Wow… it’s amazing what one can learn listening to the BBC.
As reported yesterday in The Sunday Times (still the UK’s paper of record, despite the fact that it is owned by Rupert Murdoch,) a secret memo, conveniently leaked during the final frenzied days before parliamentary elections, has thrown a wrench into the campaign of Prime Minister Tony Blair and his ruling Labour Party. Marked “Secret and Strictly Personal — UK Eyes Only,” the memo discusses a July 23, 2002 meeting between Blair and his top advisors regarding the impending war with Iraq. I say “impending” because it is clear from the contents of the memo that both the US and Britain had already decided on their course of action, at least eight months before the invasion, at a time when President Bush was routinely pooh-poohing talk of war as media speculation.
The big scandal for Blair is that he apparently ignored warnings by his Attorney General and Foreign Office that the war might be illegal. But Americans should be outraged that a President who likes to portray himself as a “straight shooter” was, surprise… blatantly lying.
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.
Of course, as we now know, Saddam had no connections to Bin Laden or 9/11, and had no WMDs. As to the lack of discussion about the war’s aftermath, well, I think this fact was made abundantly clear by the war’s aftermath. But the truly criminal
revelation confirmation is that the Bush administration was fixing the intelligence to fit the policy. This war wasn’t the result of an intelligence failure… it was made possible by a complete and utter disregard for the intelligence we had.
The other scandal this memo reveals is its nearly total lack of coverage by the US media. One Murdoch mouthpiece, The Times, is eager to plaster it on the front page if it helps bring down a Labour Party prime minister. But here in the US, where the memo could harm a Republican president, another Murdoch mouthpiece, Fox News, apparently has never heard of it. Nor has anybody else.
So much for “fair and balanced.”