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Tuesday, July 03, 2007
(11:04 AM) | Stephen:
The Backstory

Josh Marshall has a good post about the issue behind the Libby conviction, namely the intentional outing of a covert CIA agent and purposeful compromise of an unknown number of operations, agents and US sources in order to get back at Joe Wilson.

One thing Josh wrote really stood out to me:
There's a tendency, even among too many people of good faith and good politics, to shy away from asserting and admitting this simple fact because Wilson has either gone on too many TV shows or preened too much in some photo shoot.
This is, of course, part and parcel with the obsession of the Beltway elite's focus upon image, upon civility over honesty and flowery language over ethics. But it triggered another thought, one that I can't necessarily say flows directly from this statement, but was nonetheless inspired by it.

First, take a look at a photo of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame-Wilson:

Two things stand out here: Valerie Plame-Wilson is beautiful, and she is a woman. And in this culture it is far easier to demonize a woman than a man. Far easier to assume that she just couldn't have been working on anything really important. Far easier to dismiss her concerns and those of anyone around her, especially her husband and especially if he looks older than her or not of the same level of physical beauty. Joe Wilson isn't ugly, but he doesn't fit what we are conditioned to assume is a level of looks consummate with Valerie Plame-Wilson.

I'm not suggesting that Bush, Rove and Cheney discussed Plame-Wilson's gender and how that makes it easier to target her and get away with it. People who not only accept a culture's stereotypes but actively work to protect them rarely give any thought to how arbitrary they are or how much they have benefited from them. But if the positions in the Plame-Wilson relationship were reversed, I doubt the strategy would have even come up. Oh, they would have found some way to get back at an "Ambassador Plame-Wilson" who publicly showed the lies surrounding the Iraq War buildup; as I said, it's just too easy to target women in this culture. But they would have chosen another direction.

After all, "CIA Agent Joe Wilson" would have been working on things far too important to mess with.

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