Putting out the call
Dear editors,What did you write that they won't publish?
I don't understand why your paper feels the need to join with war supporters in attempting to confuse the American public about the statements of Ambassador Joseph Wilson ("End of an Affair, Sept. 1). He did not, as your editorial board wrote, claim that "he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger..." What Joseph Wilson wrote in his now famous--though, apparently, seldom read--op-ed is that he called a friend at the State Department and "suggested that if the president had been referring to Niger, then his conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them."
The truth is any obfuscation on this issue can clearly be placed at the feet of this administration. President Bush said the "British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," but failed to mention that the CIA called these claims "overblown" and "exaggerated." This is but one of many times in the lead-up to the Iraq War where the president and his administration told the American people a scary story about Iraq, without mentioning those facts which might diminish the fear they were attempting to instill in populace still shaken by 9/11.
Your article also said that Wilson should have known that "journalists such as Mr. Novak" would question why a "retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission." How willing your editorial board seems to forget that Wilson was not simply an ambassador, but an ambassador who had served courageously in Iraq (according to George H.W. Bush) and in western Africa. He was also an advisor to the National Security Council on Africa policy under President Clinton. His experience more than qualified him for this mission and that, according to high-ranking CIA officials, was why he was asked to go to Niger. The recently reported role of Richard Armitage aside, it is still true that the vice president, Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove were "accutely focused" on Wilson and evidence points to "White House efforts to 'punish'" the ambassador, according to a filing by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald.
According to your own Pentagon correspondent Thomas Ricks, the attitude your paper exhibited regarding evidence which contradicted or mitigated the administration's claims about the danger presented by Saddam Hussein was "Look, we're going to war, why do we even worry about all this contrary stuff?" Would it be presumptuous of me to suggest that your paper's willingness to misrepresent the facts about Ambassador Wilson seems part of an ex post facto attempt to cleanse your paper of the taint of blind followership on Iraq? Certainly. However, if that were the intent, your paper has achieved the opposite effect. Once again, the paper is following administration and Republican talking points while ignoring the truth.
Post it in comments or email me at nitpicker-at-gmail.com.