Monday, April 24, 2006

Of leaks and lies

An excellent article by Jeff Gardner.

Duelling editorials expose how liberals skew facts about Iraq

By Jeffry Gardner - Albuquerque Tribune Columnist - April 22, 2006

The Washington Post recently, perhaps inadvertently, ran an editorial saying the Bush administration was justified in leaking information to the New York Times, via White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby, about Iraq seeking uranium before the Iraq war. The leak ultimately went to the question of left-wing hero and CIA whistle-blower Joe Wilson's veracity, a key component in the left's "Bush lied" campaign.

The Post called it "A Good Leak." The New York Times rebutted with an editorial titled "A Bad Leak." The leak was ultimately deemed bad by the Times, because it came with a clear defense of President Bush's and British Prime Minister Tony Blair's decisions regarding Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

In reality, we learned that Saddam had, indeed, gone searching for yellowcake - weapons-grade uranium - from Niger in 1999. Neither Bush nor Blair said that Iraq had bought the uranium, just that he was seeking it.

The Post's editorial was laid out in clear terms. Wilson, not Bush, twisted the words. The Post even turned the tables on Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. According to the Post, "After more than 2 years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald has reported no evidence to support Mr. Wilson's charge (that he was being punished for saying Iraq wasn't trying to buy uranium)."

The Times editorial lashed back, saying, among other things, that the leak was manipulative and selective.

Gee? Do you think so?

Rallying to the side of the Times - the gray dragon - was Editor & Publisher. Sniffing that the Post editors were "Iraq hawks," the E&P editor also carefully repeated the distortion of a report on what the administration knew about Iraq's mobile chemical weapons trailers. As one lie withers on the vine, another grows, eh?

One wonders why it's easier and more satisfying for the left to paint the president as a liar than it is for them to believe Saddam sent a "trade delegation," as Wilson's report called it, to Niger in search of yellowcake? Why is the left now, as it was during Vietnam, so eager to declare our country the enemy? Is it unreasonable to think Saddam knew more about Iran's nuclear weapons program than most?

After all, nations don't just whip up nuclear weapons facilities. It's possible that long before Saddam began living in a hole, he knew what Iran was up to. And considering that he had nerve-gassed tens of thousands of Iranians during the Iran-Iraq war - Iranians, Iraqis, tomatoes, tomahtoes, he didn't care - does anyone believe he'd wait around for his mortal enemy to build a nuclear weapon before he did?

Is that a theory? Absolutely. But it's far more probable than the conspiracy hysteria embraced by those who rabidly believe the administration conspired to bring us to war. And as our intelligence community translates more of the 900,000-or-so pages of classified Iraqi documents we seized, we're discovering that Saddam had his fingers in lots of terrorists' pies.
No doubt someone lied about Saddam's interest in uranium. It just wasn't the president.

Gardner is an Albuquerque writer and political consultant.