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5/16/2005 05:11:00 PM | Justin

The Downing Street Memo

This Downing street Memo (also here) was leaked and published by The Sunday Times of London on May 1st, but I only began hearing about it in the last week, because U.S. media doesn't seem to like covering anything that makes Bush's war look bad. CNN finally had something about it on May 12, but I don't think Fox News has touched it yet.

The memo is an internal communication among British government officials describing the minutes of a meeting that took place between Bush Blair, and other high-level officials in both governments in July, 2002.

Some disturbing quotes from the memo:

Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy...
The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran...
The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections."

"Fixed"? Isn't that just a diplomatic way of saying the facts were being invented, and that they were, in essence, lying? And if Iraq really had less WMD capability than Libya, North Korea, or Iran, then The Bush Administration's public insistence that Iraq was an "imminent threat" begins to seem quite at odds with the actual intelligence assessments. Finally, it isn't very reassuring that the timeline for war was being set to correspond with the timing of U.S. election rather than with any real military considerations.

I should mention that this memo was leaked 30 days before the British election, probably for political reasons. That said, no British MP's are questioning the document's authenticity, nor is the White House. On May 6th, 90 house democrats, led by Congressman John Conyers Jr. wrote a letter to the Bush Administration demanding an explanation, but as long as the media doesn't cover the memo, there's no reason The Bush Administration should feel compelled to respond, or defend itself.

Even while the press is playing dead, American opinion is gradually shifting away from Bush on the Iraq war, with the latest Gallup polls showing at 50% of the American public believes President Bush "deliberately misled" the on Iraq and WMD.




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