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Friday, June 10, 2005 

Free Press Has A Duty To Ask Questions

The Asheville-Citizen Times calls out the media for its lack of reporting on this important document:

In the wake of the memo, about 90 Democratic members of the House of Representatives are demanding to know if its contents are accurate. "No need'' to respond was the official line from White House press secretary Scott McClellan.

The question won't go away. Was a pre-emptive war really the last resort, or were we sold a bill of goods? The main claim for war, the threat of weapons of mass destruction, has now proven to have been an illusion. Nearly 1,700 U.S. servicemen and women now lie buried because of our involvement in Iraq, hundreds of billions of tax dollars have been expended and according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday, most Americans now believe the effort hasn't made us safer. That is almost certainly true in that National Guard and reserve units have been run ragged and the Army is lagging badly in recruiting - for May, it originally set a goal of 8,050 recruits. It later revised that goal to 6,700. It got about 5,000.

We are left with the elephant in the living room: Did this war have to happen?

Have we used lives and resources on an undertaking that wasn't necessary, when we find ourselves in a world where there are in fact enemies posing threats and battles that must be fought?

It's a question a free press should not be afraid to ask.

In fact it is its duty.

Petition to the President Approaching Half A Million Signatures

Congressman Conyers' petition asking that the Bush administration fully address the contents of the Downing Street Memo has received overwhelming support from the American public. Initially, the goal was 250,000. That goal was shattered in the first week of the petition' s release.

With the assistance of,, and countless other sites, the petition has been widely circulated and currently, over 469,600 concerned citizens have signed it.

While it is unclear how many citizens will sign on to the petition before the hearing on the Downing Street Memo on the 16th, it is highly likely that the number will far exceed half a million signatures.

"Blame Clinton" and the Meaning of "Fixed" ...latest BushCo talking points smashed

There must have been a memo...

As if on cue, we at started receiving numerous emails this week pointing out former president Clinton's support for regime change as somehow offering a pretext for the war his successor undertook. I was asked the very question on Monday on MSNBC's "Connected Coast to Coast" by host Monica Crowley. As I pointed out to Ms. Crowley, the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act that President Clinton signed did express a desire for regime change. It made $8 million available to democratic opposition groups within Iraq, and that even included military assistance. But the Act specifically restricted such assistance to equipment and training. The idea that Clinton's signing of the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act means he supported regime change through invasion is simply not supported by anything in the Act.

The other counter-argument to surface this week was the non-issue of the meaning of the word "fixed" as it is used in the DSM. As I understand it, the argument goes something like this: that the word as it appears in the DSM does not mean "manipulated" but rather simply "placed", that the intel was not adulterated but rather simply arranged to support the policy of regime change through military action.

What makes this argument so preposterous is that it is based on acceptance of the idea of selectively choosing intelligence that supports the policy of invasion. Adulterating intel is bad, but cherry picking the good parts is OK? This distinction amounts to little more than a bald-faced lie versus a lie of omission. Either way, we've been misled.

Completely lost in the semantics discussion is the irrefutable fact that, as the DSM states, the facts were being fixed AROUND the policy. The policy of invasion was already set--the intel was being fixed (placed, whatever) AROUND something that already existed. You don't have to be a professor of English to grasp the meaning of that.


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