Saturday, July 24, 2004

More on Joe Wilson

More interesting links on the incredibly shrinking credibility of Joseph Wilson.

On Wednesday, former ambassador Wilson published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times in which he slams his critics:

For the last two weeks, I have been subjected — along with my wife, Valerie Plame — to a partisan Republican smear campaign. In right-wing blogs and on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and the National Review, I've been accused of being a liar and, worse, a traitor.

Tom Maguire at Just One Minute has been all over this story, and in this post he describes why he finds Wilson's defense rather less than convincing:

My goodness, he is awfully coy about his anonymous leaks to the media before he went public. Those leaks drove the public debate, and do not seem to have stood up to careful examination. Perhaps his memory betrayed him - he ought to re-read his own book, pages 330-332. Or re-read his chat with Vanity Fair. One wonders whether this is when Mr. Wilson acquired his familiarity with smear campaigns. Was he also orchestrated, or simply a one-man band?

In the New Republic, Martin Peretz lays into Wilson (and Sandy Berger):

I myself had wondered why the CIA had been so dumb--such dumbness is something to which we should have long ago become accustomed!--as to send a low-level diplomat to check on yellowcake sales from Niger to Iraq when it should have dispatched a real spook. Well, it turns out that a "real spook" had recommended him to her boss, that spook being Valerie Plame, who happens also to be Wilson's wife. He has long denied that she had anything to do with his going to Niger and that, alas, was a lie. It appears, in fact, that this is the sole reason he was sent. Still, in a lot of dining rooms where I am a guest here, there is outrage that someone in the vice president's office "outed" Ms. Plame, as though everybody in Georgetown hadn't already known she was under cover, so to speak.

Matthew Continetti, in an article for the Weekly Standard, has noted Wilson's proclivity to blame the media for the many factually challenged statements he has made to reporters over the last year:

OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS, ever since Ambassador Joseph Wilson's credibility was thrown into question by the Senate Select Committee's report on prewar Iraq intelligence, the ambassador has taken to the airwaves to defend himself. How do you respond, he's been asked, to charges that, in numerous conversations with reporters over the last year, you inflated your role in "debunking" foreign government intelligence reporting which suggested Saddam Hussein's Iraq sought uranium from Africa? And Wilson gave his answer. He blamed the reporters he had snookered only months before.

Thing is, the reporters don't seem to mind.

I can think of no better way to conclude than with liberal blogger Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler, who has ruthlessly dissected Wilson's statements in this post:

In our view, Wilson’s letters to the Committee and the Post are fake, evasive, insincere, misleading. Correctly, Getler burned Wilson’s Straw Men in his ombudsman column, and similar Straw Men littered the letter Wilson sent to the Committee itself. But here is the most amazing thing Wilson says in his “rebuttal” to the Committee. Take a seat. Strap yourselves in. Try to believe that he said it:

WILSON (letter to the Intelligence Committee): My article in the New York Times makes clear that I attributed to myself “a small role in the effort to verify information about Africa's suspected link to Iraq's nonconventional weapons programs.”...I went to great lengths to point out that mine was but one of three reports on the subject. I never claimed to have “debunked” the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa. I claimed only that the transaction described in the documents that turned out to be forgeries could not have occurred and did not occur.

Amazing, isn’t it? I never claimed to have “debunked” the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa! Readers, what has the last year been about if Wilson didn’t claim to debunk Bush’s claim?

Well, considering that the Butler Commission in the UK has reported that Bush's claim in the 2003 SOTU "was well-founded", and that even Wilson now admits he never "debunked" the president's comment, in my view we can safely say case closed on the "16 words".


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