07 June 2005

Any Questions?

Have you heard about the Downing Street memo?

It’s a UK government document that describes a
July 2002 meeting between Tony Blair and his
war cabinet.

The memo makes clear that the Bush administration
was already determined to invade Iraq.

Here is the key paragraph:
C 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.

You can read the entire memo here.

Why is this a story? Well, take a look at what
President Bush was saying in public after the
confidential memo was written:

Bush: “Of course, I haven’t made up my mind
we’re going to war with Iraq.” [10/1/02]

Bush: “You said we’re headed to war in Iraq.
I don’t know why you say that. I hope we’re not
headed to war in Iraq. I’m the person who gets
to decide, not you. I hope this can be done
peacefully.” [12/31/02]

Bush: “I’ve not made up our mind about military
action. Hopefully, this can be done peacefully.”

You can find more of these quotes at Think Progress.

So what’s the deal? Was the president (gasp!) lying
to the American public? Was he claiming to be seeking
a peaceful solution while planning military invasion all
along? And were intelligence and facts being fixed
around this policy?

Haven't we impeached presidents for lesser crimes?

You’d think reporters would be all over this story -- especially
with Bob Woodward enjoying another victory lap around the
media landscape.

But our current press have yet to ask President Bush about
the memo.

Maybe they just need a little encouragement.

Update: Salon.com reports that Steve Holland of Reuters
finally asked both Blair and Bush about the memo at Tuesday's
press briefing. Both men claimed the memo was wrong -- but
offered no explanation for the contradiction. Read the
transcript here.