Monday, May 16, 2005

The Downing Street Memo

On May 1, just days before the British general election, The Times of London printed a leaked memorandum that included minutes of a meeting involving Prime Minister Tony Blair and a number of cabinet officials on July 23, 2002. During this meeting, there was discussion of the Bush Administration's posture regarding Iraq. It was reported in the meeting, on the basis of a recent high-level meeting in Washington, that the Bush Administration already considered war with Iraq inevitable.

Here, in a passage that describes the Bush Administration's view, is a shocking admission that the British Government has not repudiated in the two weeks since the memorandum was published:

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 intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

For those who have been insisting on seeing the smoking gun, this is it. The Bush Administration was intent on war with Iraq before a public case for that war was articulated. Intelligence was twisted to make it fit the foreordained conclusion.

This is not speculation; it is an undisputed fact revealed in a previously secret memorandum. (Read it here.)

Where is the outrage? Is it okay with Americans for presidents to lie as long as it's about going to war rather than about something important such as sex?