Thursday, December 22, 2005

Joe Wilson Rips the Bush-Cheney Administration

by William Hughes

Only a stone’s throw from fabled Penn Station in this historic port city stands the University of Baltimore. It is best known nationally for its School of Law. On Nov. 14, 2005, ex-U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson spoke in the Lansdale Library there, at a “citizenship forum.” His lecture was cosponsored by the school’s public affairs department and the Randolph B. Rosencrantz Memorial Fund. Wilson was in top form and held little back in his remarks. He was also enthusiastic in his praise of the Iraqi war-related exposé--“The Downing Street Memos.”

In a wide-ranging talk entitled “Speaking the Truth to Power and its Consequences,” Wilson reviewed for the record how his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, was “outed” by members of the Bush-Cheney administration. This, he said, came only after he had revealed, in a July, 2003, New York Times Op Ed piece, how President George W. Bush misled the nation in his “State of the Union” address in January 2003, about Iraq’s supposedly attempting to secure “yellowcake uranium” from an African country in order to build a nuclear bomb. The yarn about the alleged Niger uranium, Wilson, emphasized, was needed by manipulators in the administration in order to wrongly mesmerize the American people with the frightening image of a phony smoking gun in the form of “a mushroom cloud.”

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Wilson called his Op Ed piece an “act of civic duty,” made necessary because the Bush-Cheney administration had no intention of “coming clean” with the American people. He added that the Establishment has been "making my life miserable ever since, by making me into a political adversary.” Somewhere along the line, Wilson speculated, the Bush-Cheney group has decided that the best way to take him out was “to also take my family out.” He suggested that the Bush administration was publicly battering him in order to send a message to others that they would suffer a similar fate as he and his wife have if they were to dare to “step forward into the public square and to challenge the way this government took us to war.” The powers that be want to make people who work in the government “very afraid, and, indeed, people have been afraid” to speak out, Wilson reported.

Bush’s 2003 “State of the Union” address was given just before he launched the Iraqi War based on false information. Wilson wondered aloud: “Who put those ‘sixteen words’ in that ‘State of the Union’ address?," referring to the claim about Iraq's seeking yellowcake uranium, "and, what was their motivation?” The media, and the Congress, Wilson insisted, should focus on finding answers to those two questions. He made some scathing remarks about Right Wing columnist Bob Novak, who was the first in the media to publish the fact that Wilson’s wife was a covert agent for the CIA.

Wilson said, “Bob Novak, in my judgment, is a pawn in someone’s else game. He’s a tool...a despicable tool, you can be sure. It’s not likely he will break bread in my house. I think the chances are pretty good, almost certain, that the reason Novak doesn’t figure prominently in the indictment [of Cheney chief of staff “Scooter,” since resigned]... is that when he was sitting across the table from [Special Counsel] Pat Fitzgerald in that first interview, he probably sang like a canary. He told Fitzgerald everything he wanted to hear. Because if he had exerted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination...his testimony could have been compelled in exchange for immunity. Had he suggested that he, too, had a First Amendment Right to protect his source...chances are that he would have been in that litigation as well. It is generally believed that he...’wilted’ at his first contact with Pat Fitzgerald."

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Wilson continued his comments by talking about Judy Miller, the controversial ex-New York Times reporter. He said, “With respect to Judy Miller: Was she trying to protect [Dick] Cheney? It’s just all too murky for me to try and figure out...I just want to talk about the fact that she spent 85 days in jail because Lewis Libby was too cowardly to step forward and accept responsibility for his own actions. This is a man who has the title of ‘Assistant to the President of the United States.’ This is a man who swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. He is now being accused of impeding a federal [grand jury] investigation. That is in and of itself a violation of his oath of office. I find him [Libby] really a slime ball. The fact that he would allow, that he would go, first of all, after my wife, and then allow Judy Miller to spend 85 days in jail, and then, now, he says he wants to clear his good name. This is a serial abuser...”

In referring to some of the Right Wing attackers who have been vilifying him and his wife, Wilson said: “These are all campaigns by these people...basically, trying to spring ‘Scooter’ Libby....” He was also incensed about what he labeled an "egregious” attack on his family by [Rep.] Peter T. King, a congressman from Long Island, NY. He said that King, “in his blind ambition to be named the next chair of the [House] Homeland Security Committee, had stepped out to say of my wife, ‘She got what she deserved!’”

Wilson said, “I don’t know how else you fight, than to get in there and fight and confront the school yard bullies. [They] are absolutely determined to destroy me personally, my integrity, my wife, her integrity, my character and our lives. And, if you don’t stand up and fight for that, what the hell are you going to stand up and fight for? Now in the end, it is also a fight for how we conduct the debate in the public square. That is what this is all about. Are we as Americans going to take this? These guys are ‘Brownshirts’! This is essentially what we are talking about here. We are talking about a small group of people who masquerade as Republicans, but are not Republicans at all. They are radicals...”

Finally, Wilson said, “The indictment [of Irv ‘Scooter’ Libby] is a reaffirmation that, in fact, we are a nation of laws and that no man is above the law...This is a great democracy...but we need the participation of citizens to make it work...Our Republic is based on a system of checks and balances...We must never shy away from confronting the likes of ‘Scooter’ Libby and Karl Rove--the school yard bullies.”


© William Hughes 2005. Hughes, who holds a law degree from the University of Baltimore, is the author of Saying ‘’No’ to the War Party (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at liamhughes@comcast.net.

Hughes has posted a video of Wilson's speech here.


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