They're still finding bone fragments from the dead on the tops of New York skyscrapers, and still the shrapnel of September 11th finds its way through the soft body of American life. Today it ripped the guts from the long public career of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, one of the highest officials in the Bush Administration, as a grand jury charged him in a cover-up involving the deliberate leak of a covert American operative's name in a callous act of political retribution.
But as Republicans cry of the politics of prosecution and the techicalities of perjury, the shadows of 9-11 hang all over this case - and all over the cases Patrick Fitzgerald may yet bring against the powerful. Thoses shadows remain because of group of Americans led by the Vice-President of the United States saw 9-11 not so much as a human tragedy, but as a political opportunity.
The heart of the case against Scooter Libby and Fitzgerald's ongoing investigation is the still beating heart of September 11, 2001 - a heart beat of sacrifice and liberty defended to so many Americans, perverted - utterly perverted - by a group of zealots and pretenders. Make no mistake: the killing machine of 9-11 is still stirring; the jet fuel is still burning, taking the mostly young lives of 2,000 Americans in Iraq - men and women who died because of a sleight of hand engineered by Richard Cheney and the White House Iraq Group.
This is an administration that has made its reputation on the reaction to terror, on defense, on security - yet it did not hesitate to destroy the career of a veteran CIA operative, nor an entire front company for a network of American spies. This is cowardice and treachery.
Led by Mr. Cheney, this Administration used the attack on New York and the Pentagon to launch an unecessary war against Iraq - an immoral adventure that seems to have no end and no purpose. Iraq has no connection to 9-11. No connection. It never has.
The chain looks like this: Cheney and his neo-con gang saw 9-11 as a means to an end; they acted. The United States acted. We told the world an untruth about WMD. And now we're in a sickening quagmire, bogged down by clotted blood and gore and lies. The Valerie Wilson case was about attacking a critic of the war, a critic of the lies; it's about the excuses - the cover-up was about protecting Mr. Cheney and the WHIG, a cover-up the entangled The New York Times - a former liberal bastion - in the web of deceit.
Still, the wind whistles along the valleys of lower Manhattan, the old buildings and the much older streets, laid down by the Dutch. On days like these, the dead speak in the autumn breeze.
Ten small pieces of bone were found down on Liberty Street, on the roof of the condemned Deustche Bank building - ten small remains of human beings, ten reminders of the hatred men bear toward one another. The fragments ranged in size from half an inch to two inches, some perhaps from a rib cage, and they were turned over to the medical examiner's office. Those fragments are linked to the grenade and IED fragments that have killed so many soldiers. They are linked to fragments of Scooter Libby's life and reputation.
And they are linked to the moral fragments of the Bush Administration - an administration that was perverted by 9-11, a perversion that gives victory to the haters who would see Americans dead, in flames, amidst the rubble.
Four years later. Down on Liberty Street.