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Why Did the White House Attack Joe Wilson?

Washington Monthly
By Kevin Drum

July 18, 2005
NUKES AND THE BASE....Step back from Plamegate for a moment and ask yourself a broader question: why did the White House react so violently to Joe Wilson's suggestion that the story about Saddam Hussein trying to procure uranium from Niger was false? After all, as conservative apologists never tire of pointing out, Wilson didn't really debunk George Bush's words in the 2003 State of the Union address. Bush said only that Saddam "sought" uranium from Africa, while Wilson merely provided evidence that no uranium ever changed hands. The fact is, Wilson's report didn't invalidate Bush's statement.

So why did the White House go nuts? What were they so scared of that they went into full-blown smear-and-destroy mode?

One of the advantages of living in Orange County is that I have plenty of centrist and conservative acquaintances, and one thing I've learned from them is that even among Bush's own supporters it was the possibility of Saddam getting hold of nukes that really scared them. Chemical and biological weapons were a bit of a yawn. Without nukes, even Bush sympathizers were skeptical about the whole Iraq adventure.

Since Karl Rove has much more sophisticated means of gauging public opinion than my occasional lunches with friends, he obviously knew this full well. And that means that he was hellbent on making a case in the SOTU that Saddam had an active nuke program. The problem is that even after sifting through every available rumor, analysis, and unconfirmed report, they were only able to come up with two meager pieces of evidence:

The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.

That's it. Uranium from Africa and aluminum tubes. It was pretty thin stuff.

But it turned out to be even thinner. Although conservatives insist with bilious disdain that the CIA was staffed by do-nothing bureaucrats afraid to follow the Iraqi WMD evidence where it led, the exact opposite was true. Although it's unclear how much of this was due to CIA culture and how much to White House pressure, the reality is that the CIA was far more bullish about Saddam's WMD programs than it should have been. They continued to report the uranium connection long after State Department analysts had made it clear that it was based on forged documents, and they continued to insist that the aluminum tubes were designed for centrifuges long after Department of Energy experts had conclusively debunked it.

Without those two things, there was no evidence left that Iraq was reconsituting its nuclear program aside from the procurement of a bit of dual use equipment and some hazy reporting of personnel movements. As the SSCI report concluded last year, "the judgment...that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program, was not supported by the intelligence."

In other words, the White House political operation wasn't lashing out just because of Joe Wilson. They were lashing out because they believed their political lives depended on their own supporters continuing to believe that Saddam had been actively working on a nuke program. Without that belief, they'd lose support within their own base even if they eventually found evidence of chem and bio programs.

In Karl Rove's world, the base is sacred, and nukes were the key to their support. Joe Wilson threatened to open a crack in that support, and that's why he had to be destroyed.



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Not as tyrants have we come, but as liberators - Adolf Hitler, 1938 -

This is so profound! I am amazed others have not responded to your thought!

With this bunch of very frightening people in charge it is all about keeping power, raw power regardless of everything else.

That has been obvious from the beginning. Someone (Cheney and the rest of his neoCONS) got George in a smoke filled room and said you run, we will get you in the Whitehouse then we can do what we want.

It has nothing to do with this country and its people and everything to do with their pathalogical need for power.

I hope all of us, the press, and the American people have learned this time, that we have only been used and vow to never let it happen again.

None of us can afford to be lazy. Power goes out of control when we don't stay on top of things. What has and is going on in D.C. right now is a prime example.

The only thing I feel good about is knowing my outrage is shared by others and in increasing numbers.

PNAC = NSDAP! They're only missing the brown-shirts and the armbands. Tactics are the same.

What we are witnessing is not necessarily about immediate power, nor is it a new game from the so-called Neocons. Everything going on predates the current Bush. It's all about something George (the 1st) talked about in the late 80's which he lovingly referred to as the New World Order. George sr. needed to be elected to a second term to really set his plan in motion, but we the people had had enough and elected Clinton, twice (to senior's chagrin). The New World Order during that time became a non-profit organization and was renamed The Project for the New American Century, headed by the likes of Rumsfeld, Rove, Cheney and Jeb Bush. The Clinton era really put the brakes on the first George's plan - New World Order by the turn of the century. Due to a rapidly expanding American citizen's world view, a better economy and the rise of technological advances, electronic media outlets and the internet, it looked like it was getting increasingly more difficult to pull the wool over our eyes. They had to act quickly because George the 1st is growing old. When they won(?) the election in 2000 they needed to create a boogeyman, a common enemy, that we would all rally against. The easiest way to do that was to create a new Pearl Harbor, the WTC incident. It went off without a hitch, it went so well that Congress didn't question it. They did question the intelligence and created the Patriot Act, which many in America stood behind, sadly throwing away freedom in exchange for security (New World Order - testing the water, how many can be succesfully brainwashed?). We flew flags, we wrote songs about our flags, we waved our flags while we sang songs about our flags. We went into Afghanistan to find Osama, leader of the new boogeymen, he's still at large. We went into Iraq, for the oil... I mean, for democracy (New World Order). We went into Iraq to find Saddam. We found Saddam pretty quick, unlike Osama who probably knows the best way to hide is to remain in plain sight. But who needs to hide at all when the leader of the free world has got your back? Here's food for thought: Does George Jr. know that the men he is surrounded by are working to forward his father's vision? Does he know that Rove did something wrong? Does he think the best way to fight terrorists, most of whom were Suadis, is to go to war in Iraq? Is it possible that the answer to those questions is NO? Is it possible he's just a burned out ex-coke abuser who just reads the same scripted speech over and over because it's what dad tells him to do? I'm not saying that exonerates him, but it does make him a very bad president. Sadly, being a bad president, if that's the case, is not a means for impeachment. But the uncovering of the truth behind the lies as they relate to the old men from the administration of George the 1st and removing those men should be the ultimate goal of any free thinking member of this great country. Without those men, George the 2nd would become a true lame duck. Any investigations done with zeal and vigor should uncover a large web of deceit and betrayal leading back to the Reagan administration, an actor reading a script, with George the 1st standing in the background, smiling and nodding as the leader of the free world espouses another old man's rhetoric.

Additionally, I truly believe that if George the 2nd was not an option going into the new millenium then we would be talking about Jeb or Neil, with exactly the same players and same situation that we are witnessing today.

I agree that all this goes back to the first Bush administration and even Reagan. The same people in charge now were there then, remember Rumsfeld shaking Saddam's hand in the 80's! I just wonder who is to blame. Alot of people blame the Democrat's or Republican's or the media or whatever. The problem is nobody ever remembers history, short and long. Short term is the Reagan Administration's illegal dealings with Contra's and hostage takers and failed economic policies (trickle down) etc. To the many comparisons to Facisim. That's right! If you did your homework in school you would recognize the many similarities to what was said then and what is being said now. Even during the run up to the war there were people desputing what the presidents people were saying. Joe Wilson and Scott Ritter come to mind. It doesn't take a huge amount of time to learn the true facts if you just take a moment to read a newspaper or watch a newscast. If people just took a few minutes a day to see what was happening in the world, Bush and company could never get away with it. To find out who's to blame for our current situation one need not look any further than their own mirror!

Irving Kristol started this mess...remember? His son William Kristol founded "Project for a New American Century" PNAC , the culprit(evil wizard behind the curtain) behind the current mess. Disbanding and disabling PNAC will be a beginning of ridding ourselves of the root cause of this neo-fascism. Americans want democracy HERE, and we don't have it with these neo-fascists in our midst.

Do not give up the fight! Many people are waking up to the realization that this is deeper than the WTC attack. This stretches back pretty far and we have got to get as many people as we can to open their eyes. It seems too often that we are being ignored, however, the more emails we send and the more we put our signatures on petitions the quicker this will all come to a head! You have got to contact your reps on BOTH sides of the aisle about this. They will have to face the music eventually, nobody is getting out of this unscathed!


I am gratified to read that there are many others of us here who are firmly convinced that the Bush administration is nothing but a gand of fascist Nazis. Repulsive, Repugnant Republicans CAN NOT BE TRUSTED WITH POWER! Just examine what has happened since 1972 with Republicans in some form of control.

The evil doers are in our midst and we all must fight to defeat them before it is too late for the America we all love.

and it ain't American... it's PNAC & Zionist combined.

I believe we have to watch ALL folks with this agenda and the money laundering and lobbying that continually goes on to achieve this anti-American NEOCON AGENDA regardless of party, or we will be woefully naive and caught off guard. Our American children will be continually paying the price with their blood with this "generational commitment" (quote is Condi's words).

The parallels between the Nazis and the Noecons are to many, and too striking to be ignored. Let's hope America wakes up before it's too late.

That's why they try to dilute it, debunk it, or completely ignore it. It's easier than just biting the bullet and dealing with it.

In many cases we can overlook this kind of behavior and accept it as human nature. But not now. Not with this. There is too much at stake.

We are talking about the very legitimacy of American government. The lies MUST NOT be excused. We must continue to bear the rhetorical slings, arrows and semantic spin of the radical apologist right for as long as it takes.

Keep fighting the good fight!


Read my post below, see if it doesn't explain, at least in part, their reasons for not biting the bullet. They have an agenda and our opinions are entirely irrelevant. If George the 1st gets another of his puppets elected in 2008, THE WORLD WILL BE UP SH*T'S CREEK!!!

i agree in the overall thouhgt ...but in this case the war was on an the base was along for the ride an rah rah the chief an all that also during this time frame rove an the apparatus's talking points begin to shift to a "liberation of iraq" theme "for the people" , "freedom is on the march" ..even the administration was conciding (hell tenet admitted that the "yellow cake" story was iffy) that the info for the inclusion of the yellow cake tie between niger an iraq was based of forged this was not solely motivated for the base ....libby's involvement proves this....somehow rove an cheney hand in glove over the base quash anyone (reporter , govt official , or agent of the u.s.) from daring to speak out against this adminstration had to come hard ,fast , furious and from all this makes sense for a cheney/rove goes to the heart of this entire debate ...forget all the who said what (an exactly what), when they said it and to whom to decide criminal charges ...IT THE F@#$%$# INTENT.....the intent was to make an example of those who spoke up and against this white house an the thought of spilling the name of a cia asset gave them no puase (although you wonder why gonzales was served to testify at the grand jury) maybe some pause...they did chose carefully (wording) how the outed plame, seems they had some knowledge and counsel on the laws on the books that are being applied at present ....

Frank Rich of the NY Times had an excellent article in this past Sunday's Times which you can access on the web. the main point he makes is not whether Rove committed a crime but that this administration smears anyone who gets at the truth of what they really went to war about, e.g., Paul O'Neil, Richard Clarke, etc. They are a bunch of hatchet men.

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