Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Downing Street Memo Revisited

Some of you might have already heard of and/or read this memo but for "some reason" it has basically been ignored by the American main stream media. So I am going to hit it again here @ GOI.

Here's the gist if you haven't heard it yet:

It is a 2002 British official's report that the Bush administration appeared intent on invading Iraq long before it sought out Congress' approval -- and that it "fixed" intelligence to fit its intention.

This from the Christian Science Monitor:

The document was written by British national security aide Matthew Rycroft based on notes he took during a July 2002 meeting of Mr. Blair and his advisers, including Richard Dearlove, the head of Britain's MI-6 intelligence service who had recently met with Bush administration officials.

Among other things, the memo said:

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 [National Security Council] had no patience with the UN route .... There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action. ...

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 neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.

The memo's authenticity was not disputed by Blair's office.

Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas lamented last week that Britons and Americans – in her judgment – no longer care about the credibility and accountability of their leaders.

I am not surprised at the duplicity. But I am astonished at the acceptance of this deception by voters in the United States and the United Kingdom.

I've seen two US presidents go down the drain – Lyndon B. Johnson on Vietnam and Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandal – because they were no longer believed. But times change – and I guess our values do, too.

In Sunday's Washington Post the paper's ombudsman Michael Getler wrote that his e-mail inbox was "inundated last week by write-in campaigns provoked by two self-described media watchdog organizations, both on the liberal side of things."

Mr. Getler wrote that he received over 1,000 e-mails attacking the Post for not following up on the Sunday Times disclosure the memo. Getler wrote that he was "amazed that The Post took almost two weeks to follow up on the Times report."

The key line in the leaked memo, in my view, is the assessment by British intelligence, after a visit to Washington, that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." That kind of assertion has been made by critics and commentators, but it has not been included in official post-invasion assessments here about how the country went to war under what turned out to be false premises about weapons of mass destruction and other matters. Investigating that assessment, coming from the key US ally in the war, certainly seems journalistically mandatory. Indeed, while official US commissions and committees have documented just how bad US intelligence was, they have stopped short of assessing what happened to that intelligence after it was prepared.

GOI Comment: This is a big deal no matter what the corporate owned "main stream media" says (or doesn't say). Write your senators, represenatives and newspapers. Call radio talk shows and your friends. We can not let this story die because it sheds more, honest light on the shaddy nature of the pre-war intelligence and planning. We can not let this story die. We bloggers have forced the MSM to keep stories alive before and we can do it with this story too. This Newsweek "story" is a total distraction to the real news of this memo. Keep the pressure on the media and the government because this story is not going to go away quietly. Not if we have anything to do about it.

You might also want to go to The Downing Street where you can sign a petition, write your senators and representatives and take further action.

---End of Transmission---

1 comment:

UK plc said...

The story died very quickly over here, after being covered quite widely initially. It was overtaken by other election debates and post-election issues pretty quickly.
A long piece in the current (9th June) issue of the New York Review of Book by Mark Danner on this matter might be of interest.