Friday, October 03, 2003
The devil's in the details: Don Luskin has already a cursory shot at New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's latest offering and labeled and phantom corrections. I'd just like to echo Luskin's assessment of the labeled correction. I, too, was struck by the "I'm not the only person who's screwed up and made this mistake and anyway, it's not so bad because both things were 'unsordid.' "
Next time, Mr. Krugman, try writing it like this:
In my Sept. 30 column, I misquoted British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as having said the Marshall Plan was the most "unsordid act in history." The correct partial quotation should have read "the most unsordid act in the whole of human history." Also, the quote referred to the Lend-Lease Act, not the Marshall Plan.
I apologize for the mistakes.
On today's column, I would suggest that you check out JustOneMinute later today for a more in-depth analysis of Krugman's problematic article (once you're finished here, that is -- he ). I'd just like to point out one glaring error made in the first paragraph of Krugman screed #584719345.
[O]n July 14, Robert Novak published the now-famous column in which he identified Valerie Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, as a C.I.A. "operative on weapons of mass destruction," and said "two senior administration officials" had told him that she was responsible for her husband's mission to Niger. On that mission, Mr. Wilson concluded — correctly — that reports of Iraqi efforts to buy uranium were bogus. [emphasis added]
It may seem like splitting hairs, but details are very important when it comes to charging people with crimes and political payback.
You can find a copy of Wilson's New York Times op-ed here. Both Wilson and Krugman make similar mistakes with regard to the uranium issue, arguing that since there was no sale, that there was also no effort to purchase. (Minuteman made the same point with regard to other Times articles here.)
From Wilson's piece:
Then, in January, President Bush, citing the British dossier, repeated the charges about Iraqi efforts to buy uranium from Africa.
The next day, I reminded a friend at the State Department of my trip and suggested that if the president had been referring to Niger, then his conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them. He replied that perhaps the president was speaking about one of the other three African countries that produce uranium: Gabon, South Africa or Namibia. At the time, I accepted the explanation. I didn't know that in December, a month before the president's address, the State Department had published a fact sheet that mentioned the Niger case. [emphasis added]
I don't even find Wilson's "investigation" that impressive. I'd compare him to the infamous Inspector Clouseau, but that would be an insult to Clouseau.
I spent the next eight days drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people: current government officials, former government officials, people associated with the country's uranium business. It did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place.
Hey CIA, next time you're looking for someone to go to exotic locales to hang out by the pool and "investigate," send me -- I work cheap.