Washington Post reporters Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus surprised yesterday with a slightly negative piece on Joseph Wilson, the U.S. diplomat turned discredited anti-war actvist whose wife Valerie Plame is the center of Patrick Fitzgerald's rinvestigation that has Democrats salivating and Republicans bracing over possible indictments.
But before the Post notes that in retrospect, it wasn't the best idea for Joseph Wilson and wife Valerie to pose for Vanity Fair, or for him to sign up for the Kerry campaign or (as the Post gently put its) "misstating some aspects of the Niger affair," they credit him for making a Bush claim invalid (emphasis added): "Wilson's central assertion -- disputing President Bush's 2003 State of the Union claim that Iraq was seeking nuclear material in Niger -- has been validated by postwar weapons inspections. And his charge that the administration exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq has proved potent."
Sigh. Back on October 12, 2003, then-Post ombudsman Michael Getler wrote:
"On Oct. 4, The Post made an obvious mistake on the front page, reporting that chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay had found 'no evidence for another one of Bush's key claims--that Iraq sought uranium in Niger.' Bush referred to Africa, not Niger, in the now famous 16 words in his State of the Union speech."
Two years later, and the Post is still making the same "obvious mistake" -- one that just happens to reflect badly on Bush.