C's focus on the dog that didn't bark -- the lack of discussion about the aftermath of war -- was smart and prescient. But even on its face, the memo is not proof that Bush had decided on war. It says that war is "now seen as inevitable" by "Washington." That is, people other than Bush had concluded, based on observation, that he was determined to go to war. There is no claim of even fourth-hand knowledge that he had actually declared this intention. Even if "Washington" meant actual administration decision makers, rather than the usual freelance chatterboxes, C is saying only that these people believe that war is how events will play out.
Andrew Bacevich, a retired Army colonel who is now a war analyst at Boston University, said: "The memo is significant because it was written by our closest ally, and when it comes to writing minutes on foreign policy and security matters, the British are professionals. We can conclude that the memo means precisely what it says. It says that Bush had already made the decision for war even while he was insisting publicly, and for many months thereafter, that war was the last resort.
"This is no longer a suspicion or accusation. The memo is an authoritative piece of information, at the highest level."
On a side note, FOX news is carrying the AP story....with the headline "U.S. Flubbed Postwar Plan."
Bush may not realize it, but Amnesty International may have done him a big favor. The controversy the human rights group ignited over the treatment of Muslim detainees at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has deflected the attention of journalists and war critics from an even more disturbing story - how all the president's talk about going to war as a last resort was just a ruse.
Seven months before the "shock and awe" bombing began in Baghdad, the Bush administration was bending intelligence to suit its purpose, which was to go to war come hell or high water.
The back story reveals a lot about how news travels traditional routes and cyberspace at different velocities, about how the Internet is being used to influence media and about how those on the left and right have learned to puff up their feathers or grow small -- to foment coverage or strangle it.
Curiously, that silence extended to most of the U.S. media -- including the Star Tribune. For days, it appeared the story had no legs.
Unless you went online.
Cyberspace was roiling with it. Whole websites were being set up around the memo and liberal weblogs and websites were ablaze with outrage -- some of it at the U.S. media for not reporting on the memo. Some of the sites gave instructions for pressuring local media to run a story.
I love a good campaign in which informed, engaged citizens come together eagerly to debate issues. But there's something about these e-mail campaigns fomented by political websites (and Downing Street is just the most recent -- they erupt across the spectrum of politics and issues) that smacks more of Astroturf than grassroots. Ombudsmen around the country chat regularly about the latest campaigns; the technique isn't fooling anyone. It's also important to remember, however, that some of the Downing Street reaction, such as the e-mail from Bootz, was genuine and spontaneous -- although Bootz says he later went online to urge others to contact the media.
The effort it has taken locally to get a string of politically potent stories to Star Tribune readers before they're old news online reveals a rusty news industry infrastructure that still hasn't absorbed the Internet into its newsgathering habits. The wire services, and the national newspapers that feed them, need to log in and begin approaching the Internet with the passion of a foreign correspondent dispatched to his first assignment in an exotic locale.
Regional newspaper editors can have a big impact by demanding quicker response from wire services to stories erupting online and by following McGrath's lead in assigning local reporters to the story if that's what it takes to get it into the paper.
Our readers clearly will accept no less. Good for them.
MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal.
The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier.
The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal.
Some may say, well, everyone knew it was American policy to have regime change in Iraq. However, as this newly leaked briefing paper pointsout, there was a coordianted plan to "create the conditions" that would convince Americans and the world that this war was justified--namely, by pressing the existence of non-existent WMD.
The Washington Post, while carrying its story on the front page (see below) chose not to focus on the continuing theme of "fixing the facts" but rather on the utter lack of planning in the war's aftermath:
A briefing paper prepared for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers eight months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq concluded that the U.S. military was not preparing adequately for what the British memo predicted would be a "protracted and costly" postwar occupation of that country.
The AP has even stepped into the story, running a piece about the newly leaked document in a story about inadequate post-war planning.
British sources have confirmed the authenticity of this most recent document. Couple with the DSM, these documents paint a frightening picture of two governments, on an inevitable course to war, whatever the cost and whatever the means.
It remains to be seen whether the President will choose address these documents in a proper manner.
June 07, 2005 June 08, 2005 June 10, 2005 June 11, 2005 June 12, 2005 June 13, 2005 June 15, 2005 June 16, 2005 June 17, 2005 June 18, 2005 June 19, 2005 June 20, 2005 June 22, 2005 June 24, 2005 June 25, 2005 June 27, 2005 June 28, 2005 June 29, 2005 July 01, 2005 July 06, 2005 July 10, 2005 July 12, 2005 July 13, 2005 July 15, 2005 July 26, 2005 July 31, 2005 August 02, 2005 August 06, 2005 August 21, 2005 September 02, 2005 November 10, 2005 November 11, 2005