Saturday, July 10, 2004

Well! Here's Something Very Interesting, And Covered in The Washington Post, No Less (p.s.: Joseph Wilson Is A Liar, Or At Least A Terrific Fudger)


LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE. Remember this man? He's Joseph Wilson, a diplomat and partisan Democrat whom the Bush Administration somehow allowed to get into a position to issue a lot of very damaging information about Iraq's efforts to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger. Earlier this year Wilson was all over the talk shows, bashing Bush. The new media eagerly lapped it up.

Mr. Wilson is now a documented liar. As this Washington Post article rather delicately states:

"Wilson's assertions -- both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information -- were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report."

I tried to find other excerpts from the article to post here, but I simply can't do justice to it. The article is short and compelling; you simply have to read it. And-- I must admit-- I ask myself: If even the Washington Post reports something this damning to the anti-Bush movement, isn't it probably even worse than the Post reports it?

I have to shake my head as I think about this, and about how Joe Wilson was the toast of Washington back when he was spinning his story. Many intelligent people were eager to believe him.

Still, I can see him getting a spot in a Kerry adminstration. A hat tip to Power Line for this story.

FOR THOSE WHO WILL WANT TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT

I know many of a liberal persuasion are going to want to change the subject and talk about the rest of the Senate Committee's report. You can find the whole report right here. WARNING: It's over 400 pages long. The summary of the committee's findings is much shorter and you can find it here.

I will stipulate that it sure looks like the CIA served the country very poorly and did a shoddy, inexcusable job. Had they done a better job I wonder if we would have gone to war with Iraq when we did (although that war may well have been inevitable).

But, but, but . . . the big issue many liberals will want to talk about is whether the Bush administration pressured the CIA to make the findings it made. The committee report finds no evidence of that. Indeed, the second page of the report says:

"The committee found no evidence that the [intelligence community's] mischaracterization or exaggeration of weapons of mass destruction capabilities was the result of political pressure."

Plain as day, isn't it? This sentence was agreed to, unanimously, by the members of the Senate committee, including every Democrat. Some of the Democrats are already claiming that they don't think that sentence means what it says. (If you want to point that language out to your Democrat friends, it is page 2 of this document.)

But "no evidence" means "no evidence." It can mean nothing else.

Predictably, Republicans are saying it's all the CIA's fault, and there was no pressure; and Democrats are saying there must have been pressure. This will be the "issue of the week" for a few days at least.

But again, "no evidence" means "no evidence."

How do we approach this issue? The 9/11 Commission said there was no evidence of Iraqi-Al Quaeda collaboration in attacks against the USA. (There was evidence of contacts and some sort of relationship, but that's all still murky.) I believe that any argument must be supported by evidence. (I'm a lawyer, I can't help it.) So until there is evidence to the contrary I am not going to claim there was a collaborative relationship between Iraq and Al Quaeda.

Similarly, I think that before anyone claims that there was pressure on the CIA to deliver intelligence reports the Bushies wanted, he needs to have evidence for that claim. I have to study the report a little more, but it seems to me that not a single CIA person told the committee's investigators that he or she was pressured. That means "no evidence" to me, and is really rather remarkable, with people like Joe Wilson running around Washington who are willing to be, ah, flexible about the truth. Surely there must be a lone CIA agent willing to get on Meet The Press and become famous by claiming he was pressured?

But before you change the subject, first tell me what you think about Joe Wilson.

TURNING BACK TO HARD-HEADED THINKING

Here are some thoughts from the always-compelling Victor Davis Hanson. I recommend you read the whole thing; it'll boost your spirits. You can find his latest piece here:

"There is a great divide unfolding between the engine of history and the dumbfounded spectators who are apparently furious at what is going on before their eyes. Mr. Bush's flight suit, Abu Ghraib, claims of "no al Qaeda-Saddam ties," Joe Wilson, and still more come and go while millions a world away inch toward consensual government and civilization. . . .

"The oil pipeline in Afghanistan that we allegedly went to war over doesn't exist. Brave Americans died to rout al Qaeda, end the fascist Taliban, and free Afghanistan for a good and legitimate man like a Hamid Karzai to oversee elections. It was politically unwise and idealistic — not smart and cynical — for Mr. Bush to gamble his presidency on getting rid of fascists in Iraq. There really was a tie between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein — just as Mr. Gore and Mr. Clinton once believed and Mr. Putin and Mr. Allawi now remind us. The United States really did plan to put Iraqi oil under Iraqi democratic supervision for the first time in the country's history. And it did.

"This war — like all wars — is a terrible thing; but far, far worse are the mass murder of 3,000 innocents and the explosion of a city block in Manhattan, a ghoulish Islamic fascism and unfettered global terrorism, and 30 years of unchecked Baathist mass murder. So for myself, I prefer to be on the side of people like the Kurds, Elie Wiesel, Hamid Karzai, and Iyad Allawi rather than the idiotocrats like Jacques Chirac, Ralph (the Israelis are "puppeteers") Nader, Michael Moore, and Billy Crystal.

"Sometimes life's choices really are that simple."

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