A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
March 9, 2006 Volume 36 / Number 6


Up Front

Former Ambassador to Iraq Presents Debate over the War

Joseph Wilson, former ambassador to Iraq, will visit Chico on Wednesday, March 22, and present “The Three Great Debates over the War in Iraq.”

Wilson’s lecture will be held at 7:30 pm in the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium.

Wilson is the author of The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity. From Wilson’s book: “I did my civic duty and held my government to statements it had made … and then the Administration went out to savage my family and myself …”

Wilson was a United States Foreign Service diplomat between 1976 and 1998. He has achieved recent notoriety from an op-ed essay published in July 2003, in the New York Times, in which he revealed his 2002 trip investigating whether Iraq purchased or attempted to purchase Yellowcake uranium from Niger in the late 1990s. In his op-ed piece, published four months after the start of the war, Wilson accused the Bush administration of exaggerating the Iraqi threat in order to justify war.

Shortly thereafter, Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was revealed as a CIA agent, prompting a furious political storm in Washington. The affair resulted in a grand jury indictment of Lewis Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

As acting ambassador to Iraq in 1991, right before the first Gulf War, Wilson publicly defied Saddam Hussein by giving refuge to more than 100 U.S. citizens at the embassy and in the homes of U.S. diplomats. Saddam Hussein was threatening to execute anyone who harbored foreigners.

Wilson addressed journalists wearing a hangman’s noose instead of a necktie. He later told the Washington Post newspaper that the message to Saddam Hussein was, “If you want to execute me, I’ll bring my own [expletive] rope.”

The event is sponsored by A.S. Presents. General admission tickets for $15 are available at the University Box Office, 530-898-6333, and at the door for $17.