2005/10/04

Jobs, responsibilities & Judith Miller

Back in the Navy, we had a decoration called an ESWS (pronounced eeswoss) that stood fof "Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist". Having one meant that you were well-enough briefed and trained on all the jobs that needed to be done on your ship that, if a mass-casualty event occured, you could fill in on any job well enough to keep things running until the ship made its way back to port. I never dedicated the time and effort necessary to get an ESWS designation myself, but many of my shipmates did and we greatly respected all of the people who did so.

The cultural meaning of the ESWS is that if a job needs doing and the person who normally does it is unable to do it, his or her shipmates will jump right in and get it done. However, if you want your job done for you, but you're perfectly capable of doing it yourself, you're going to earn a "#$%@ you, ya lazy piece-a &%$#!!!"

My uncle was an officer in the Navy and then went out to become a salesperson (I don't remember what he sold, let's just call them "widgets".) Well, my uncle was a very good salesperson and was racking up quite a few sales. The production department called him in. They told him that they couldn't keep up, they couldn't produce enough widgets to keep up wth all the widget contracts he was signing. Their situation was even more difficult because they had to pay him for every succesful sale, even if they hadn't produced the necessary widgets yet. My uncle listened carefully and then replied "We had a special term for that kind of thing back in the Navy. It's called your problem!" Their meeting was then over and he went back to selling and the production department eventually managed to solve their problem.

Concerning to Valerie Plame/Niger uranium/Joseph Wilson scandal:

It's not that [Vice-Presidential Chief of Staff Lewis] Libby didn't give [NY Times reporter Judith] Miller a waiver, he gave all the reporters he spoke to a waiver. Miller isn't sure the waiver isn't coerced.

"Judy's view is that any purported waiver she got from anyone was not on the face of it sufficiently broad, clear and uncoerced," [laywer Floyd] Abrams said.

But making sure that Libby's waiver was uncoerced was not Judith Miller's problem! Miller had absolutely zerobusiness worrying about whether Libby's waiver was coerced or voluntary. If she was given a waiver, spilled the beans and told Prosecutor Fitagerald what he needed to know and it turned out the waiver was insufficiently "broad, clear and uncoerced", then all she would had to do would have been to say "Oops! Sorry 'bout that." End of problem. She would have acted in good faith, based on the information that was available to her at the time.

So why did Miller spend 85 days in jail? Beats me, but it's not because her waiver was insufficiently "broad, clear and uncoerced"

BTW, an especially silly comment is by John Hindraker, who says:

It is widely believed that Miller went to prison in part to restore her credibility on the left, which was damaged by her Iraq war reporting.

Um, if that's the case, I'm afraid I have some really bad news for our friend John. Miller's going to prison did nothing for her credibility with the left. We on the left regarded her as a criminal who was covering for other criminals, probably Bush and Cheney themselves, as Stephanopoulos hinted on This Week:

Then came the surprise revelation from George Stephanopoulos that is guaranteed to make waves — and headlines on tonight's network news shows: "I wonder, George Will, do you think it’s a manageable one for the White House, especially if we don’t know whether Fitzgerald is going to write a report or have indictments, but if he is able to show — as a source close to this told me this week — that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some of these discussions?"

George Will sat there looking utterly impassive during this so if one wasn't paying close attention, it would've flown right by one. I only caught it because had taped it and read about the revelation before viewing it.

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