The more I hear from Ambassador Joe Wilson, the more I'm impressed. And not just
because of his current stand against the Bush administration's misguided foray (understatement?) into Iraq, but also for his astonishing stand against Saddam Hussein a decade ago.
In an interview with Terry Gross on NPR, Wilson described how Hussein threatened anyone harboring foreigners with death. Wilson was supposed to turn in some Americans to be registered, but he feared they'd become hostages. The choice was between their lives or his. Ambassador Wilson appeared at his next press briefing with a noose around his neck, rather than a tie, refusing to turn over the Americans and basically saying, "Here I am, Saddam, come get me."
He also detailed the psychological campaign he waged against Hussein to get him to eventually release all the hostages he had, starting with the women and children after Wilson and crew questioned his manliness.
Wilson was the last American to meet with Hussein before the first Gulf War.
This is a guy who lived in Iraq and stared Hussein down. This is a man who put his own life quite literally on the line to save the lives of American women and children.
This is the man whose family the Bush administration tried to trash when he presented honest evidence that proved contrary to that which they had presented.
Wilson's new memoir is The Politics of Truth.
*As per President George H. W. Bush
Update 06/17/05: Reviewing this post a good year and change later, I have to say my view of Wilson is a little more complex. I suspect, he may not come out of the Plame affair entirely untainted. That doesn't make his actions during the Hussein administration any less heroic. People are complex, aren't they?