Joe Wilson is living the high life. He is riding a wave of attention that all true sycophants love. Anywhere you turn the television on – there he is. For someone who is concerned about privacy and protecting his very private life, he is making even left-leaning journalists believe he is in this current tussle for the style, the gloss – not the substance.
On with Ted Koppel, looking somber and sober, he again states the charges that Wilson is being politically targeted by a mean and cruel administration that is out to injure and harm him and his poor wife. The next morning talking to the Washington Post, he has his feet up on his desk, fielding dozens of media calls and cracking jokes to his wife about who should portray her in the upcoming movie of "their story."
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If his wife is a classified status employee of the CIA, and if it was someone from the administration that "outted" her – this is a criminal offense. Suffice it to say that this administration will leave scorched earth behind whoever did it. Thus, it is tremendous to see how seriously President Bush is taking this. All documents frozen, all e-mails saved, total cooperation with the investigators and an aggressive probe under way to ferret out the truth. A president that respects the Justice Department instead of having it cover up for him is a refreshing change in D.C.
But I continue to have my significantly sinister doubts about the merits of Joe Wilson. I especially have my doubts concerning his propped-up campaign to have Karl Rove removed and the heavy lifters in the job like Sens. Charles Schumer and Dick Durbin. Last week's interview with Wilson by the Washington Post leaves me even more skeptical.
According to the Post's story, my reasons for skepticism are as follows:
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- He is obviously obsessed with his own self-importance. Who has the time to sit around and try out phrases of what his tombstone will read? Especially when he is concerned over the potential safety issues involving his wife.
- He felt shunned when intelligence other than his own was used in deciphering whether or not Iraq had ever tried to purchase uranium from "African" countries. He went so far as to assume that his trip to Niger was the only evidence that the U.S. would be relying upon to make this evaluation.
- He also fully neglects that his own report concluded that while the Niger government was not out to sell uranium to Iraq, Niger offered the possibility that Iraqi and Niger businessman were trying to conduct commercial transactions between the two countries that could indeed include such material. He still refuses to answer to this part of his own admission, and of course the press is complying by not pressing him on it.
- In the run up to the war, Wilson was out writing op-ed pieces and making appearances opposing the war. This caveat could have caused Wilson to be less than vigorous in his pursuit of actual evidence in the uranium issue. And from the sound of his report, "drinking lots of mint tea" seemed to occupy much of his time. In recent days, he has been quoted in multiple places as saying, "Neo-conservatives and religious conservatives have hijacked this administration, and I consider myself on a personal mission to destroy both."
- He has an insatiable appetite for the spotlight, as the Washington Post piece points out: "Wilson himself seems to have a theatrical streak. He is the son of journalists and calls himself a 'former hippie, surf bum and ski bum.' He is far more obliging of the spotlight than most diplomats, active or retired, and more flamboyant, wearing his graying mane on the shaggy side, slinging his feet onto his desk while taking calls – more than 50 before noon – from the media."
- He is working actively against Bush in the upcoming campaign for president and has openly endorsed and is working on behalf of John Kerry.
- The Post included this funny line: "In the mid-1980s he worked for then-Sen. Al Gore, D-Tenn., as a congressional fellow. He briefed Gore by phone from Baghdad as the senator was preparing to vote to authorize force in the Gulf War. Wilson argued then that force was required."
Wilson's account is completely inconsistent with the true story of how Al Gore was "persuaded" to vote in favor of the Gulf War, which I have heard on more than one occasion. It was widely known that Gore himself brokered the deal on which way his vote would be cast for the Gulf War by his personal appeals to the respective heads of the two parties in the Senate. The party that would allow him the longest amount of time to speak on the floor and receive longer media attention (TV time), would be given his support. The Republicans did (unknowingly), and he voted in favor.
- The fact that he continues to try to paint himself as a non-partisan when he is so adamantly against the war (and was prior to his assignment to Niger), plus his open endorsement of Kerry and campaign contributions to the like, betray a hollow ring in his "I'm just a neutral American who got picked on" ploy.
- Wilson has a weak affinity for U.S. interests. His parents were foreign journalists. He grew up in the highly liberal San Francisco area and spent his teen years in France – all of which have contributed to his lack of strong feelings about the only nation that makes freedom its top priority.
- Wilson continues to spout the lie that six press outlets (the big three among them) were solicited by the White House to try to leak his wife's name. No one at any major press organization will confirm that they received calls, and two have now denied having received the calls, including NBC and CBS. And to go further, Robert Novak has stated that this statement of six media outlets being solicited is flat out false.
Mr. Wilson has attempted to portray himself as an innocent bystander who found himself having to do a duty and then being punished for carrying out that duty. The truth is becoming obvious that he was not the most qualified man for the trip to Niger. He is partisan to the core, and he is on a mission to create chaos in this election cycle.
The cooperation by the White House is appropriate and refreshing. So while we cast a necessarily suspicious eye upon those who may have had reason to leak such information, let's be sure we don't entrust Mr. Wilson with any more wiggle room than necessary. I have ten reasons that seem to point to the idea that truth is a troublesome thing for Mr. Wilson, and I don't wish to add to my list.
But then again only he can prevent that.