Saturday, June 11, 2005


In a display of touching, if outmoded, respect for international law, the Brits kept records of the negotiations that led to the invasion of Iraq. Today, another leaked document rubs our noses in the truth that should have been evident all along: that the invasion of Iraq was an act of illegal aggression, understood as such by the sociopaths who plotted it, justified to the public by an ever-shifting rationale of crude and deliberate lies. From the Times of London, via Zemblan patriot J.M. and BuzzFlash:
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.

This was required because, even if ministers decided Britain should not take part in an invasion, the American military would be using British bases. This would automatically make Britain complicit in any illegal US action . . . .

The paper was circulated to those present at the meeting, among whom were Blair, Geoff Hoon, then defence secretary, Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, and Sir Richard Dearlove, then chief of MI6. The full minutes of the meeting were published last month in The Sunday Times.

The document said the only way the allies could justify military action was to place Saddam Hussein in a position where he ignored or rejected a United Nations ultimatum ordering him to co-operate with the weapons inspectors. But it warned this would be difficult.

“It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject,” the document says. But if he accepted it and did not attack the allies, they would be “most unlikely” to obtain the legal justification they needed.

The suggestions that the allies use the UN to justify war contradicts claims by Blair and Bush, repeated during their Washington summit last week, that they turned to the UN in order to avoid having to go to war. The attack on Iraq finally began in March 2003.
Rep. John Conyers's letter to President Bush requesting an explanation of the Downing Street Minutes had over 478,000 signatures as of this afternoon. Add yours here.

In the meantime, our distinguished colleague Melissa of Shakespeare's Sister directs us to AfterDowningStreet.org, where Ray McGovern of VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) has just posted a chapter from his new book on the runup to war:
Let’s review. It was bad intelligence that forced an unwitting president to invade Iraq, right? The sad fact that so many Americans believe this myth is eloquent testimony to the effectiveness of the White House spin machine. The intelligence was indeed bad – shaped that way by an administration determined to find a pretext to effect “regime change” in Iraq. Senior administration officials – first and foremost Vice President Dick Cheney – played a strong role in ensuring that the intelligence analysis was corrupt enough to justify,” ex post facto, the decision to make war on Iraq. It is not altogether clear how witting President George W. Bush was of all this, but there is strong evidence that he knew chapter and verse. Had he been mouse trapped into this “preemptive” war, one would expect some heads to roll. None have. And where is it, after all, that the buck is supposed to stop?

The intelligence-made-me-do-it myth has helped the Bush administration attenuate the acute embarrassment it experienced early last year when the casus belli became a casus belly laugh. When U.S. inspector David Kay, after a painstaking search to which almost a billion dollars – and many lives – were given, reported that there had been no “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) in Iraq since 1991, someone had to take the fall. Elected was CIA director George Tenet, the backslapping fellow from Queens – always eager to do whatever might be necessary to play with the bigger kids. For those of you just in from Mars, the grave danger posed by Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” was what President Bush cited as the casus belli for invading Iraq. It was only after Kay had the courage to tell the truth publicly that Bush fell back on the default rationale for the war – the need to export democracy, about which we are hearing so much lately.

Not surprisingly, the usual suspects in the mainstream media that played cheerleader for the war are now helping the president (and the media) escape blame. “Flawed intelligence that led the United States to invade Iraq was the fault of the US intelligence community,” explained the Washington Times last July 10, after regime loyalist Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released his committee’s findings. Nine months later, after publication of similar findings by a commission handpicked by the president, the Washington Post’s lead headline was “Data on Iraqi Arms Flawed, Panel Says.” The date was, appropriately, April Fools Day, 2005. In a word, they are playing us for fools. The remarkable thing is that most folks don’t seem able, or willing, to recognize that – or even to mind.

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