Nov 10, 2005

Ambassador Joe Wilson @ Cal

Last night, the Goldman School of Public Policy hosted "A Conversation with Ambassador Joseph Wilson" at the I-house.

He spoke about his many years as a diplomat in Africa, how it was a choice between him and some other guy to explore the yellowcake issue in Niger, and how he went to Niger, not as a spy ("I don't do clandestine"), but out of service to his country.

What I've always wanted to know was specifically how Wilson arrived at the conclusion that the Bush administration's claim - that Iraq tried to obtain uranium from Africa, thereby justifying the U.S. invasion - was untrue. Wilson, familiar with the mining industry in Africa ("I am not a WMD expert"), went into some detail to explain what "yellowcake" is, and the kind of resources you'd need (people, machinery, water, etc.) to separate the ore, not to mention the paper trail that has to be in place for everything to be legit. Even if this was done off the books, Wilson said, we're talking about 500 tons of unenriched uranium - it would not go unnoticed.

After a brief Q & A session, Wilson said that if he were to boil the evening's conversation down to a core issue - or "moral of the story," if you will - it's what he has been saying all along: Yes, people who work in government work very hard, but it is our duty, as Americans, to be tireless in our efforts to hold these individuals accountable for their actions. This country has strayed so far away from its greatness, both here and abroad. Wilson said that this country is currently being run by a bunch of “radicals rallying under the banner of republicanism” — but what they are doing instead is damaging our country and not caring about the ripple effect these actions will have in the long run.


Scaramouche said...

Nice write up on the evening. You might want to cross post this over at the Barbarian Blog for the folks who missed the invte.

Scaramouche said...

I put an update on your post BARBARIAN Blog: Joe Wilson Recap with a link to the webcast of the event.

Gothamimage said...

Shortly before Wilson wrote his op-ed , I recall hearing from a retired diplomat that no one took the Niger threat seriously. Even if Iraq bought the Ore, they would need massive amounst of machinery to enrich it. If they decided to enrich it - it would be detected by gamma ray detectors and other means.

Now - Cheney and the crowd must have known that many Wilson's were out there, who knew this - But they were hoping these distinctions would be lost on the public - For a while, it worked - but once trust is broken, it's gone.

Everyone knows Wilson was telling the truth - it's a big kabuki dance, pretending to investigate and uncover.

They hate Wilson, not because he is lying, but because he didn't lie.

Ironically - the modern right wing was built on a rebellion against the establishment liberals who protected Hiss against Nixon - For years, conservative suspected, with some justification, that liberals hated Nixon so much, not because he was wrong about Hiss, but because he was right - and that was embarassing. If Libby the new Hiss?