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.