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Tipping competition

September 15th, 2006

Tim Blair is always keen to correct any errors I’ve made, and jumps in on the latest revelations in the long-running Plame-Wilson scandal. My response is over the fold, but I thought it might be a good idea to check on some of his earlier corrections. One of the first is this one from May 2004 when Tim noted my observation that “the anniversary of Bush’s declaration of victory looks as good a time as any to date what seems increasingly certain to be a defeat [at least for the policies that have been pursued for the last year]” and suggested that I should “Try Footy Tipping”.

Given, the implication that I’m not much of a tipster, I thought it might be a better idea if I organised a tipping competition, allowing Tim and others to do better than me. The obvious topic is the date of the victory in Iraq, which I foolishly suggested, back in 2004, that Bush might not actually deliver. To get a definite winner, I’ll specify some rules corresponding to a conservative interpretation of the desired outcome of US victory culminating in a “democratic, stable and prosperous” Iraq. So here are the conditions
A No more than 30 000 US troops in Iraq
B A democratic government with control over the entire country
C Stability defined as no more than 100 deaths in a month from insurgency, civil and sectarian strife, kidnapping and so on
D Prosperity defined as restoration of 1990 levels of income per person and electricity supply per person

To enter, just nominate the first month, during Bush’s remaining term in office, when all four conditions will be satisfied, or vote “Not under Bush”. One nomination per person, please. Only comments nominating a date will be accepted.

To forestall disputes, I’ll offer a second competition, allowing entrants to nominate three of the four conditions and a month for their fulfilment.

The Plame game

Tim quotes (a little selectively) a post in which I said

I’m not a huge fan of scandals, and I haven’t followed the Plame spy scandal very closely. Still, anyone who reads blogs has known for at least a week that Karl Rove, Bush’s closest advisor, leaked the name of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA operative, as part of a political vendetta against her husband, Joseph Wilson.

Checking back, it appears that Rove advised Time reporter Matt Cooper that, in Cooper’s notes “it was, KR said, wilson’s wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized Wilson’s trip to Niger” (the subject of the dispute between Wilson and White House). No one appears to have challenged this: the recent news is about another leak to Robert Novak, who named Plame in a story published shortly after the leak to Cooper. This turns out to have come former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, and not, as many people suggested, from Rove. Just to add to the confusion, Cheney offsider “Scooter” Libby is facing charges over a third leak, to ace NYT WMD reporter Judy Miller – Tim links to a post defending Libby.

In a second post, Tim Blair states “Days since Professor John Quiggin called on Karl Rove to resign for leaking Valerie Plame’s identity to Bob Novak: 430″. It’s easy to check that this is incorrect: I never mentioned Novak, and my post linked to a story about the leak to Matt Cooper of Time. Not only that, but Tim had already linked to my comment noting that the leak was to Time, not Novak, when he posted this. I guess we can start the clock on his apology for this error.

UpdateTim has graciously apologized, so we can stop the clock within the first hour. The lesson I draw from this is that trying to untangle scandals, leaks and so on is nearly always a waste of time, as it has been this time. Next time something like this comes up, I’ll try to stick to my original judgement and ignore the thing altogether.

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  1. Katz
    September 20th, 2006 at 09:54 | #1

    “If Bush invades properly with twice the amount of troops and a more ruthless attitude he could stabilise it and be out by early 2008. It’ll be expensive though.”

    Ah, irony. One of my favourite moods.

  2. September 20th, 2006 at 23:47 | #2

    A) No more than 30 000 US troops in Iraq

    The US will not have less than 30,000 troops in Iraq for many decades. The USA still deploys 70,000 and 40,000 troops in Germany and Japan respectively. Unless you believe Iran will be subjugated to become the main US base in the ME, then it is hard to see which other country this regional US army could be moved to. Iraq is the best fit for the job.

  3. September 22nd, 2006 at 11:53 | #3

    NUB of course.

    I was also banned from Tim Blair’s site after posting only one or two innocuous comments. That was quite some time back, and I have always ignored him since. I believe he banned me prematurely because he already knew my reputation as a “troll” (their word) commenter at Iraq The Model (ITM), where I was also banned (repeatedly).

    Jeff Jarvis also banned me in a hurry. Not surprisingly, Jarvis helped the Fadhil brothers set up ITM. The Fadhils ended up meeting Bush and Wolfowitz in the Oval Office. Wolfie used to cite their blog as an example of the “good news in Iraq” that journos kept overlooking. Even the Fadhils can’t seem to find much “good news” to report these days.

    Blair has all the depth of wisdom you are likely to find at fellow wingnut sites like LGF and Protein Wisdom. These people mistake snide sarcasm for intelligence, and blindly follow the pro-Bush pack in a frenzy of adrenalin-pumping hate.

  4. September 22nd, 2006 at 11:57 | #4

    I’ll try to stick to my original judgement and ignore the thing altogether.

    Sadly, this seems to be the best option: any meaningful direct dialogue with these people is impossible. Best to win the argument in the public arena, show them up for the fools they are, and then laugh at how quickly they disown all their previous statements.

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