The grand jury hearing testimony from Rove, Judith Miller, and others may not be investigating what the press thinks. The Washington Post's Walter Pincus and the New York Times' Nicholas Kristof have failed to respond to Joseph Wilson's backtracking from their year earlier interview—based stories about how Wilson had supposedly discovered the Administration had relied on a patently fake document to justify the war, and ignored his report warning them it was fake. This failure reveals their lack of concern for the public's right to know the truth——that they'd been snookered into making these sensational charges.
But Bob Somerby, editor of the liberal blog Daily Howler, expressed his outrage at the hoax, observing that the Democrats deserved what they got for promoting a fabulist with wild and sensational claims, simply because he, like they, wanted to win the election.
In our view, Wilson's letters to the Committee and the Post are fake, evasive, insincere, misleading. Correctly, Getler burned Wilson's Straw Men in his ombudsman column, and similar Straw Men littered the letter Wilson sent to the Committee itself. But here is the most amazing thing Wilson says in his 'rebuttal' to the Committee. Take a seat. Strap yourselves in. Try to believe that he said it:
WILSON (letter to the Intelligence Committee): My article in the New York Times makes clear that I attributed to myself 'a small role in the effort to verify information about Africa's suspected link to Iraq's nonconventional weapons programs.'...I went to great lengths to point out that mine was but one of three reports on the subject. I never claimed to have 'debunked' the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa. I claimed only that the transaction described in the documents that turned out to be forgeries could not have occurred and did not occur.
Amazing, isn't it? I never claimed to have 'debunked' the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa! Readers, what has the last year been about if Wilson didn't claim to debunk Bush's claim? (Think hard—we know you'll come up with something.) Let's compare two important statements—Bush's famous 16 words, and Wilson's amazing new admission:
BUSH: The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
WILSON: I never claimed to have 'debunked' the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa.
Finally! This is what we've always told you—Wilson had no way of knowing if the 16—word statement was right or wrong. He had no way to debunk it! But throughout his thrilling and best—selling book, he calls this statement a 'lie—lie—lie—lie,' over and over and over again. But then, grinding overstatement like that has been the problem with Wilson all along (as the three senators correctly note). And now, alas, Dems will start to pay a price for investing so much in his presentations.
Clarice Feldman 10 12 05