Jonah Goldberg

Sure, "Scooter" Libby might go to jail. His career is in tatters, his life a shambles. Even Denis Collins, the omnipresent juror-journalist, says he and his peers feel sympathy for Libby, the "fall guy" in this whole spectacle. But really, who is the real victim?

Joe and Valerie, of course.

"The golden couple targeted by White House machine," as described by one British paper, have had to put up with so much. There's no need to dwell on the hardships faced by former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV: that arduous junket to Niger helped along by his wife, Valerie Plame; the endless cups of sweet mint tea he had to drink; the awkwardness that his findings, as briefed to the CIA, supported President Bush's famous "16 words" although Wilson said the exact opposite on the New York Times Op-Ed page and in 12 trillion television studios.

A man of less mettle might grow frustrated with the effrontery of the Washington Post calling him a liar, a blowhard and the real destroyer of his wife's career. Simply because it's true hardly justifies stepping on his story line. Don't they know he's the author of a book, "The Politics of Truth," and a winner of awards for his self-proclaimed courage for "speaking truth to power"? Why should a bipartisan Senate intelligence report cataloging his dishonesty and distortions stand against a man with such important hair?

The Great Dissenter's burden doesn't end there. Joe wanted to appear on equal footing, as befits his stature, with Katie Couric on "Today." Instead he was stuck in D.C., and his "one chance to sit face to face with America's sweetheart" was dashed. And it must have been those cheap partisans who forced the ambassador to sell himself to the John Kerry campaign, to call for the frog-marching of Karl Rove, to call Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol a "drunk." Joe's a statesman, darn it!

Then there's our gal Val. Oh, the price she's paid. Almost every night, the ex-CIA officer has to see file footage of herself in that stunning white gown and those tiresome pictures of her and Joe posing in their Jaguar for Vanity Fair. CNN ran a segment comparing her to James Bond and Mata Hari. The comparison wasn't perfect, CNN said: "Mata Hari supposedly blew a kiss to the firing squad that executed her. Valerie Plame seems more inclined to kiss her husband." It's right about that. Plame told Vanity Fair she spilled the beans about her CIA status after her third - or fourth! - makeout session with Joe "The Animal" Wilson. Thank goodness al-Qaida doesn't read Vanity Fair. Not only would they find out what Plame looks like, they might discover Joe's remarkable interrogation technique.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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