Patterico's Pontifications

12/4/2010

WaPo Calls B.S. on Plame-Wilson Movie

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:15 pm



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

I called bull on this movie a few weeks back, but to my pleasant surprise, the WaPo did the same, yesterday:

Hollywood has a habit of making movies about historical events without regard for the truth; “Fair Game” is just one more example. But the film’s reception illustrates a more troubling trend of political debates in Washington in which established facts are willfully ignored. Mr. Wilson claimed that he had proved that Mr. Bush deliberately twisted the truth about Iraq, and he was eagerly embraced by those who insist the former president lied the country into a war. Though it was long ago established that Mr. Wilson himself was not telling the truth – not about his mission to Niger and not about his wife – the myth endures. We’ll join the former president in hoping that future historians get it right.

Really, read the whole thing.  This is the difference between the WaPo and, say, the New York Times.  They do have some principles.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

59 Responses to “WaPo Calls B.S. on Plame-Wilson Movie”

  1. I read that with great surprise this morning. I hope the reviewer keeps the job. It was a very accurate review.

    Ruth H (879d0c)

  2. The story of the Plame matter is much more interesting than this caricature being presented,
    the operations of the French firm Cogema, which managed the mines in Niger, which is what the left pretends Halliburton to be, the Caspian oil connections of Armitage, Powell and co, of course
    the negotiating efforts of Zahawie, the Iraqi nuclear expert assigned to Niger in 1999.

    narciso (91a751)

  3. Every now and then the Wapo really does set it self apart from the MSM with a sense of honesty.

    I realize they are often pretty unfair, but they really are a cut above the NYT or LAT. Like Aaron says… principles.

    They’re right that Wilson was a dishonest guy who let his country down in a time of war.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  4. If only the author would devote as much interest in the truth behind 9-11 the world would be a better place. I won’t hold my breath

    sailfished (b32b4e)

  5. I read the linked Washington Post editorial, and noted one omission I saw as serious. The editors of the Post concluded, on Friday, 1 September 2006, that:

    Nevertheless, it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of (Valerie) Plame’s CIA career is (her husband Joe) Wilson.

    The Honorable Ambassador Wilson was blabbing his wife’s identity all over town, to the point where Richard Armitage, in a taped conversation with Bob Woodward, said:

    Woodward: Well it was Joe Wilson who was sent by the agency, isn’t it?

    Armitage: His wife works for the agency.

    Woodward: Why doesn’t that come out? Why does that have to be a big secret?

    Armitage: Everybody knows it.

    Woodward: Everyone knows?

    Armitage: Yeah. And they know ’cause Joe Wilson’s been calling everybody. He’s pissed off ’cause he was designated as a low level guy went out to look at it. So he’s all pissed off.

    On page 209 of Mrs Wilson’s book, she revealed that her husband was so disgusted over the results of the 2004 election that he was looking for property in New Zealand, because that was about as far away from the US as you can get. It’s too bad he didn’t find a place there.

    The Dana who remembers (bd7e62)

  6. “If only the author would devote as much interest in the truth behind 9-11 the world would be a better place. I won’t hold my breath

    Comment by sailfished ”

    Actually, the truth behind 9/11 has been well covered in the Washington Post.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  7. On page 209 of Mrs Wilson’s book, she revealed that her husband was so disgusted over the results of the 2004 election that he was looking for property in New Zealand, because that was about as far away from the US as you can get. It’s too bad he didn’t find a place there.

    Odd that they would settle in New Mexico, given their general disgust. You’d think California would be more to their taste.

    Another Chris (2e9afa)

  8. Some other details left out of the hagiography of Wilson;

    http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j157/Topsecretk9/JoeEpic2.jpg

    narciso (91a751)

  9. Probably the worst mistake the Bush administration made in the whole Iraq war episode was filing to defend the “sixteen words” in the SOTU address. When Wilson wrote his dishonest op-ed in the Times they panicked and backed away from the statement even though there was plenty of support.

    Maybe that’s why Sarah Palin, who is a savvy politician, has decided to respond to all the slings and arrow directed her way.

    Mike K (568408)

  10. That’s Failing to defend.

    Mike K (568408)

  11. It was a very well orchestrated attack, recall that
    the Novak column, was in response to Ackerman and Judis’s earlier piece, whether the Journolist was
    active at this time, is an open question, but it was
    in embryo form. Then Corn, also a Journolister, put the NOC designation in play

    narciso (91a751)

  12. News columns! News conferences! Statements! Accusations!

    What an exciting idea for a movie…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    JEA (23f3c1)

  13. The third saddest part of this whole saga is Scooter Libby was convicted of something that had nothing to do with the disclosure of Plame’s identity.

    The second saddest part is President Bush didn’t pardon Libby.

    The saddest part, though, is the narrative won and the real villains are treated as saints and most of the public has no idea what really happened.

    It’s a sad moment in history when the watch dogs become the guard dogs simply to encourage a form of government that would put them to sleep without a flinch of conscience.

    Ag80 (e828a4)

  14. In the past few months WaPo has published a few pro-Bush/anti-Obama articles. I think a little light is shining in and they don’t want to be in complete darkness when the implosion of this Administration is complete. And, they may be discovering their readership is increasing.

    Vech (9d7ca5)

  15. Odd that they would settle in New Mexico, given their general disgust. You’d think California would be more to their taste.

    Forget New Mexico or California. It would be better if they had moved, or do move, to Mexico, period. Or, for that matter, some society like Venezuela. Such places are no less leftwing than California, but they’d be better testing grounds to see how far the naivete, phoniness and patience of limousine liberals like Wilson and his wife can be stretched before reaching the breaking point.

    Mark (3e3a7c)

  16. “And, they may be discovering their readership is increasing.”

    Good point. We can’t pretend this is a completely objective source of news… they are democrats with more principles than competitors. I can see a lot of people switching subscriptions.

    I has to get old being blindsided by reality all the time for NYT readers who hear everything last.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  17. Taos/Santa Fe (NM) is where the glitterati gather in the South-West.
    I don’t think you’ll find many members of the VRWC living there.

    AD-RtR/OS! (434c01)

  18. I thought this letter in the readers forum attached to the Post’s editorial was interesting. Dschoen1 provides the type of quick copy-and-paste highlights that go straight to the heart of the matter:

    dschoen1 wrote:

    Wilson wrote…this editorial to the LA Times, 42 days before the start of the war!

    “There is now no incentive for Hussein to comply with the inspectors or to refrain from using weapons of mass destruction to defend himself if the United States comes after him. And he will use them; we should be under no illusion about that.” — Joseph Wilson, Advisor to John Kerry 2004 Presidential Campaign, In a Los Angeles Times editorial: “A ‘Big Cat’ With Nothing to Lose” February 6, 2003; Page B17

    Golly sounds like he is saying Hussein has WMD’s and will use them! If only we knew that was code for Hussein DOES NOT have WMD’s and will NOT use them!

    And then there his interview [on] Bill Moyers show and said…

    BILL MOYERS: President Bush’s recent speech to the American Enterprise Institute, he said, let me quote it to you. “The danger posed by Saddam Hussein and his weapons cannot be ignored or wished away.” You agree with that?

    JOE WILSON: I agree with that. Sure.

    BILL MOYERS: “The danger must be confronted.” You agree with that? “We would hope that the Iraqi regime will meet the demands of the United Nations and disarm fully and peacefully. If it does not, we are prepared to disarm Iraq by force. Either way, this danger will be removed. The safety of the American people depends on ending this direct and growing threat.” You agree with that?

    JOE WILSON: I agree with that. Sure. The President goes on to say in that speech, as he did in the State of the Union Address, is we will liberate Iraq from a brutal dictator. All of which is true.

    — Joseph Wilson, Advisor to John Kerry 2004 Presidential Campaign, During an interview with Bill Moyers, February 28, 2003

    February 28, 2003 was just 20 days from the start of the war.

    Mark (3e3a7c)

  19. Mike K:

    Probably the worst mistake the Bush administration made in the whole Iraq war episode was failing to defend the “sixteen words” in the SOTU address. When Wilson wrote his dishonest op-ed in the Times they panicked and backed away from the statement even though there was plenty of support.

    Maybe that’s why Sarah Palin, who is a savvy politician, has decided to respond to all the slings and arrow directed her way.

    Agreed x 2.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  20. Taos/Santa Fe (NM) is where the glitterati gather in the South-West.
    I don’t think you’ll find many members of the VRWC living there.

    Good point–Plame and Wilson aren’t exactly the types to “slum it” in Albuquerque, Clovis, or Las Cruces. They probably break out in hives every time they get close to Rio Rancho.

    Another Chris (2e9afa)

  21. I think the Scooter Libby and/or Martha Stewart convictions would make a better movie. It would be nice for the public to know that “lying to Federal Investigators” is such a serious crime that you can wind up in jail for no other reason than misremembering a conversation you had a year ago.

    Xmas (f72f61)

  22. Maybe that’s why Sarah Palin, who is a savvy politician, has decided to respond to all the slings and arrow directed her way.

    Agreed x 2.

    Comment by DRJ — 12/4/2010 @ 8:03 pm

    I had actually thought we were going to get a thread without Palin…silly me.

    Bush did not defend those 16 words because he felt that there might be something untrue or inaccurate in them in some way. And I honestly believe that Bush tried to be truthful with the American people…defending those words would not have had any impact on the debate. People like Joe Wilson were going to go right on hating him and apposing him…and as for defending everything anyone says, it seems to me that Obama does that too..to the point of calling out private citizens.

    I don’t think it makes people look more presidential to do that all the time, in some ways it makes them look and sound as if they are bickering all the time. Bush made the point after he left office that he tried to behave in a way that was not unseemly or damaging to the office of the presidency, because he felt the office itself was more important than its occupant.

    Terrye (7c855d)

  23. The second saddest part is President Bush didn’t pardon Libby.

    The saddest part, though, is the narrative won and the real villains are treated as saints and most of the public has no idea what really happened.

    It’s a sad moment in history when the watch dogs become the guard dogs simply to encourage a form of government that would put them to sleep without a flinch of conscience.

    Comment by Ag80 — 12/4/2010 @ 6:46 pm

    In some respects I thought Libby should have been pardoned, but Bush did not want to overturn the jury..however, Libby was convicted of perjury, not outing anyone. I have often wondered why a lawyer would place himself in that position. I read that Hillary Clinton used the phrase I can’t recall more than 100 times when she was talking to authorities about Whitewater. Obviously she was trying not only to cover her behind, she was avoiding being caught in any inconsistencies.

    Terrye (7c855d)

  24. They had a FDL diarist and a editor under Woodward on the jury, to steer them to the right verdict, sans facts, Russert was allowed to lie about whether
    certain reporters knew of Plame’s status, most of the charges rely on Libby’s memory.

    narciso (6075d0)

  25. They went after Rove too, and he was able to get out it by some fancy legal footwork, but in the
    end, he had to ‘quit’ his office as Deputy Chief of Staff too, limiting the advice he could give, and
    they tarnished him over the US attorney kerfluffle,
    as Taranto would say.

    narciso (6075d0)

  26. Maybe that’s why Sarah Palin, who is a savvy politician, has decided to respond to all the slings and arrow directed her way.

    Comment by Mike K — 12/4/2010 @ 6:18 pm

    You say savvy – I am not so sure. It is a fair question to ask if this would be the way she would take criticism if elected president. I don’t want another Obama setting up artificial debates with Limbaugh and others. It is their right to speak up and a president’s duty to let them.
    If you don’t like the way Obama takes on his critics as president can you really say that is what you would want in a President Palin?
    The danger in thin skinned presidents is that we end up with another Nixon. I liked what Nixon did in many areas but his obsessiveness with his critics destroyed his presidency.

    vor2 (513abd)

  27. The difference is Obama doesn’t have any good answere to the criticism, the stimulus was unnecessary, it contained ‘death panels’ the appropriately acronymed FCCER, etc.

    narciso (6075d0)

  28. They probably break out in hives every time they get close to Rio Rancho.

    Easy there. I live in Rio Rancho and I happen to like it here. I don’t mind it that the scum of the earth prefer Taos.

    PatriotRider (8cd725)

  29. wilson and ms. plame
    hero status shot to Hell
    it’s all about them

    ColonelHaiku (c51653)

  30. Ambassador Wilson claimed he had information in a few cafe’s with locals that the folloing intelligence departments were not able to do in years of fieldwork: The Mossad, The KGB, The FSA, The Chinese MSS, The Japanese PSIA, MI6, The French and Dutch services, Germania, Romania, and the best of them all the Polish Intelligence Service.

    Palination (8a4ca7)

  31. It was already quite obvious, epwj.

    JD (0d2ffc)

  32. #22, defending those words would not have had any impact on the debate.

    Are you for real?! The White House backing down from those sixteen words undermined the entire case for the war. 99% of the public took that as an admission that the claim was untrue; this formed the basis for the whole “Bush lied people died” slogan. And for those of us standing up for them, it was an impossible burden to try to explain that they were true by any ordinary standard, but that there is some arcane artificial standard for statements in the State of the Union speech, which these words met at the time, but were later thought no longer to meet. I mean, even repeating that explanation now, to people who presumably already know it to be true, it sounds lame; imagine how normal people took it. If the White House was backing away from it, it must have been false, and if false it was probably a lie, and if it was a lie then the whole speech was a lie, and if the whole speech was a lie then so was the entire list of grounds the Congressional authorisation gave, etc. etc. Chimpy McHalliburton Bushitler Blood For Oil 9/11 AWOL Draft-dodger My Pet Goat Plame Plame Plame.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  33. #26, No, what destroyed his presidency was that he was a “progressive”. “We’re all Keynesians now.”

    And that when, after having publicly denied that his campaign had anything to do with the Watergate break-in, he found out that wasn’t true, he felt forced to double down and keep denying it, and yet was careless enough to leave evidence of the coverup.

    And the election of a Democrat congressional majority that was actively treasonous.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  34. #23, the reason Clinton was so careful, is because she was conscious of her guilt, and knew she had to cover it up. Libby thought he had nothing to hide, so he tried to be helpful to the investigating authorities, naïvely imagining that they were acting in good faith, and that once they realised he was telling the truth they’d leave him alone.

    It also never occurred to him or his lawyer that his interviews with the FBI were not being recorded, that the only record of what he told them would be the notes the agents would make after the event, and that the agents’ testimony about what had been said would be unchallengeable.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  35. if Plame was ugly
    and Wilson normal ego
    would this be story?

    TimesDislaiku (29081f)

  36. Times

    Actually, I think the answer is “yes.” Because it was always about attacking bush, not the wilsons.

    Aaron Worthing (b8e056)

  37. Mr Worthing: Maybe, but not so big.

    The Dana who can see (bd7e62)

  38. Easy there. I live in Rio Rancho and I happen to like it here. I don’t mind it that the scum of the earth prefer Taos.

    Oh, I don’t have any problem with Rio Rancho. But a couple of high-society sophisticates like Plame and Wilson tend to abhor those types of suburban communities. Santa Fe or Taos, obviously, would be a lot more appealing. Taos wouldn’t be that bad if you could kick all the celebutards out.

    Another Chris (2e9afa)

  39. Bush did not defend those 16 words because he felt that there might be something untrue or inaccurate in them in some way.

    The statement was true. It had several qualifications in it. He didn’t say that Saddam had tried to buy yellow cake from Niger. In fact, anyone with a modicum of common sense knows that Niger had nothing else to sell ! What in the world would Saddam want from Niger except uranium ? Yellow onions ? Goats ? Those are Niger’s other exports.

    Mike K (568408)

  40. Assuming that the deal was made in 1999, there was almost that much yellowcake at the Tammuz 16 plant
    when the Coalition forces, arrrived there in 2003

    narciso (6075d0)

  41. It also never occurred to him or his lawyer that his interviews with the FBI were not being recorded, that the only record of what he told them would be the notes the agents would make after the event, and that the agents’ testimony about what had been said would be unchallengeable.

    especially given the notes were, um, LOST!

    Topsecretk9 (ab69ad)

  42. #40 & 41…Don’t bother with the facts. Even when it was current events, I was never ever able to convince a Bush hater of the truth.

    Now it’s as relevant as the winner of Survivor from 2004.

    Pious Agnostic (f24095)

  43. You say savvy – I am not so sure. It is a fair question to ask if this would be the way she would take criticism if elected president. I don’t want another Obama setting up artificial debates with Limbaugh and others. It is their right to speak up and a president’s duty to let them.
    If you don’t like the way Obama takes on his critics as president can you really say that is what you would want in a President Palin?
    The danger in thin skinned presidents is that we end up with another Nixon. I liked what Nixon did in many areas but his obsessiveness with his critics destroyed his presidency.

    Comment by vor2 — 12/5/2010 @ 5:39 am

    I kind of thought the same thing. When Barbara Bush said the wrong thing the response was shut up. I don’t think a president can really say that to half the country. I honestly do not know what the best response would be. Reagan had the ability to turn things back on his critics with a combination of humor and insight. But not everyone can do that, and the media of today is different than it was 25 years ago.

    Terrye (2e6779)

  44. #

    Assuming that the deal was made in 1999, there was almost that much yellowcake at the Tammuz 16 plant
    when the Coalition forces, arrrived there in 2003

    Comment by narciso — 12/5/2010 @ 10:50 am

    I read somewhere that Canada bought something like 50 metric tons of yellow cake from the Iraqi government not all that long ago.

    Terrye (2e6779)

  45. Comment by Another Chris — 12/5/2010 @ 12:21 am

    They should visit Farmington, or Reserve; but only if they have a comprehensive mental-health insurance plan.

    AD-RtR/OS! (afa24e)

  46. Comment by Terrye — 12/5/2010 @ 3:39 am

    White House staff were compelled to cooperate with the Plame investigation under penalty of loss of their positions.
    A series of “I don’t recall” responses would have been considered unresponsive and a hindering of the investigation.
    Hillary was under no such pressure as First Lady in the Whitewater investigation.

    AD-RtR/OS! (afa24e)

  47. Right, Tammuz 16 was Osirak, Tuweitha was the plant in question, but there’s the answer, to the mystery

    narciso (6075d0)

  48. I wonder when Hollywood will make a movie “proving” that the Holocaust or the Rape of Nanking or both never happened.

    Will Sean Penn star in such a movie?

    If only the author would devote as much interest in the truth behind 9-11 the world would be a better place. I won’t hold my breath

    What truth?

    Something to do with Joooooos perhaps?

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)

  49. Comment by EricPWJohnson — 12/5/2010 @ 12:22 pm

    It must be a complete fabrication since “everyone” knows that Hussein had no WMD program, and therefore no need for Yellowcake, which Joe Wilson “proved” Hussein did not attempt to buy from any country in Africa (the Brits are so dumb), and Scooter Libby was sooooo jealous that Joe and Val were in Vanity Fair…..

    AD-RtR/OS! (afa24e)

  50. I always wondered why Amb Wilson was never called to testify as to what intelligence he had gathered and presented his proof of his comments in the NYT editorial he wrote.

    In a court room, under oath, on trial for outing intelligence operations for personal and political gain

    EricPWJohnson (2925ff)

  51. evry move you make
    yellow cake you bake colonel
    haiku watching you

    ColonelHaiku (c51653)

  52. Let’s see a movie where Valerie and Joe are portrayed as what they are – a bumbling husband and wife team playing everyone else and the country for fools. Really, Vanity Fair?!

    Wesson (019671)

  53. As much as many prognosticators and so-called experts are saying President Obama is going to have a tough time getting re-elected, the reality of the situation is that President Obama will get re-elected against almost any potential GOP challenger.

    However, one candidate cannot be over-looked. If we learned anything from 2008, we should’ve learned that organization and social media skills are paramount to a campaign. No one is actually going to “come out of nowhere”. To become the most powerful person in the world, you have to build quite an organization. That’s why only one person has a chance to beat President Obama in 2012.

    This will make it all clear:
    http://mittromneycentral.com/2010/05/07/no-apology-song-the-case-for-american-greatness/

    Dan (403904)

  54. #55, Good gawd. Give it a rest. RomneyCare will be the end of him. So will the utter transparency of his sudden change of heart on the second amendment.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  55. Not to mention acquiescing to the sacking of the GM
    board, giving qualified support to the President’s
    dissing of the Iranian Green Movement, still believing in climate change, at the time of his
    book’s publication

    narciso (6075d0)

  56. Comment by Milhouse — 12/5/2010 @ 8:48 am

    You asked me if I was for real when I said it would not have made any real difference if Bush had defended the 16 words…yes I am for real. I watched the international community play games with Saddam Hussein for years before Bush was even president. I can remember a special done by ABC news back in 1999 or 2000 called Target America, all about the connections between Saddam and Osama. I can remember Clinton on TV with Dashcle at his side explaining the need to launch a military strike against Saddam in 1998 and stating that Saddam not only had weapons, but he would use them. I also remember the Congress passing and signing the Iraqi Liberation Act…if the press could forget all that, act as if it never happened then what difference would it have made if Bush had defended 16 words when they had already decided they were not going to believe a word he said anyway?

    Terrye (368a41)

  57. I agree it is hard to estimate the outcome of one line of action vs. another, when it appears too many were not interested in objective understanding. I watched Bush’s speech. I know “the issue” was not one issue (WMD) but multiple. Reasonable people could debate the merits of the various issues raised, but we had unreasonable people chanting “he lied”, “he tricked us”, instead.

    Aspects that seems to me utterly indefensible (assuming my facts are correct) were:
    1. That the CIA was more interested in CYA and undermining Bush than being truthful.
    2. That people like Armitage were in government service and kept quiet.
    3. That the prosecutor was able to use dishonest and misleading statements about the consequences of the “outing of Plame” in his closing arguments in the Libby case.

    When you see Sandy Burgler get a slap on the wrist for gross misconduct and perjury and Libby get slammed for nothing of consequence, it is easy to believe it is all a conspiracy, that somewhere people of money and power can make whatever they want happen, if they want to.

    MD in Philly (cac12c)


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