In Praise of Joe Wilson

Suddenly the name Joe Wilson is back in the news and lots of liberals are trashing it. I have to break from the pack on this one and note that Joe Wilson was a patriot who stood up for his country and did what had to be done in the time when such a thing was a lot to ask of a guy. Joe Wilson stood bravely even when he was humiliated by the president and his goons and the lives of his family were threatened. I mean, I feel the criminality of Joe Wilson’s treatment at the hands of the administration rises to the level of impeachable offense.

Oh yeah, I wasn’t talking about the current goof, South Carolina Republican, Addison Graves “Joe” Wilson. The latest in the long line of GOP buffoons to attempt to make their name by calling the president names? No way! Addison Graves Wilson is as much a “Joe Wilson” as Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher was a plumber. I was talking about an actual American hero. Let’s face it, the GOP section’s audience reactions to Obama’s big Health Care Speech Wednesday were anything but heroic. If that was the crowd representing me, I’d hide. No wonder they keep those people in the back row. You saw the kind of behavior that gives neighborhoods a bad name.

The current politician in the news, the latest “brave patriot Republican” to do the brave patriot thing–of hurling insults from afar while in a pack of sullen buddies acting tough in the balcony–is not the kind of Joe Wilson I think we should remember. Joe Wilson is a cool name. It shouldn’t be squandered on jerks in the peanut gallery. Whether you agree that the president lied in saying that government money would pay for immigrant healthcare, or should I say continue to pay for government health care, is beside the point.

But here’s the point as to Wilson’s lie remark: Right now if a person goes into an emergency room and needs care they get it. Just to double check, do you, dear readers, prefer hospitals to deny folks service in the emergency rooms?
Think about it.

If the answer is “no,” you are not the kind of goon who would leave the sick and wounded to die in the streets. Then you have to see that currently, “yes,” the desperately poor and sick get their emergency room treatments as a government treat, citizenship or no. Again the question: leave the sick and dying to rot on street corners because of immigration paperwork?

Do we really want hospitals denying folks service and leaving them to die on the sidewalks. Imagine the fumigation bill that entails to keep downtown areas tourist friendly. If you’re down for that sort of thing, then the rest of America, the majority of Americans btw, though not the majority of Americans shown on TV these days, the majority is right to work against you. But to Wilson’s point: Are there provisions in the health care bills Obama was discussing that set up new protocols for paying for undocumented immigrants? No.

And the fellow, I shan’t call ‘gentleman,’ from South Carolina knew that. Like a herd of jocks over in the corner misbehaving at a school assembly, the Republican supposed leadership paced, taunted, and puffed themselves up, until somebody went too far. And, just like they say, everybody thinks it’s funny until someone gets caught. And now it’s freaking hilarious, right?

Again think of the kind of person who looks up to such behavior. If you’re argument’s good, you don’t have to be a jerk to make it. If you’re wrong being a jerk about it just proves it. Is that the kind of person you’d look up to: the rude jock telling fart jokes while the principal was talking about the cancer fund? It’s not the kind of image I’d want representing me.

Now the real Joe Wilson was very much not a jerk when he told his president off. Of course, back then the president was Bush, it was 2002, and he was illegally assembling fake evidence to prosecute a case for an unnecessary and illegal war. Award winning diplomat, Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, was the “go to guy” on Africa, having served under numerous presidents in African postings going back to the mid 70s. When the Bush propaganda machine was ginning up the war on Iraq, Wilson was sent to verify what was already widely considered as a false accusation that Iraq was buying uranium ore from Niger, the famous false “African Yellowcake” story, the press let us ignore.

At first Wilson followed protocol and reported that the story was false through proper channels. By the way at the time, that was what the CIA was saying about Iraq and nuclear weapons as well. But some speech writer somewhere was in love with the phrase, “the smoking gun in the shape of a mushroom cloud;” so Bush goes ahead and makes the assertion anyway with his famous “16 words” from another presidential speech delivered to the joint Houses of Congress.

After the speech and after Bush got to start his war, you know the one we’re still fighting, the real Joe Wilson also called his president a liar for all the world to see. It wasn’t just a cheap catcall from the bleacher seats either. In fact he didn’t even use the word “liar” anywhere in the text of his piece. Instead Joe Wilson proved it. In a thoroughly documented article published in the July 3, 2003 edition of the New York Times, Joe Wilson published a piece called, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa” demonstrating that the Bush admin knew better when they claimed Hussein was pursuing, not even having, merely pursuing, nuclear weapons. Now in this case, since the president knew something wasn’t true and said it anyway, that makes him a … well, you get the point.

In response back then, a GOP admin to a Dem troublemaker, staffers for the vice president’s office wound up taking the fall for leaking to the press that Wilson’s wife was a CIA covert agent, one with a thoroughly blown cover these days. Though the trail led straight to Cheney’s desk, henchman, Scooter Libby, eventually stood trial and was found guilty of obstruction of justice. As many have noted, exposing the identity of a secret agent in a time of war is the kind of thing folks have faced firing squads for, Bush instead issued a partial pardon.

So we have one situation where a certain Joe Wilson, a fierce supporter of Strom Thurmond and member of a Confederate loyalist group that seeks to justify slavery, I mean, the kind of guy who makes such an ass of himself that the entire GOP ought to swap the Dems for the donkey logo, who calls out “You Lie!” when he’s lying himself. And in the other situation we have a man with a lifetime of distinguished diplomatic service (winner of three different State Department Distinguished Service Awards), who researches the issue thoroughly, risks his career and, ultimately his wife’s life, to speak out at a major untruth, not a quibbling misrepresentation.

I think it’s clear which Wilson deserves to be thought of as a regular Joe.

Mikel Weisser teaches social studies and poetry on the left coast of Arizona. He can be reached at Read other articles by Mikel.

18 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. beverly said on September 15th, 2009 at 8:26pm #

    Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie” outburst was the truest thing spoken during Obama’s speech. Given the fact that Obama’s idea of health care reform:
    – is a bureaucratic nightmare that will leave a crap load of people uninsured/underinsured;
    -is being molded by Papa Insurance and Big Pharma;
    -will use tax dollars to subsidize purchase of private insurance when said dollars could be used for a proven cost effective, quality providing health care system already in place for all citizens called Medicare;
    -will divert funds from Medicare/caid to fund Obamacare;
    -won’t go into full effect until AFTER 2012 election;
    -public option if it’s included won’t be able to bargain with Big Pharma to get lower prices;
    -and most important – won’t eliminate the biggest problem with health insurance – it being tied to one’s employment;

    we all better hope the tea baggers, racists, and right wing zealots prevail in derailing Obama’s version of Massachusetts already failed insurance reform model. The feckless Left sure as hell aren’t doing shit to push for better.

    Wilson’s outburst may have been for all the wrong reasons (his zeal to protect insurance industry power brokers with a bit of racism thrown in for good measure) but at least he’s vehemently standing up for something. If only the Democratic politicians in Congress and out along with the liberals and progressives who love them would show some “outburst” spirit and stop kowtowing and selling out their constituents to corporate interests every time. Maybe HR 676 would be a reality by now along with a shit load of other things that need fixing.

  2. Deadbeat said on September 16th, 2009 at 12:52am #

    beverly writes …
    The feckless Left sure as hell aren’t doing shit to push for better.

    So true. So very true. This is why I was becoming anxious over the demand for “single payer”. I couldn’t understand why the Left went along with framing health care as single payer and as a human right. What does that mean? A person doesn’t have a right to a home since housing is a commodity yet can see some allopathic quack.

    My point is that the Left is NOT making DEMANDS and the Left is not engaging in any real form of civil disobedience. Only when the Left does that will there ever be a single payer system in the U.S.

    I appreciate beverly’s very honest and pointed assessment of the Left.

  3. bozh said on September 16th, 2009 at 7:20am #

    In canada and many lands, both the Left and the Right appreciate their respective system of medico/surgical treatments.
    i do not ask people to what degree they are united for maintaining the system; however, i have not heard one person complain about can’n system.

    In US, the Left left on own cannot change any wrong in US let alone present delivery of medical care, cessation of warfare, etc.
    Even in canada, the Left may infiltrated by dissemblers or people for an ad hoc or perssonal cause.
    And once ‘jews’ infiltrate any org, that org soon is seriously damaged or taken over by ‘jews’ who support theft of land, commonly called “imperialism’ and “zionism” and which terms most people do not understand; or, at least not, to the degree that one wld call what ‘jews’ and USans do “theft of land with murder in mind”
    What s’mthing is called does matter enormously. I think most of us see the difference btwn using terms like “collateral damage” instead of “death/maimings of innocents”, and “refugees” instead of expelees who leave their homes under the threat of being executed or actually seeing execution of own kin, instead of “expellees”.
    One can also use the label “displaced” as displaced by storm, tsunami, etc. or refugee as in a person’s taking refuge from hail, storm, flood, etc.

  4. Martha said on September 16th, 2009 at 8:00am #

    Amen to what Beverly and Deadbeat said.

  5. lichen said on September 16th, 2009 at 2:16pm #

    Yes, joe wilson was scum, and I hope his whole psuedo-movement fails; they are the idiots who would be protesting even harder single-payer, which right wingers such as deadbeat are against. I hope they fail, and choke on their racist little flags. Thankfully all of us who are actually on the left and actually support single-payer have acted on that fact; we just don’t get the publicity that carpetbagger scumbags do.

  6. kalidas said on September 16th, 2009 at 5:45pm #

    Carpetbagger scumbags!
    Haven’t heard that one lately.
    Isn’t that anti-semitic?

    Oh… never mind.

  7. Danny Ray said on September 16th, 2009 at 6:45pm #

    My guess is that Lichen would not know a carpet bagger if one bit her on the ass.

  8. lichen said on September 16th, 2009 at 7:31pm #

    Oh yes, every post of mine on this site is antisemitic, which is the reason why the IDF has to turn their machine guns on Palestinian children walking to school. But if not carpetbagger, or scumbags, or teabags, perhaps we will call the noble people marching against “”socialism”” trashbags?

  9. Annie Ladysmith said on September 16th, 2009 at 10:50pm #

    i HATE ‘modern’ medicine, i HATE THE CORRUPT

  10. Annie Ladysmith said on September 16th, 2009 at 11:06pm #

    OPPS! i Hate ‘modern’ medicine, i HATE the corrupt AMA, who are just as corrupt as the US gov. in waging an all-out illegal war in a poverty stricken country, i HATE all the money-grubbing lawyers that scam trillions from malpractise suits, giving a small %, o! could they spare it, to the victims themselves, i HATE the big Asshole drug companies that could care less who dies on there tainted crap as long as their profits soar, i Hate the institutionalized hospitals full of dysfunctional, unprofessional workers, and i Hate the arrogant doctors that know nothing but never admit it, and would charge you a kidney for giving you a vaccine jab of toxic, dangerous, live virus that the criminal FDA has rendered ‘safe’, if they could. Why does anyone desire this system to go on in ANY form. It dosn’t need to be changed, it needs to be nuked. Wake up! You loose either way.

  11. Deadbeat said on September 16th, 2009 at 11:07pm #

    lichen writes…

    Yes, joe wilson was scum, and I hope his whole psuedo-movement fails; they are the idiots who would be protesting even harder single-payer, which right wingers such as deadbeat are against. I hope they fail, and choke on their racist little flags. Thankfully all of us who are actually on the left and actually support single-payer have acted on that fact; we just don’t get the publicity that carpetbagger scumbags do.

    As I have consistently requested of lichen who can seem to only debate via AD HOMINEM is to provide EVIDENCE TO BACK UP YOUR SMEARS otherwise go ahead and fight for the “right” to see an allopathic QUACK who will pump you fill of pharmacudicals while as you stated that you were homeless won’t be able to have any SHELTER AS A HUMAN RIGHT and get sick again because you have no SHELTER.

    Look lichen the only way anything is realized in the U.S. is when the Left scares the SHIT out of the ruling class with RADICAL DEMANDS not half-ass demands like single payer. Single payer is NOT RADICAL enought. Yes it is the right solution but you need to offer a RADICAL DEMAND just so that you’ll get single payer.

    If anyone is “reactionary” it is you lichen because you are not making any real demands. You just farting around and are pissed off with me because YOU CANNOT HANDLE THE TRUTH.


  12. lichen said on September 17th, 2009 at 2:02pm #

    Yes, deadbeat, you are reactionary, and you constantly come here to attack the left, left actions, and left positions, so why shouldn’t I mention you alongside the far-right, who also take glee in attacking left positions, left people, left movements. You don’t care if you alienate or annoy us with your constant attack of ‘the left,’ and you agree with people who come on here to praise the far-right.

    A movement for guaranteed housing is obviously a separate, but overlapping action to advocating for single-payer. Joining one or the other movement with direct action is therefore the productive way to move forward; not attacking single-payer advocates for allegedly not including guaranteed housing in their program. It is as was said before, all you can do is make negative comments; you are like trotskyists, who say over and over again that everything, and everyone sucks.

  13. rosemarie jackowski said on September 17th, 2009 at 2:25pm #

    I do not mean to take sides here, BUT I am reminded of that old statement, “IF YOU WANT A PUPPY, YOU BETTER ASK FOR A PONY”. I support Single Payer and one reason that it is not going to happen is because those who support it are too timid – timid to the point in my area, that they refuse to use the words “Single Payer”. When I asked them about this, their explanation was that those 2 words might “alienate” some.

    Single Payer is NOT radical. It is not even socialistic. Under socialism the hospitals would be owned by the people and the doctors would be employed by the people.

    Be prepared to die. We will end up with THE INSURANCE COMPANY PROTECTION ACT.

  14. Don Hawkins said on September 17th, 2009 at 3:53pm #

    Under socialism the hospitals would be owned by the people and the doctors would be employed by the people. Let’s go with that. Energy owned by the people and not just fuel but the means of production of that power.

  15. Deadbeat said on September 17th, 2009 at 3:56pm #

    lichen writes yet some more ad hominem…

    I guess taking a staunch position against the increasing rightward drift and positions of the Left appears reactionary to you then that exposes your weak level of commitment to princples.

  16. lichen said on September 17th, 2009 at 6:31pm #

    Yet more evasion from deadbeat–I’m quite certain that when truly effective, successful movements and actions come up, your response is always the same–that your personal politics are more important than everyone else’s, and that they should all take up only your issues, and bow down to your expert analysis of why everyone else is wrong.

  17. lichen said on September 17th, 2009 at 6:38pm #

    And yes, Don, the people should own the means of energy production–through local solar/wind/tidal/geothermal (whatever works for the local) and just use what they can get from that, on a need basis.

  18. Deadbeat said on September 17th, 2009 at 7:03pm #

    lichen writes …
    Yet more evasion from deadbeat … that your personal politics are more important than everyone else’s, and that they should all take up only your issues, and bow down to your expert analysis of why everyone else is wrong.

    It is not up to me to prove your ad hominems. It is up to YOU to do so and you haven’t once supported your slurs with ANY references. You sound “hurt” that I was able to make sufficient and cogent arugments why Richard Oxman’s idea will yield failure. If you want to waste your time with Oxman scheme be my guess other people can make up their own minds but they should be able to evaluate from a hearty debate. Obviously you are against debate and would rather lead people in an effort that will distract them without any critique whatsoever.

    Obviously you define the voice on the “Left” as those that I criticize. They 30 some-odd years of these Left icons who have used their persuasive abilities to curtail and deflate any real challenge to Zionism’s growth and influence in the United States. Because of their interferance racism and real REACTIONARYISM has been able to flourish unchallenged.

    I’m sorry lichen but your lame attacks on me only allows me to provide additional information to this forum on why the Left is in such a sorry state and your ad hominems only goes to make cementing my case and critique on the Left. I’ve seen your kind of tactics all too often over the past 30 years.