Roger L. Simon

Getting Your Durantes Straight

The on-going Plame Wilson Wars are making me think that no one stands for anything substantive anymore, only the preservation of their own power. [Boy, are you asleep?–ed. That’s been going on since the beginning of time. Didn’t you read Machiavelli in Humanities 1?] The idea that The New York Times could be defending someone like Joseph C. Wilson is risible, as is their lame defense, which ignores many of the basic accusations against the former diplomat.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post’s ombudsman seems more level-headed in his response to a letter from Wilson to that paper in which the honesty-challenged diplomat–like a blow-dry Kruschev banging his shoe on the table– inveighs against the attacks on him in the “Republican-written report” when everyone knows the Senate Intelligence Committee Report was bi-partisan. Go figure.

I’m still waiting for a serious non-partisan investigation of the real reason Wilson went to Niger, but I’m not holding my breath. I guess a decade or so from now there will be some interesting analyses. At the same time, I’m wondering about the curious silence regarding hugely inflammatory reports being bandied about by Paul McGeough in the Sydney Morning Herald and elsewhere that Dr. Ayad Allawi shot six people in cold blood days before becoming the Iraqi Prime Minister. (Well, not complete silence. The “impartial” Robin Cook is demanding an investigation by the Red Cross.) If this proves to be a rumor, McGeough has called a man a murderer in a major publication without anything but a wisp of proof and deserves to go to journalism jail. I wonder if the Sydney Morning Herald will have the morals to let him go. If they don’t, maybe we should make McGeough the first winner of a prize in honor of this Durante, excuse me this Duranty.

UPDATE: Matthew Continetti has the most thorough explication de texte of the Wilson situation so far. Nicholas Kristof plays the role here of the “Gulled Gentleman” in what is beginning to sound suspiciously like a Restoration Comedy, if it weren’t so serious.

MORE: And on the Durante/Duranty front, this is interesting.