Chestertown, MD, March 16, 2004 — Washington College's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and the Goldstein Program in Public Affairs present Ambassador Joseph Wilson lecturing on “The Mess in Iraq and the Way Ahead,” Thursday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Washington College. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
Called by President George H. W. Bush “a true American hero,” Ambassador Joseph Wilson has been involved in international politics for more than twenty years. As the acting U.S. ambassador in Iraq during Operation Desert Shield, the massive U.S. buildup in Saudi Arabia after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Wilson was responsible for freeing 150 American hostages seized by Iraq. He was the last American official to meet with Hussein before the first Gulf War.
During his highly-decorated career, Wilson held many senior government posts, including Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council in the Clinton administration, responsible for the coordination of U.S. policy to the 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. He was a principal architect of President Clinton's historic trip to Africa in March 1998 and a leading proponent of the Africa Trade Bill.
Wilson is now at the center of a major political maelstrom involving the White House, the C.I.A. and the second Gulf War in Iraq. In 2002, at the request of Vice President Dick Cheney, Wilson was assigned by the C.I.A. to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein was seeking to acquire uranium from Niger for the purpose of advancing his nuclear program. When his investigation turned up nothing, Wilson reported back to officials in Washington that there was no basis for the claims.
Surprised that President Bush repeated the claim, most famously in his 2003 State of the Union address, Wilson wrote in a New York Times op-ed that the Bush administration had exaggerated the public case for invading Iraq. One week later, Wilson's wife, Valerie Wilson (née Plame) was exposed by the conservative columnist Robert Novak as a clandestine CIA operative, reputedly by a White House source.
Wilson was a member of the U.S. Diplomatic Service from 1976 through 1998. His assignments included Niger, Togo, South Africa, Burundi, Congo and Germany. He was Political Advisor to the Commander-in-Chief of United States Armed Forces, Europe, and U.S. Ambassador to the Gabonese Republic and to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe from 1992 to 1995. From 1988 to 1991, he was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
Wilson's awards include the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Award, the Department of State Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards, the University of California, Santa Barbara Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the American Foreign Service Association William R. Rivkin Award. He is the 2003 recipient of the Ron Ridenhour Award for Truth-Telling, awarded to an individual or organization that has brought an important issue to light.
Wilson manages JCWilson International Ventures, Corporation, a consulting firm specializing in strategic management and international business development. He is also an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington D.C.
The C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience is an innovative forum for new scholarship about American history. Drawing on the special historical strengths of Washington College and Chestertown, the Center is dedicated to exploring the early republic, the rise of democracy, and the manifold ways in which the founding era continues to shape American culture.
News about other upcoming events is available on-line at http://starrcenter.washcoll.edu/, or call Program Manager Kees de Mooy at 410-810-7156.