Faith in Wilson

Conventional wisdom holds that those on the Left are not people of faith. However, recent evidence suggests that some hold a deep and abiding faith resting securely on a foundation of anti-Bush animosity and sustained by a zeal to suspend sensible skepticism.

In 2003, former ambassador Joseph Wilson wrote a NY Times op-ed piece accusing the President of lying about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. In particular, he said that the president’s statement that, “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” was false. How did Wilson know? According to Wilson, he was sent to Niger to investigate Vice-President Cheney’s concerns about Iraqi attempts to make a uranium purchase and found no such evidence.

Evidence since then unequivocally demonstrates that Wilson was prevaricating from the beginning. Independent assessments have determined that Bush was not lying but relaying his best intelligence. Moreover, Wilson was not directly sent at the behest of the Vice-President. The choice of Wilson was a pedestrian case of nepotism. Despite venomous denials by Wilson, the 9/11 Commission Report concluded that he was sent on his trip to Niger based on his wife’s recommendation. Further, the 9/11 Commission Report concluded that Wilson’s oral trip report actually buttressed the assumption that Iraq was seeking nuclear material.

While the White House was rebutting Wilson’s now demonstrably false claims, reporter Robert Novak wrote that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA. Wilson and the Left erupted in a joyful noise claiming that the White House was illegally leaking the name of a covert agent to punish Wilson’s wife as a way to get at Wilson. David Corn of the Left-wing Nation proclaimed the incident “A White House Smear” designed “to strike at a Bush administration critic and intimidate others?” The more mainstream Time Magazine asked if the White House rebuttals of Wilson’s claims constituted a “A War on Wilson?”

For legal purposes, Valerie Plame was not a covert agent, so the release of her name was not a crime. While the Left had argued that the release of Plame’s name were orchestrated by the Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, Newsweek reports what has been rumored from some time: Richard Armitage leaked Plame’s name. Armitage has now publicly admitted his role. Armitage was Colin Powell’s number two man at the Department of State who is not a political operative and not particularly supportive of the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy. Armitage was apparently a gossip who spoke a little too cavalierly, if truthfully.

Even the Washington Post has finally realized “that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame’s CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming — falsely, as it turned out — that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials.”

The entire episode also reflects poorly on Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counselor appointed to determine who leaked the information. He knew the identity of the leaker the near outset of the investigation. He should have summarily ended the now rather pathetic affair.

One does not expect much from the Nation so their attack on the administration can be dismissed as partisan wishful thinking. It is more shameful that the mainstream press credulously, even eagerly, swallowed the Wilson story without the encompassing skepticism they usually muster. The truth is they wanted the Bush Administration and Karl Rove, in particular, to be caught in a scandal. Scandals, especially Republican ones, are so fun. The entire Plame story played so seamlessly into the narrative that Karl Rove is an evil political genius, and Joseph Wilson is the sort of suave operator so popular at Washington parties that the charges just had to be true.

The only thing that remains is the civil suit that Wilsons’ are bringing against members of the Bush Administration. It will be amusing to hear how the Wilson’s were harmed by the release of Plame’s name. We should all be so fortunate to be forced to accept a $2.5 million book advance in lieu of a government job.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.