Joe Wilson, Enemy of the People?

End Of An Affair,” Washington Post, 1 September 2006, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/31/AR2006083101460_pf.html (from Democratic Underground).

Thirteen months ago, I wrote of Joe Wilson’s reckless accusations. It is good to see the Washington Post, that left-of-center bullwark, now agrees with me

It follows that one of the most sensational charges leveled against the Bush White House — that it orchestrated the leak of Ms. Plame’s identity to ruin her career and thus punish Mr. Wilson — is untrue. The partisan clamor that followed the raising of that allegation by Mr. Wilson in the summer of 2003 led to the appointment of a special prosecutor, a costly and prolonged investigation, and the indictment of Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, on charges of perjury. All of that might have been avoided had Mr. Armitage’s identity been known three years ago.

Nevertheless, it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame’s CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming — falsely, as it turned out — that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush’s closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It’s unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.

Sometimes, news is funny. This isn’t. Valerie’s career was destroyed by her husband — a man who also tarred the reputation a moderate and well respected war hero.

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