|Joseph Wilson and revelations of CIA employees...
||[Jul. 12th, 2005|09:04 pm]
So, what exactly happened?|
Well, Joseph Wilson was raising a fuss. Check out the big column here:
His credibility, many people have claimed, is "shot". Why?
Well, for one thing, he claimed his wife had nothing to do with his getting an unpaid assignment to do some work to check things out for the government on a matter of national security.
But, see, *she recommended him*.
So, see, because she said something like "he'd do a bang-up job if you sent him", he was lying if he said she had nothing to do with it. Right?
I mean, even if he didn't know she made a specific recommendation, that's *still* a lie, right? If you say something you *think* is true, and you're wrong, that's called "lying", right? It's when you intentionally tell an untruth that you're "mistaken." Oh, wait, no, I have those backwards. He'd be *mistaken* if he didn't know she recommended him, and she did.
But frankly, whether he knew, or didn't know, the fact of the matter is, he could say she had nothing to do with it so long as he knew she didn't actually authorize the trip, and be a hell of a lot more honest than many of his detractors.
He went because he had the skills and the contacts needed to find out what he was asked to find out. The CIA approved of his mission, without his wife pulling any strings or asking for any exceptions to any rules. That's so damn close to "she had nothing to do with it" that anyone who wants to take issue with it is being petty. And people acting as if this was some kind of plush assignment has never met with dozens of people over 8 days, sweet mint tea or no. It was work, work he did for free, because he could do it to help out his country.
Now, what did he find? Go read the article. He basically found that Iraq couldn't have purchased yellowcake uranium, and didn't even have a chance to make a serious attempt to purchase it. The uranium is too tightly monitored and controlled. If Iraq had tried to buy uranium, it would have raised red flags all over.
Ah... but part of Wilson's report also indicated that Iraq *wanted to buy* uranium. If Niger was willing to sell (and they weren't; there were UN sanctions in place against Iraq, and they couldn't sneak any out), Iraq would have tried to buy some. Odds are, if they had, they would have been caught, and a bunch of prosecutions would have taken place.
Now, notice the wording I just used. "Iraq *wanted to buy* uranium. If Niger was willing to sell ... Iraq would have tried to buy some". In context, nothing is confusing about this. After all, buying uranium requires a way to avoid the Niger controls and the UN sanctions. Iraq couldn't just *buy* uranium; they would have to to *attempt* to buy it, and hope they actually ended up with it at the end of the day.
In short, it was truthful to say that "Iraq never tried to buy uranium from Niger". A person saying that can't be called a liar, unless they were trying to imply that Iraq *didn't want* uranium from Niger.
So, is Joseph Wilson's credibility shot? Well, apparently, in an interview, he referred to documents that are widely believed to be forgeries. He mentions them in his article, and says that he hasn't seen them. When asked about words he said in an interview, he admits he might have mis-spoken, and this is also used to impugn his credibility. Well, the only question I have is, did the interview occur *before* his article? Because if not, in the article, he was speaking as best as he knew about what he knew and what he didn't know.
Frankly, since the documents were suspected to be forgeries at the time he wrote his article, and because he didn't claim he had personal knowledge about them in the article, whatever he said *after* the article doesn't really matter. The question raised in the article is sufficient. Bush should have known that Iraq didn't try to buy uranium from Niger. He shouldn't have said that they did, no matter the source. Unless Wilson's report was discredited (presumably by secret sources that can't be revealed), his information was solid. Whatever Iraq wanted, they weren't going to be able to get it out of Niger. They might ask, and ask, and ask, but they're never going to get past the "can we buy some?" stage. Wilson's statements that they didn't ever "try to buy" some might be ambiguous, but it is truthful.
So, who is more credible? George W. Bush, or Joseph Wilson?
Well, Joseph Wilson said that Iraq was never trying to figure out how much money to give to what person in order to obtain what quantity of uranium. They might have been asking about it, but they were nowhere near the buying stage. This is factual, and well established, and hits bang on with all of the intelligence that they've collected.
Did you feel, after hearing Bush's "16 words" in his State of the Union speech that Iraq was asking people if they would please sell uranium and getting refused? Or did you get the feeling that Iraq was offering payments, and trying to figure out how to pick up "their" uranium?
Did George W. Bush provide an accurate assessment of the intelligence regarding Iraq and uranium purchases? Or did he, to quote the Brits, "sex it up" a little, making it sound a bit more dangerous than "Hey, can we have some uranium? Can we, huh, huh huh? Can we?"
I'm sure that I'm nothing but a purely partisan twit for saying this, and I'm sure it's my hatred of George W. Bush that makes me say it, but my money's on Wilson.
The fact of the matter is, every important thing he said, everything that raised red flags about the case for war, is true. People should not have thought Iraq was "trying to buy" uranium; they should have thought Iraq was *asking* about buying uranium. That would have given them a true picture of what we knew, and would have given people an honest chance to make a decision about whether war was justified or not.