Pundit’s Corner

For those of you who have been following this somewhat distasteful presidential-election business, here’s Robert Novak’s take on where matters stand in the wake of Barack Obama’s strong showing yesterday.

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  1. Hey, wasn’t Novak the traitorous lout who helped to out a CIA agent for political reasons? What is he still doing breathing our air?… tho I must say this piece seems to be well conceived and written, with little evident bias – I take pause to wonder how the hell is this guy still out of jail (GITMO? perhaps…?) after proving himself a traitorous dung-slinger…

    Posted May 8, 2008 at 3:17 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    You have the right guy, though of course he was never charged with any crimes, and many would differ with your characterization of him.

    Anyway, he’s allowed to write with bias; his job is to offer his opinions.

    Posted May 8, 2008 at 3:28 pm | Permalink
  3. I for one would allow any and all opinions to be aired… & I guess, that is one reason why I see most opinions as usually pretty worthless… My own as well…anyone can have them and broadcast them and change them exhibit them or hide them as they change or hide their undies…

    But when is the deliberate outing of an undercover agent of the CIA not a traitorous act, by an American?

    Posted May 8, 2008 at 4:05 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Well, some opinions are worth more than others, which is why folks like Novak, who have spent decades in the inner circles of politics, are paid well for theirs, and amateurs like us are not.

    Novak was curious as to why a Clinton crony and outspoken opponent of the current administration would have been chosen for the sensitive mission to Niger. He was told that it was because Wilson’s wife was an employee of the CIA, and had recommended him for the job. Novak maintains that he was not told that she was an undercover agent, but rather an “analyst”, and insists that if he had had any concern that mentioning her by name would have jeopardized any intelligence personnel or contacts abroad — which by all accounts it has not — he would not have even considered publishing it.

    As journalists often do, he was passing along information that had been deliberately leaked to him. I don’t doubt that the purpose of the leak was to discredit Wilson, whose bias has never been in question.

    Posted May 8, 2008 at 4:15 pm | Permalink
  5. the one eyed man says

    1) Wilson was a Clinton crony to the extent that he was Clinton’s Senior Director for African Affairs, as well as Ambassador to two African countries during his administration. He was appointed to his previous post as Ambassador to Iraq by George H. W. Bush, who described him as a “true American hero” for sheltering over one hundred Americans at the embassy and enabling thousands of others to leave Iraq. Why not describe him as a Bush crony?

    2) Wilson was not an outspoken opponent of the administration when he was asked to go to Niger. There were plenty of reasons to send him there besides his wife’s employment at the CIA, considering his years of diplomatic service in Africa and elsewhere.

    3) Wilson was right: Iraq was not trying to acquire uranium from Niger, and the sixteen words in the State of the Union were wrong. What does bias have to do with anything?

    Posted May 8, 2008 at 5:50 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    OK, fair enough. Wilson has been a highly partisan Democrat all along, which is why Novak was curious about his selection, but I don’t really have a dog in this fight, so I withdraw the characterizations. There is no question that Wilson had a distinguished diplomatic career.

    I’m not at all sure that Iraq wasn’t trying to buy yellowcake from Niger, however.

    Posted May 8, 2008 at 6:11 pm | Permalink
  7. the one eyed man says

    I don’t think Wilson was a partisan until after the op-ed piece came out. (Having your wife’s covert status as a CIA agent can do that to you). He served Presidents of both parties and went to Africa at the request of the current administration.

    In his article, Hitchens glosses over two essential facts:

    1) The meeting in Niger preceded the State of the Union speech by four years (Bush said that Iraq had “recently” tried to acquire “substantial quantities” of uranium)

    2) According to the Nigerian Prime Minister, uranium was never discussed during the meeting.

    The Hitchens piece is a lot of fluff meant to obscure the fact that the casus belli used in the SOTU speech was demonstrably false.

    Posted May 8, 2008 at 6:51 pm | Permalink
  8. Malcolm says

    Well that’s some pretty detail-packed “fluff”, and well-researched too.

    Actually, the famous line from the speech said the British had “learned” that Iraq was seeking uranium, which places the whole thing on interesting semantic footing, particularly as regards the common accusation that Bush’s infamous utterance was a “lie”. But I certainly don’t want this offhand post about the current election to devolve into another one of our infinite quarrels about the justification for the war in Iraq. Readers are invited to read the Hitchens piece, along with all the other oceans of material that the Plame brouhaha has generated, and draw their own conclusions.

    Posted May 8, 2008 at 10:24 pm | Permalink