Richard Leiby's profile in tomorrow's Washington Post is going to make it harder for his critics to continue their smear campaign:
His fingers threaded a string of ornate black worry beads, common in the Arab world. They're from his days in Baghdad, where he was acting U.S. ambassador. In 1990, while sheltering more than a hundred Americans at the U.S. embassy and diplomatic residences, he briefed reporters while wearing a hangman's noose instead of a necktie — a symbol of defiance after Saddam threatened to execute anyone who didn't turn over foreigners.
The message, Wilson said: "If you want to execute me, I'll bring my own [expletive] rope."
This toughness impressed the first President Bush, who called Wilson a "truly inspiring" diplomat who exhibited "courageous leadership" by facing down Saddam and helping to gain freedom for the Americans before the 1991 war began.
Wilson may laugh now, but in the eyes of hostages, he was a hero. "He stuck his neck out in our behalf … He worked so hard to keep us from falling apart," recalled Roland Bergheer, 75, a Bechtel Corp. manager who was trapped in Baghdad.
A conservative who lives in Las Vegas, Bergheer added: "I love Joe Wilson. … I don't give a damn what his politics are."
Leiby also notes that Wilson began his foreign service as a "general services officer" in Naimey, Niger. Let's see — service in Niger, distinguished service in a Baghdad showdown with Saddam Hussein … yeah, it must be nepotism for him to get picked to investigate Iraqi activities in Niger.
UPDATE: The story is now online.