A British government memo that critics say proves the Bush administration manipulated evidence about weapons of mass destruction in order to carry out a plan to overthrow Saddam Hussein (search) has received little attention in the mainstream media, frustrating opponents of the Iraq war.
The “Downing Street Memo” — first published by The Sunday Times of London on May 1 — summarizes a high-level meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair (search) and his senior national security team on July 23, 2002, months before the March 2003 coalition invasion of Iraq.
The memo suggests that British intelligence analysts were concerned that the Bush administration was marching to war on wobbly evidence that Saddam posed a serious threat to the world. ~FoxNews
The most telling part of the memo was this: “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.” (emphasis mine)
The regular accusations of dishonesty and incompetence that antiwar critics have directed at the administration are entirely vindicated by this memo, of course, but what is remarkable is that the British knew well in advance that there was no post-war planning of any meaningful kind and still allowed themselves to be dragged into this fool’s policy.
There are the legal aspects that the memo touched on as well that are thoroughly damning. “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.” Again, this is nothing that those of us opposed to the war haven’t been saying for years. But look at it again: a clear statement that the upper echelons of both governments knew that Iraq’s WMD capability was less than Libya’s, even when Libya had scarcely any program and was soon to dismantle what little it did have through the earlier diplomacy of Britain. What honest person can deny that Bush systematically deceived the American people? Who can deny that he deceived the Congress as well?
Of course, for a constitutionalist all of these violations just worsen the egregious breach of the Constitution in the president’s launching of the war on his own authority. He has not been the first usurper in this regard, but it is high time that one of them was held accountable. It is very simple to do. Impeach Bush and Cheney. It is the only way that most Republicans in Congress could ever reclaim their honour.