capture is the better answer].

Libby claimed he heard about Valerie Plame from a slew of reporters, many of whom testified that they did not discuss Plame with him. Libby's lawyers now say that he "misrecollected", this war's counterpart to Vietnam's Ron Zeigler's "misspoke", rather than lied. (Is "misrecollection" a necessary precursor to "misspeaking"? Only William Safire would know for sure).

In order for non-occurrences to be forgotten, they must also be capable of being remembered. Ron Zeigler (Nixon's press secretary) showed decades ago it can be done. Asked whether the US was secretly bombing Cambodia, Zeigler said: "The President is aware of the situation in SE Asia. That is not to say that there IS a situation in SE Asia".

There you have it. Zeigler recalled a situation in SE Asia that might not have existed! And, before you take out your anger on your monitors, let us be clear (Nixon made things "perfectly clear"): Zeigler was not lying, he just misspoke himself.

Here are some other memorable, but forgotten, non-occurrences: i) the military will not be over-extended; ii) Iraqi oil will pay for its own reconstruction; iii) Iraq has WMD, and I (Cheney) know where they are because I have intelligence others do not have; iv) some member of the Bush family volunteered for Iraq; v) the insurgency is in its last throes; vi) the US does not condone torture; and, vii) so on...

The Libby Defense Team's claim that he misrecalled hearing statements that were never made is, therefore, entirely plausible. The judge should give the following jury instruction: "If you find that he misrecalled statements that were never made, then as a matter of law, he could only be capable of misspeaking himself."

Summing up the prosecution's case at the Nuremberg trials, Robert Jackson (Supreme Ct Justice, former attorney general, and Chief Prosecutor at Nuremberg), said this: "If you were to say of these men (Nazi leaders) that they are not guilty, it would be as true to say that there has been no war, there are no slain, there has been no crime."

The Nazi attitude was that any story that succeeded was the truth. Libby, along with Cheney, Bush and Rove, were determined to prop up their story so its success would be deemed to be the truth. Their own paranoia produced the opposite result.

At the end, Libby's lawyer talked about what a fine man Libby is, with a wife and two children. Then, he sobbed.

Those tears are better saved for other peoples' children whose lives and limbs lay strewn in the Iraqi desert because Scooter Libby and his boss misspoke about the need and the wisdom for their sacrifices.