Tim Dunlop points to a piece in Counterpunch that invites the kind of “thinking out loud” that the blogosphere and the First Amendment allow. Amy Goodman and Jeremy Scahill rely primarily on remarks and documents from Joseph Wilson to point the finger at Karl Rove and/or Dick Cheney. They write this to contradict Cheney’s MTP statement that he didn’t know Wilson:
Wilson was formally commended by the Bush administration for his bravery and heroism in the weeks leading up to the war. In that time, Wilson helped evacuate thousands of foreigners from Kuwait, negotiated the release of more than 120 American hostages and sheltered nearly 800 Americans in the embassy compound. “Your courageous leadership during this period of great danger for American interests and American citizens has my admiration and respect. I salute, too, your skillful conduct of our tense dealings with the government of Iraq,” President Bush wrote Wilson in a letter. “The courage and tenacity you have exhibited throughout this ordeal prove that you are the right person for the job.” Wilson says that he heard from people who were at meetings chaired by Bush in the lead up to the Gulf War, “When people would come up with an idea, George Bush would often lean forward and ask them, ‘What does Joe Wilson say about that? What does Joe Wilson think about that?‘
This more than answers the concerns of Glenn Reynolds and others as to why Wilson was picked for the Niger mission. Dunlop suggests that Wilson’s record of service in his role as ambassador to Iraq during Bush I was the basis for his hiring:
[T]he VP’s office interpretted Wilson’s fine service to Bush I as evidence of partisanship rather than as what it was, evidence of integrity.
Let me offer a slight modification. The White House, perhaps the Oval Office, saw Wilson’s record as one evincing loyalty to the Bush family and a team-player attitude. When Wilson wouldn’t put himself on the record as supporting the Niger claim, that was disappointing. When he came out publicly and exposed the President as either an incompetent or a liar, all hell must have broken loose.
One of the Right’s defenses on behalf of Rove in particular and the WH staff in general is that outing Plame seems such an ill-suited means to any conceivable end. Revenge does not pursue the rational course. Revenge combined with arrogance can be expected to take unwarranted risks for little or no practical gain.
More than 11 weeks passed after it became likely that someone in the White House had broken the law and presented a security risk. If the perpretrator was some over-zealous underling, how simple and wise it would have been to conduct an in-house investigation, fire the evil-doer and end it. What a risk it was to let this simmer until it has reached the current boiling point. The Right has a point that this story points to an irrationality on the part of the WH that strains credulity, unless…
One’s theory of the case helps determine who is questioned and what questions are asked. Isn’t it too early to assume that it could not have been the President of the United States who wanted to “get” Joe Wilson?
The people who question Wilson’s reliability for the Niger trip take another massive hit today.
The Washington Post reports that David Kay has said he found NO evidence that Iraq even sought uranium in Niger.
He also says he found evidence that another African country offered uranium to Iraq, and it was declined.