Friday, July 15, 2005

Downing Street Memo

I have to throw my two cents in with regards to the now infamous “Downing Street Memo”. The memo, as claimed, is basically the minutes of the British PM’s meeting on July 23, 2002. Below are some notable excerpts.
C (MI6 Director Richard Dearlove) reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. 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 NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action…

The Defence Secretary (Rumsfeld) said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime…

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…

Now one question I like to ask is this: If this memo, which was published by the Sunday Times on May 1, 2005 is legit, how come Bush is still in the White House? The memo has never been disputed by Tony Blair, which lends credence to its authenticity. It was big news in Britain, given that support for the UK involvement in the Iraq war is waning there. But it took a while for the media in the States to catch on, and even then it was dubbed as "old news". Isn’t this, as some critics have claimed, the “smoking bullet in the smoking gun” that Bush misled Americans to war?

Then there is the part of the memo that states the US had already begun “spikes of activity”. This is basically polito-speak for “bomb the hell out of Iraq’s no fly zones and hope Saddam retaliates, thus giving the US and UK justification for war.” This has come to be known as Plan B.

Realize also that these increased bombing campaigns began in late August 2002, six weeks before Congress approved military action in Iraq. So really, the war “started” in August 2002, not March 2003.

How come we can find reason to impeach Clinton for lying about his sexual relationships but no one in Congress can seem to muster the guts to seriously call Bush on his lies (lies that led to a war which has resulted in the deaths of almost 2,000 US troops, thousands more maimed, untold numbers of Iraqi citizens dead, billions spent on contracts to companies with ties to the Bush cadre, an economy in the toilet, a national debt out of control, destroyed our credibility and image around the world, decreased our ability to recover from disasters and increased our vulnerability to those who would do us harm.)

I’m sure a lot of politicians are afraid of being labeled as not supporting the troops if they call for a withdrawal or even hint at a timetable for it. There is also the stigma of being called “unpatriotic” for disagreeing with Bush’s policies. Quite the contrary. Wouldn’t bringing troops home be better than keeping them in harms way, fighting a war we should never have started in the first place? What could be more “patriotic” then that?

The implications of this memo should be investigated. But Americans, or Britons for that matter, don’t seem to really care about the credibility of their leaders or if they are held accountable for their actions.

Note: An investigation into the prewar intelligence abuses by the administration is now deemed as “pointless” by the very man who championed for it.

Also check out Downing Street Memo for some interesting reading.

(Originally posted on MySpace)