Why Mark Steyn is the Best
Bigger than Watergate
Even his original New York Times piece must rank as one of the paper’s weakest efforts to damage Bush: in Niger, Ambassador Wilson says he spent ‘eight days drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people: current government officials, former government officials, people associated with the country’s uranium business’. He concedes he never filed a written report and most of the rest of the column reads like a travelogue (‘Through the haze, I could see camel caravans crossing the Niger river’). As a claim to expertise, it’s laughable. So why leak his wife’s name? You don’t discredit a vain bumbler by making it look as if he’s got a fast track to the real goods. To insiders, the letters ‘CIA’ may be a byword for an arthritic bureaucracy whose hands have been tied by Congress for a generation, but in the popular mind they’re still the all-knowing spooks who can find out everything one way or the other.
If sending Joseph C. Wilson IV to Niger for a week is the best the world’s only hyperpower can do, that’s a serious problem. If the Company knew it was a joke all along, that’s a worse problem. It means Mr Bush is in the same position with the CIA as General Musharraf is with Pakistan’s ISI: when he makes a routine request, he has to figure out whether they’re going to use it to try and set him up. This is no way to win a terror war.