October 28, 2005

What I Don't Get...

Hatched by Dafydd

And maybe somebody can help me, is why bother mentioning Wilson's wife at all?

Here is the problem: Joe Wilson was sent to Africa by the CIA (by whatever means) to investigate the claim that Iraq had tried to purchase yellowcake from Niger. When he returned, he said during his debriefing several things that made the charge seem more likely (the speculation from the prime minister of Niger, for example).

But then he turned around and began leaking lies to the press, and eventually went public in an op-ed lie in the New York Times (find it here to avoid those annoying ads), to the effect that he had found the precise opposite: Wilson pretended that he had found no evidence of Iraq trying to buy Uranium in Africa, that he told the CIA this, that it was passed up the chain, and that Bush had deliberately told a falsehood in his State of the Union address.

All right, so there was a problem: the public was being spoonfed the Joe-Wilson confabulation that he had debunked the claim that later made its way into the president's speech. And I agree, that needed to be countered.

But how the hell does it counter that point to say that Wilson was suggested for the job by his CIA wife, Valerie Plame? Who cares?

Suppose Wilson's false leaks were instead true: suppose he had actually disproven the claim, and suppose Bush had deliberately used a false claim to take us to war. Would the fact that Joe had been suggested by Mrs. Joe have made such a presidential lie all right?

Of course not. As juicy a tidbit of gossip as that was, it was a complete non-sequitur to the most urgent point, which was to refute Joseph Wilson's lies. Am I wrong?

The correct line of attack -- why didn't they listen to me? -- would have been for the president to immediately declassify and openly release to the press Wilson's CIA defbriefing. That would have been perfectly legal, and unlike what they did, it would have been devastating to Wilson's slander and libel of the Bush administration.

I guess my conclusion is that Republicans in general and the Bush administration in particular are terrible dirty fighters. I mean that literally: at the skill of being a dirty fighter, they're wretchedly incompetent! The real problem is that they have so little practice. Their hearts just aren't in it. Unlike the Leftist fantasy, Bush just hasn't slimed, smeared, or destroyed enough people, the way the Clintons did every day and twice on Rosh Hashonah.

Republicans need to watch a marathon of Mission: Impossible.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 28, 2005, at the time of 5:00 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Tommy V

The answer to this is because the administration didn't think they were fighting dirty. They were trying to respond to a question that arose from a misperception (that I beleive was deliberate, though never actually stated) that it was Cheney's office that sent a Bush critic on this errand to Africa. Cheney's office responded that it wasn't them that sent him, but his wife.

In reference to the idea of declassifying information: Because Wilson never actually authored a written report there was some confusion about what he, in fact, did find. It wasn't until later on that all the information was deciphered and correlated so the conclusion was found that Wilson was being, at best, not entirely accurate in his infamous op-ed.

The above hissed in response by: Tommy V [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 28, 2005 6:04 PM

The following hissed in response by: paul

She was brought in to counter Wilson's insinuation that he had been sent to Africa at the request of the VP. In other words, Joe Wilson had told Cheney that Iraq wasn't trying to acquire uranium but the evil warmonger went ahead and pushed the false charge anyway. By bringing her in it was pointed out that this was a nepotistic CIA operation with no relation to the White House. Sipping mint tea with the bwanas was the hook this hung on. It was a clumsy attempt to make him look like the lying smuck he is. Too bad the VP didn't start pointing out Wilson's ties to the Saudi think tanks and his anti-Israel rants.

You're right, it would have been much better to simply declassify Wilson's report.

The above hissed in response by: paul [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 28, 2005 6:07 PM

The following hissed in response by: pbswatcher

There was probably also an element of exposing the anti-Bush insurrection at the CIA. That insurrection seems to be gaining the upper hand, having now grown a permanent investigative arm under Fitzgerald. See Fact Finding

The above hissed in response by: pbswatcher [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 28, 2005 6:29 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

In addition to the reasons mentioned above, I think there was also a desire to point out that Wilson was sent because he "had connections" as opposed to being selected because he was highly qualified. Sort of like saying that due to her friendship with GWB Harriet Miers didn't have to be as qualified to be nominated to SCOTUS as someone else would have had to be. In the Miers case we'll never know how things would have worked out but in Wilson's case I think the facts are obvious.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 28, 2005 6:40 PM

The following hissed in response by: cdquarles


The 9/11 Commission and/or the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a public report debunking Joseph Wilson's claims. The White House had no need to release something that didn't exist, that is, a classified written report by Joseph Wilson. What I find fascinating is that Fitzgerald, et al, still claim that Valerie Plame's name was first released to the media via Scooter Libby when it is easy to find public published reports showing otherwise.

The above hissed in response by: cdquarles [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 28, 2005 7:57 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith


I can't seem to leave trackbacks on your posts today. Have you disabled that feature?

I've responded to your post in more detail than my comment above at http://smalltownveteran.typepad.com/posts/2005/10/so_why_out_plam.html. An excerpt:

Dafydd ab Hugh asks "Why bother mentioning Wilson's wife at all?" and goes on: ...

Dafydd goes on to suggest what he thinks should have been done instead of outing Valerie Plame. Go read the rest of his post here. I'll agree that what Dafydd suggests should have been done in addition to outing Plame, but I also think there are valid answers to Dafydd's question:

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 28, 2005 9:21 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Bill Faith:

No, trackbacks are working fine. I've had problems on some sites where the trackback times out. I don't know how TypePad works, but here on Movable Type, which I think is TypePad's kissin' cousin, there is a configuration file in the Movable Type directory called mt-config.cgi.

One of the lines you can set there is the timeout variable, the number of seconds it will continue to try to connect up with another site (for trackbacks and such) before giving up.

I had to reset mine to 120 seconds, since I was timing out a lot; that means that when I post, if there is a trackback, and if the other site doesn't respond, I may have to wait up to two minutes before the publishing goes through. But I almost never time out now... and a lot of trackbacks get through that didn't get through before.

The line I reset looks like this:

PingTimeout 120

Again, I don't know if you can set this in TypePad. Do you have an Activity Log? When I look at mine, I get very useful information on bad ping attempts, such as:

Ping 'http://www.realclearpolitics.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/50' failed: This TrackBack item is disabled.

...which tells me that posts at Real Clear Politics generate a trackback URL -- but they have disabled trackback, the dolts. That means that every time I link to one of their posts, I'll automatically generate a trackback that will automatically buy me an error!

If you check your Activity Log (if TypePad has one), we might be able to figure out why it failed.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 28, 2005 10:49 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dana Pico

From what I've heard (maybe someone has a source), Ambassador Wilson's report couldn't be declassified and published because it was never written: he gave an oral debriefing, not a written report. If that is the case, whatever he reported is subject to the interpretations of whomever was taking the notes at the debriefing.

If that's the case, it seems pretty slipshod to me. How can we send someone on a supposedly important mission like that, and not require a written report?

And, of course, if that's the case, what Mr Wilson wrote in his New York Times article can't be debunked with what the CIA told the Senate committee was reported by him; such could quickly be refuted by a claim that the note taker misinterpreted Mr Wilson's statements in the debriefing.

The above hissed in response by: Dana Pico [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 29, 2005 9:07 AM

The following hissed in response by: pbswatcher

It took me a bit to figure out why Fitzgerald doesn't want to admit that Plame was not a covert agent. See I'm A Little Slow

The above hissed in response by: pbswatcher [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 29, 2005 12:34 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith


Thank you for your detailed response to my question about trackbacks.  My first reaction was to respond to it via email, then I decided that responding in your comments might help someone else, or possibly prompt someone else to add something useful to the discussion. If I've made the wrong choice please feel free to delete this comment.

You are correct that TypePad is a close relative of Movable Type. TypePad is a limited (though not terribly so) version of Movable Type hosted by Six Apart, the company that owns Movable Type. So far I've found the limitations of TypePad vs. a full-blown version of MT acceptable as, apparently, have a growing multitude of other bloggers. On the other hand I don't seem to have access to my mt-config file (which I'm guessing is shared by  numerous other TypePad users) or to an activity log.

On a possibly related note, TypePad's CEO emailed the company's customers yesterday owning up to the fact that recently there have been some service degradations and laying out a plan for solving the problem. In a nutshell, they've outgrown their existing facility and are in the process to moving to someplace larger, where they can put enough more servers online to provide better service than they have in the recent past. I'm satisfied with their game plan and have no intention of jumping ship.

TypePad has definitely had some problems leaving trackback pings lately, quite possibly due to the timeout problem you mentioned as a possible cause. On several occasions recently I've successfully used Simpletracks or Wizbang's Standalone Trackback Pinger to leave trackbacks after TypePad failed to. I guess what set off my alarm bells yesterday was that even after the Wizbang pinger told me I'd successfully left a trackback on your post it still didn't show up. My first guess at the time was that you'd implemented trackback moderation on the post (It happened on two of your posts, actually.), which apparently you hadn't. After I had the same experience later on two other sites (one TypePad site and one full-blown Moveable Type site) my paranoia kicked in and I started wondering whether someone claiming to be me had done something to earn me a spot on the MT-blacklist roster. I don't really think I'm important enough for anyone to bother doing that, but I'm still at a loss to explain what did happen. For now, I guess I'll just have to take time to leave comments with imbedded links in those situations where I'd normally leave a trackback but can't, and watch the net for mention that anyone else is having similar problems.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 29, 2005 2:36 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

Just a quick follow-up on my last comment (about trackbacks: The other MT site that didn't accept my trackback last night just accepted it (from TypePad) with no problems a few minutes ago. I have no idea who hosts their site, or yours, but I'm wondering whether one of the big hosting companies might have had some sort of temporary glitch last night.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 29, 2005 3:01 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

Oops, that last comment isn't going to make sense to your readers for a while. I just grokked the fact that (if I'm right)you hold comments for review if and only if they contain links. Sorry for the confusion.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 29, 2005 3:03 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Bill Faith:

No, it's automatic -- and it's held for moderation if there are three or more links... and evidently, even the name link counts as a link!

But fear not; when I approve the comment (as I have above), it appears in its proper sequence (as you see!)

I'll just make you a trusted commenter, and then you won't have to suffer through moderation heck.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 29, 2005 4:06 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

Dafydd, that would be wonderful. I'd promise if you do I'll be one of your most loyal fans, but I already am.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 29, 2005 7:23 PM

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