July 21, 2004
THE JOE WILSON IMPLOSION: The Washington Post editorializes:
Mr. Wilson chose to emphasize the latter point, that no deal was likely -- but that does not negate the one Mr. Bush made in his speech, which was that Iraq was looking for bomb material. This suggests another caution: Some of those who now fairly condemn the administration's "slam-dunk" approach to judging the intelligence about Iraq risk making the same error themselves. The failure to find significant stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons or an active nuclear program in Iraq has caused some war opponents to claim that Iraq was never much to worry about. The Niger story indicates otherwise. Like the reporting of postwar weapons investigator David Kay, it suggests that Saddam Hussein never gave up his intention to develop weapons of mass destruction and continued clandestine programs he would have accelerated when U.N. sanctions were lifted. No, the evidence is not conclusive. But neither did President Bush invent it.
Then there's this story, with further problems for the "Bush Lied" claim:
An upcoming report will contain "a good deal of new information" backing up the Bush administration's contention that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass destruction, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, R-Va., said Tuesday.
The report will be out in September. Some people will question its timing.
And speaking of timing, this chronological post on Joe Wilson from David Adesnik is worth reading.
And, finally, Tom Maguire responds to Joe Wilson's latest attempt at rebutting his critics, which Maguire finds unpersuasive:
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?
Read the whole thing. And I love this observation from one of Tom's commenters:
This was an IQ test for the elite media (and others) -- and the scores have indicated that Johnny has "special needs" and can no longer be schooled with the rest of the kids. A little understanding of the world and 15 minutes with Google and a broadband connection, salted with at least some understanding of intel, sufficed to conclude that Wilson had little of interest to add (as the CIA apparently instantly concluded). That was BEFORE the Brits confirmed their confidence in the assessment and explained no forged documents were available to them in making it, and BEFORE various parliamentary groups took a look and pronounced the assessment reasonable.
As I've said before, the story never made sense even on its own terms.