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July 12, 2004

Joe Wilson: Liar-- Episode V

Clifford May.

Even better, this WSJ piece (requires registration).

Let me just say something about the Clifford May article. One problem liberals have, again and again, is that they're never willing, or even capable, it seems, of letting a bad argument go. They simply don't understand that fighting for ridiculous claims hurts their fight for more defensible ones.

In the WP article about this, Sue Schmidt reported that Iraq sought 400 pounds of yellowcake from Niger in 1998. As Josh Marshall points out, the actual Senate report says that IraN tried to buy this yellowcake. Schimidt is apparently in error, barring the Senate announcing that this was a typo.

And yet Clifford May -- who is otherwise spot-on -- asks:

Another former government official told Wilson that Iran had tried to buy 400 tons of uranium in 1998. That's the same year that Saddam forced the weapons inspectors to leave Iraq. Could the former official have meant Iraq rather than Iran? If someone were to try to connect those dots, what picture might emerge?

Well, Mr. May, the former government offical might have meant Iraq. He also might have "meant" to say that Iraq was behind 9-11 or the anthrax attacks; he might have "meant" to say that Saddam and Osama were gay lovers. He might have "meant" any number of things, but I think we're stuck with what he actually did say.

This blogger, in an otherwise valuable piece, also can't help but suggesting that maybe the Iran mention was just a big typo.

Maybe it was. If it was, it will be corrected. But I really don't think we can go postulating that statements going against our cause are typos, at least not until someone who wrote the report says, "Hey, I just realized there's a typo in the report."

The Senate's report is damning enough to Wilson. We shouldn't damage good arguments by trafficking in bad ones.

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posted by Ace at 02:32 PM

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