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:: Monday, June 06, 2005 ::

Downing Street Memo?

This sure hasn't gotten much play yet. On May 1 the London Times printed a secret memo (link above) containing the minutes of a meeting between top british officials including Tony Blair and a gentleman referred to as "C" who "reported on his recent talks in Washington." The meeting occured on July 23, 2002. We publicly claimed to be exhausting all diplomatic efforts until we invaded on March 20, 2003. That's nine months. So anyway you can read the whole thing thanks to a feistily free press, but here are some of the things "C" and others reported for the uninitiated...

(emphasis added for the extremely uninitiated)

"...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 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.
<-Yeesh, they must have come to their senses and waited until after.

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. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change."

It might be news. Or it might have been news in a day when personal responsibility and accountability mattered a tinker's cuss. That isn't even to say that you can be sure if this memo is authentic, but shouldn't someone want to know? Granted there are rumblings, but it seems like you must mount a massive grass-roots campaign to even get a chance to ask a question, which they promptly dodge. It's a slimy way to operate, and it fosters distrust. You are expected to prove that you have nothing to hide in your medical records or library lists, but your public servants needn't even answer simple questions. Eh well, I guess this is how it's supposed to be uh? Nothing to see here.

*slinks back to whatever seedy alleyway that the America-hating commies call home*

:: Damian B. 6/06/2005 [+] ::
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