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July 21, 2004

Mark Steyn on Joe Wilson

Mark Steyn , as usual, writes a situation up with insight and style:

What do Joe Wilson's lies mean? And what does it say about the Democrats and the media that so many high-ranking figures took him at his word?

First, contrary to what Wilson wrote in the New York Times, Saddam Hussein was trying to acquire uranium from Niger. In support of that proposition are a Senate report in Washington, Lord Butler's report in London, MI6, French intelligence, other European agencies -- and, as we now know, the CIA report, based on Joe Wilson's original briefing to them. Against that proposition is Joe Wilson's revised version of events for the Times.

This isn't difficult. In 1999, a senior Iraqi "trade" delegation went to Niger. Uranium accounts for 75 percent of Niger's exports. The rest is goats, cowpeas and onions. So who sends senior trade missions to Niger? Maybe Saddam dispatched his Baathist big shots all the way to the dusty capital of Niamy because he had a sudden yen for goat and onion stew with a side order of black-eyed peas, and Major Wanke, the then-president, had offered him a great three-for-one deal.

But that's not what Joe Wilson found. Major Wanke's prime minister, among others, told Ambassador Wilson that he believed Iraq wanted yellowcake. And Ambassador Wilson told the CIA. And the CIA's report agreed with the British and the Europeans that "Iraq was attempting to procure uranium from Africa."

...

That's what lying is, by the way: intentional deceit, not unreliable intelligence. And I'm not usually the sort to bandy the liar-liar-pants-on-fire charge beloved by so many in our politics today, but I'll make an exception in the case of Wilson, who's never been shy about the term. He called Bush a "liar" and he called Cheney a "lying sonofabitch," on stage at a John Kerry rally in Iowa.

...

The obvious explanation for Wilson's deceit about what he found in Africa is that his hatred of Bush outweighed everything else. Or as the novelist and Internet maestro Roger L. Simon put it, "He is a deeply evil human being willing to lie and obfuscate for temporary political gain about a homicidal dictator's search for weapons-grade uranium."

Posted by erasmuse at July 21, 2004 09:30 AM

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