The whole point of Bushism is to punish dissidence within the ranks immediately and ruthlessly. Wilson, a former State Department official, had to be destroyed for having stepped out of line. Everyone should remember that when former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill decided to come out with a tell-all memoir about being in the Bush cabinet for a year, he proclaimed, "I'm old, I'm rich, and there is nothing they can do to me" (or words to that effect). Then all of a sudden the Bush administration was finding signs of classified documents in O'Neill's book, implicitly threatening him with spending the rest of his life in jail for having revealed government secrets. O'Neill feebly protested that he had not had access to classified documents. But all of a sudden he disappeared from the airwaves. He had discovered that there were, too, things that could be done to him. He must have been astonished that the Bushes of Kennebunkport would behave like Vladimir Putin. Everyone always underestimates the malevolence of the Bushes of Connecticut.
So in the hothouse atmosphere of the White House in 2003, when the awful truth was dawning that there was no WMD in Iraq, Rove, Libby, W. and the big Bruce huddled together with others in the administration to think how to discredit Wilson. They care only about image, not substance. It didn't matter to them that Wilson had been proved right. In their world, you only lose if the public sees the truth. The mere discovery of the truth in some obscure quarter is irrelevant. They had to prevent the public from seeing Wilson's truth.
I have long been frustrated by the US press's tendency to talk about Bush's cabinet officers as though they were independent agents, and to put Bush on a pedestal. Let me just follow through on some further assertions in the spirit of Stephanopoulos's remark.
It is fruitless to speculate about who dissolved the Iraqi army in May of 2003, and why. (This move contributed to the rise of the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement). Bush did it!
Who ordered the Marines, against their better judgement, to launch a reprisal attack on Fallujah after four Western private security guards were killed and their bodies desecrated there? Bush did it!.
Who authorized torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib? Bush did it!
Who appointed Michael Brown, a man with no experience in emergency management, head of FEMA? Bush did it!
Who let Bin Laden escape from Tora Bora? Bush did it!
Who completely destroyed the fiscal health of the US government and forced us into massive debt, squandering Clinton's surplus and endangering social security? Bush did it!.
Bush is the president. He makes the decisions. If there has been a major bad decision, it has been his.
Who outed Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA operative? Bush did it!
Amen and fuckin' A, brother.