Jul 18 2005

Hitchens Weighs In With A Yawn

Published by at 7:51 pm under All General Discussions,Plame Game

Mark Coffey at Decisiono8 posted a link to Christopher Hitchen’s latest comments on the Wilson/Plame non-scandal.

Writing to a friend in 1954, P.G. Wodehouse commented:

Are you following the McCarthy business? If so, can you tell me what it’s all about? “You dined with Mr. X on Friday the tenth?” “Yes, sir.” (Keenly) “What did you eat?” “A chocolate nut sundae, sir.” (Sensation) It’s like Bardell vs Pickwick.

Wodehouse of course was only affecting ignorance and making light of a ludicrously pompous and slightly sinister proceeding.

It is the entire absence of the above three elements that makes the hunt for Karl Rove (who was once so confidently confused with I. Lewis Libby) so utterly Snark-like.

First, the most exploded figure in the entire argument is Joseph Wilson. This is for three reasons. He claimed, in his own book, that his wife had nothing to do with his brief and inconclusive visit to Niger. “Valerie had nothing to do with the matter,” he wrote. “She definitely had not proposed that I make the trip.” There isn’t enough wiggle room in those two definitive statements to make either of them congruent with a memo written by Valerie Wilson (or Valerie Plame, if you prefer) to a deputy chief in the CIA’s directorate of operations. In this memo, in her wifely way, she announced that her husband would be ideal for the mission since he had “good relations with both the Prime Minister and the former Minister of Mines (of Niger), not to mention lots of French contacts.” If you want to read the original, turn to the Senate committee’s published report on the many “intelligence failures” that we have suffered recently. I want to return to those, too.

Read the whole thing. It is one of the most devastating ‘yawns’ ever penned attacking a trumped up charge. Most importantly is the information on Niger. Hitchens points to clear evidence that Niger was peddling yellow cake to North Korea, Libya and Iran – as well as Iran.

The third bogus element in Wilson’s boastful story is the claim that Niger’s “yellowcake” uranium was never a subject of any interest to Saddam Hussein’s agents. The British intelligence report on this, which does not lack criticism of the Blair government, finds the Niger connection to be among the most credible of the assertions made about Saddam’s double-dealing. If you care to consult the Financial Times of June 28, 2004, and see the front-page report by its national security correspondent Mark Huband, you will be able to review the evidence that Niger—with whose ministers Mr. Wilson had such “good relations”—was trying to deal in yellowcake with North Korea and Libya as well as Iraq and Iran. This evidence is by no means refuted or contradicted by a forged or faked Italian document saying the same thing. It was a useful axiom of the late I.F. Stone that few people are so foolish as to counterfeit a bankrupt currency.

The naivette’ required to claim Wilson was right about Niger is so bad as to be dangerous. The whole point is that playing games with information critical to national security and our decisions as people on what path to take is to important for misinformation and policitical propoganda.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Hitchens Weighs In With A Yawn”

  1. AJ: But apparently Hitchens was wrong–the NYTimes has an editorial today saying that Wilson’s Niger report was “entirely accurate” and that Wilson had “excellent credentials” for the msision. Also, they have divined what Rove “really” was trying to do–to smeal Wilson because “at the time, dissenting views on Iraq were not getting much of an airing in the administration.”

    What was that you said about niavete so bad as to be dangerous?

  2. One more thing–niavete suggests innocence and the Times is a lot of things, but certainly not innocent–so perhaps an alternative, if wordier, phrasing in the light of this editorial would be: ‘The willfull indifference to facts required to claim Wilson was right about Niger is so bad as to be dangerous.”

  3. AJStrata says:


    Understand your tongue and cheek comments about the NYTimes. And you are right, ‘niavette’ does imply innocence. Part of the word selection is I tire of using the word ‘ignorant’ and it is a bit too insulting to those who have buight into the propoganda of the leftward fringes. “Willful indifference’ sounds to kind as well, compared to what I really think!