Sunday, July 17, 2005

Joe Wilson's carefully calibrated '"courage"

Originally posted on Tuesday, July 20, 2004

For a year Amb. Wilson reveled in his persona as a courageous truth-teller who stood up to power and then warned the American people about the lies of the neocons. The factual case he presented in his book and in interviews has been shredded beyond repair. Less discussed is the curious timing of his courageous stand.

The New York Times op-ed that ignited the firestorm over "the 16 words" appeared on 6 July 2003. This was months after the SOTU speech where the words appeared.

Most importantly, it was after the war, after the capture of KSM, and after the Coalition called off the intense search for WMDs. Wilson knew that he was unlikely to be refuted by captured stockpiles or documents.

A courageous, public-spirited man who was certain that he really had debunked the case for war in 2002 would have gone public before the war. That way he might have prevented a grievous mistake by the government.

Evidence of opportunism? Certainly, and no great surprise. But it also suggests that Wilson was less certain of his conclusions in March 2003 than he now pretends he was.

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