Driving back from a cookout at a friend’s house on Sunday, I saw a sign: “$500 penalty for littering.” Well, what if I were caught throwing a five hundred dollar bill out the window? What then, hm?
Friday’s Washington Post featured an editorial about the Valerie Plame affair. It turns out that the person who “leaked” Plame’s identity was not retaliating against her husband, Joe Wilson, and was not even a supporter of the War in Iraq. The leak occurred “in an offhand manner, virtually as gossip,” and the Post editorial board places most of the blame for the leak and the subsequent end of Plame’s CIA career on Joe Wilson himself. Fine.
The part that galls me is in the last paragraph:
Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming – falsely, as it turned out – that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger… It’s unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.
“It’s unfortunate”? Remember “Bush lied, people died”? That was Joe Wilson’s baby. Half the country still believes that Bush lied about Saddam’s attempts to buy yellowcake uranium, and thus lied about one of the reasons for the War in Iraq. That’s not “unfortunate,” that’s “deliberate deception by Joe Wilson combined with the media’s failure to expose Wilson’s lies as thoroughly as they promoted them in the first place.”
After Wilson was proven to be a liar, how much effort did the media make to convince the public that Bush didn’t lie us into war? Where were the headlines blaring that Wilson himself lied and undermined support for the war? Where were the headlines pointing out that Wilson was doing all this while working for Bush’s opponent in the 2004 Presidential campaign? Where are the editorials calling for Wilson to admit that he’s nothing more than a pompous, deceitful political hack who had no regard whatsoever for the ill effect his statements would have on the war effort or troop morale? Never mind Mr. Bush; Wilson owes the Allied troops and the Iraqi people an apology.
I’d have to buy Lexis/Nexis so I could do a thorough check of the Post’s archives, but since there are so many people still convinced that Bush “lied us into war,” I think it’s perfectly safe to say that the Post et al. haven’t done nearly enough to repair the damage. It is the Mother of All Understatements to call that “unfortunate.”