Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 14, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

JOE WILSON....I'm always happy to be thought of as sensible, but before my (no doubt) equally sensible right-wing friends get too carrried away crowing about Joe Wilson's weatherbeaten credibility, I'd like to remind them of one thing: it doesn't matter.

See, here's the deal: it was indeed Wilson who originally got the ball rolling on the whole yellowcake affair, but there have been two major charges to come out of this and in neither one has Wilson's testimony really meant anything.

  • First, there was the "16 words" fiasco, in which President Bush said that Saddam had been trying to get yellowcake uranium from Africa. Wilson's op-ed in the New York Times brought this to light, but his evidence was never conclusive. What was conclusive was George Tenet's public statement: "These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president....and CIA should have ensured that it was removed."

    Wilson's credibility doesn't matter. Tenet has long since admitted that he was right.

  • Second, there's the Valerie Plame outing case. Once again, this is something Wilson has talked extensively about, but nothing he says matters very much to the legal case currently under investigation. Administration officials either outed Plame to Robert Novak or they didn't, and it's either a federal offense or it's not. At this point, it's all in the hands of Plame prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.

Bottom line: Joe Wilson could be the biggest liar since Baron Munchausen, but who cares? Having gotten things started, he's now out of the picture. Fitzgerald is all that matters now.

Kevin Drum 12:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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