From the editor

From the Editor

I told myself this issue’s note from the editor wouldn’t mention the US president. Even we at the Earth Island Journal do get tired of paying attention to bad news, after all: I planned to take one of the many small-scale victories that have happened over the last few months and draw it into a metaphor for the larger, hopeful trends that we like to emphasize where possible.

But this weekend, just two days before we were due to send the Journal off to the printer, a rather remarkable story broke. By the time you read this, it may have blossomed into a major scandal - or it may have just barely surfaced for a few days, to be replaced in the official public consciousness by celebrity gossip or the results of the California recall (as if there were a difference between the two as far as the major media are concerned).

The story involves the notorious Niger yellowcake that wasn’t there. Before the State of the Union address in which George W. Bush alleged that Saddam Hussein had attempted to buy uranium ore from Niger for use in weapons of mass destruction, the administration sent State Department veteran Joseph C. Wilson IV to Niger to investigate. Wilson found no evidence of such a sale; in the State of the Union, Bush went ahead and made the allegation anyway.

Wilson, peeved that his investigations were ignored, called the ethics of the Bush administration into question over its approach to war with Iraq.

Apparently as a result - the details here are still sketchy - senior White House officials called a number of journalists to inform them that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plume, was a CIA operative. Conservative journalist Robert Novak ran with the story in July. As we go to press, speculation is rife among some online media sources as to the identity of the officials: Karl Rove, Ari Fleischer, Andrew Card, and Dick Cheney have been mentioned as possible sources for the leak.

Regardless of your opinions about either the CIA or the war with Iraq - and we’re fans of neither - it’s hard to argue with the notion that charges of treason might reasonably be brought against someone who leaks the identity of a CIA staff member, endangering her life and the lives of anyone who’s worked with her. And to commit such an act as revenge for a perceived political offense is especially chilling. We’re increasingly used to corporations (or politicians) who look no further into the future than the next quarter (or poll cycle). But is the Bush administration really so insanely short-sighted that it’d risk a scandal worse than Watergate to get revenge over a PR gaffe? And if so, what does that short-sightedness say about the administration’s ability to protect air and water quality, biodiversity, or the climate for future generations?

Thanks, Adam
Speaking of those future generations, we’re sorry to report that we’ve had to say goodbye to Adam Spangler, our intern these last few months, who’s back to school in Florida. Working here ain’t nearly as much fun without him, but he promises to write a few stories for us when he gets a chance.

I told myself this issue’s note from the editor wouldn’t mention the US president. Even we at the Earth Island Journal do get tired of paying attention to bad news, after all: I planned to take one of the many small-scale victories that have happened over the last few months and draw it into a metaphor for the larger, hopeful trends that we like to emphasize where possible.

But this weekend, just two days before we were due to send the Journal off to the printer, a rather remarkable story broke. By the time you read this, it may have blossomed into a major scandal - or it may have just barely surfaced for a few days, to be replaced in the official public consciousness by celebrity gossip or the results of the California recall (as if there were a difference between the two as far as the major media are concerned).

The story involves the notorious Niger yellowcake that wasn’t there. Before the State of the Union address in which George W. Bush alleged that Saddam Hussein had attempted to buy uranium ore from Niger for use in weapons of mass destruction, the administration sent State Department veteran Joseph C. Wilson IV to Niger to investigate. Wilson found no evidence of such a sale; in the State of the Union, Bush went ahead and made the allegation anyway.

Wilson, peeved that his investigations were ignored, called the ethics of the Bush administration into question over its approach to war with Iraq.

Apparently as a result - the details here are still sketchy - senior White House officials called a number of journalists to inform them that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plume, was a CIA operative. Conservative journalist Robert Novak ran with the story in July. As we go to press, speculation is rife among some online media sources as to the identity of the officials: Karl Rove, Ari Fleischer, Andrew Card, and Dick Cheney have been mentioned as possible sources for the leak.

Regardless of your opinions about either the CIA or the war with Iraq - and we’re fans of neither - it’s hard to argue with the notion that charges of treason might reasonably be brought against someone who leaks the identity of a CIA staff member, endangering her life and the lives of anyone who’s worked with her. And to commit such an act as revenge for a perceived political offense is especially chilling. We’re increasingly used to corporations (or politicians) who look no further into the future than the next quarter (or poll cycle). But is the Bush administration really so insanely short-sighted that it’d risk a scandal worse than Watergate to get revenge over a PR gaffe? And if so, what does that short-sightedness say about the administration’s ability to protect air and water quality, biodiversity, or the climate for future generations?

Thanks, Adam
Speaking of those future generations, we’re sorry to report that we’ve had to say goodbye to Adam Spangler, our intern these last few months, who’s back to school in Florida. Working here ain’t nearly as much fun without him, but he promises to write a few stories for us when he gets a chance.

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