Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Bottom Line

Tomorrow I am off to Oregon for a much needed vacation. I will try to check my email from the laptop and maybe even squeeze off a post. In the mean time...

Shakespeare's Sister sums up the "smoking gun" of this "Downing Street Memo" nicely:

1. After Downing Street is a Coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups, which launched on May 26, 2005, a campaign to urge the U.S. Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war. The campaign focuses on evidence that recently emerged in a British memo containing minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials.

2. The name is a reference to the Downing Street Memo, a British memo recently made public in the London Times, which contained the minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials.

3. After Downing Street reports: In response to the release of the memo, “John Bonifaz, a Boston attorney specializing in constitutional litigation, sent a memo to Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, the Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, urging him to introduce a Resolution of Inquiry directing the House Judiciary Committee to launch a formal investigation into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House to impeach President Bush. Bonifaz's memo, made available today at http://www.blogger.com/, begins: ‘The recent release of the Downing Street Memo provides new and compelling evidence that the President of the United States has been actively engaged in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people about the basis for going to war against Iraq. If true, such conduct constitutes a High Crime under Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution.’"

4. Congressman Conyers is now seeking 100,000 signatures to sign a letter on the Downing Street Inquiry. Information available at Raw Story and dKos.

5. Sign the letter here. Write to your Congresspeople here.

Another important piece of information that has been overlooked in this story, as reported in a recent Salon article by Juan Cole, is that Tony Blair had to convince George Bush to go after al-Qaida in Afghanistan, and Bush would only do so in exchange for Britain’s support of the Iraq invasion:

Astonishingly, the Bush administration almost took the United States to war against Iraq in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11. We know about this episode from the public account of Sir Christopher Meyer, then the U.K. ambassador in Washington. Meyer reported that in the two weeks after Sept. 11, the Bush national security team argued back and forth over whether to attack Iraq or Afghanistan. It appears from his account that Bush was leaning toward the Iraq option.

Meyer spoke again about the matter to Vanity Fair for its May 2004 report, "The Path to War." Soon after Sept. 11, Meyer went to a dinner at the White House, "attended also by Colin Powell, [and] Condi Rice," where "Bush made clear that he was determined to topple Saddam. 'Rumors were already flying that Bush would use 9/11 as a pretext to attack Iraq,' Meyer remembers." When British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Washington on Sept. 20, 2001, he was alarmed. If Blair had consulted MI6 about the relative merits of the Afghanistan and Iraq options, we can only imagine what well-informed British intelligence officers in Pakistan were cabling London about the dangers of leaving bin Laden and al-Qaida in place while plunging into a potential quagmire in Iraq. Fears that London was a major al-Qaida target would have underlined the risks to the United Kingdom of an "Iraq first" policy in Washington.

Meyer told Vanity Fair, "Blair came with a very strong message -- don't get distracted; the priorities were al-Qaida, Afghanistan, the Taliban." He must have been terrified that the Bush administration would abandon London to al-Qaida while pursuing the great white whale of Iraq. But he managed to help persuade Bush. Meyer reports, "Bush said, 'I agree with you, Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.'" Meyer also said, in spring 2004, that it was clear "that when we did come back to Iraq it wouldn't be to discuss smarter sanctions." In short, Meyer strongly implies that Blair persuaded Bush to make war on al-Qaida in Afghanistan first by promising him British support for a later Iraq campaign.”

Finding out if this underreported outrage is true is an important part of the inquiry for which After Downing Street is fighting. That President Bush’s entire presidency has relied on his ostensibly unique ability to “keep America safe,” even though he had to be cajoled into going after the party truly responsible for 9/11, is not only an outrage, but a national disgrace.

See you in Oregon!!

I'm out.

---End of Transmission---

4 comments:

Amadeus said...

I hope you have a wonderful time here. Oregon is a wonderful state, but it has been known to be rainy so bring your umbrella.

If you are going be around downtown Portland, drop me an email and I will meet you for a quick coffee. ~Amadeus

Meredith said...

Welcome to Oregon, my Friend. Amadeus is right - a bit rainy here, but glorious all the same...God's country I think.

james said...

Amadeus: Thanks for the coffee invite but we are probably going to be pretty busy. We are going up the Columbia Gorge area and hitting the Japanese/Chinese gardens. You could always meet us there too I guess.

Meredith:Oh we are in LOVE with Oregon so far. We have been staying in Oceanside for the last 3 days and then we move onto Portland for 2 days. We have always wanted to visit here and here we are!! I don't mind the rain one bit. In fact, I find it refreshing.

Amadeus said...

Oh don't worry--it was more or less a kindly jesture from an Oregonian. Truth is I am going to be wrapped up with events and my wife over the next week or so. Have a great time.