Monday, June 20, 2005

The Memos Are Authentic

The Memos Are Authentic

At American Street, Hesiod has posted about confirmation of the authenticity of the Downing Street memos in a June 17th Newsweek article by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball.

The rightwing parlor trick isn't going to work as magically, this time, as it did when they sought Dan Rather's head.

Right Blogs Try to Turn Downing Street into A Rathergate

Right Blogs Try to Turn Downing Street into A Rathergate

Since I have a lot of content here, I wanted to point out this story which I wrote on Sunday morning.

Rush Limbaugh said something that I stated myself:
"...The Rathergate stuff, those memos are 20 years old written by a dead guy. I forget the name of the commanding officer at Bush's National Guard unit, but he's the guy that supposedly wrote them. These memos, the Downing Street memo, they're current. The people all involved are still alive and they haven't denied any of this and you would think they would if they were not true.."
Rush says he simply "isn't interested" in talking about the Downing Street memos. I don't blame him. He could create no spin that would work very well against the citizens who are concerned, especially the moms and dads who've lost kids in Iraq.

DSM: Texas Attorney Publically Demands Investigation

"As a citizen, taxpayer and voter, I believe it is imperative that our people be able to trust our government, representatives and commander in chief when representations and statements regarding our nation engaging in war are made.

As a result, I have asked Congress to publicly respond to these questions as promptly as possible."

- Channy Wood, an attorney in Amarillo, TX
DSM: Amarillo Attorney Publically Demands Investigation

The following is an opinion posted at LINK (registration required).

I write because of concern regarding The London Times' recent disclosures of a Downing Street Memo, comprising the minutes of a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers. These minutes indicate that the United States and Great Britain agreed, by the summer of 2002, to attack Iraq, well before the invasion and before congressional authority to engage in military action was sought, and that U.S. officials were deliberately manipulating intelligence to justify the war.

Among other things, the British government document quotes a high-ranking British official as stating that by July 2002, President George W. Bush had made up his mind to take military action. Yet a month later, Bush stated to the public that he was willing to llook at all optionsn and that there was "no timetable" for war. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld flatly stated that the president has made no such determination that we should go to war with Iraq.

In addition, the origins of the false contention that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction remain a serious and lingering question about the lead-up to the war. There is an ongoing debate about whether this was the result of a massive intelligence failure (in other words, a mistake) or the result of deliberate manipulation of intelligence to justify the case for war. The memo appears to resolve that debate as well, quoting the head of British intelligence as indicating that in the United States, "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

As a result of these concerns, I ask that Congress respond to the following questions:

- Do lawmakers dispute the accuracy of the Downing Street Memo?

- Were arrangements being made, including the recruitment of allies, before congressional authorization to go to war was sought?

- Was there an effort to create an ultimatum about weapons inspectors to help with the justification for the war as the minutes indicate?

- At what point did Bush and Blair first agree it was necessary to invade Iraq?

- Was there a coordinated effort with the U.S. intelligence community and/or British officials to lfixn the intelligence and facts around the policy of going to war with Iraq as the leaked document states?

As a citizen, taxpayer and voter, I believe it is imperative that our people be able to trust our government, representatives and commander in chief when representations and statements regarding our nation engaging in war are made.

As a result, I have asked Congress to publicly respond to these questions as promptly as possible.

Nearly 2,000 American soldiers have given their lives in this war, and tens of thousands have served and been wounded, including men like Rob Winchester and Pat Tillman.

We must ensure that we do not ask the fighting men and women of this country to sacrifice their health, bodies and lives at the whim of the commander and chief.

These soldiers' lives are precious; the families they leave behind are precious. And the sacrifices they make deserve and honest response from our government.

I ask our Texas congressional delegation to join Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., in his effort to bring our troops home to their families.

Our troops and their families deserve that.

- Channy Wood

DSM Cartoons

credit: Pat Oliphant

credit: Walt Handelsman


DSM: Tacoma News-Tribune's Opinion Conflicts With Prior Opinion on Bush Handling of Iraq War

DSM: Tacoma Tribune Makes Odd Decision to Ignore Facts in British Memos
Newspaper's Opinion Not in Keeping with Prior Opinion on Bush Handling of Iraq War

Last fall, the Tacoma News-Tribune had this opinion of Bush and the Iraq War:

President George Bush led America into war in Iraq certain that weapons of mass destruction would be found and destroyed. That proved to be an illusion. He sent our soldiers into Iraq, far too few of them, under the illusion that it would be a cakewalk – that American troops would be hailed as liberators and soon sent home.

However good it is to be rid of Saddam Hussein, the fact is that our venture into Iraq has become a disaster, sapping America’s blood and treasure with no end in sight. The U.S. will be mired in Iraq for years, perhaps more than a decade. The president prematurely declared victory. The mission is far from accomplished. The occupation has been bungled from the start. For that the president deserves to be held accountable, regardless of the merits of his initial decision to go to war.

Last week, the Defense Department revealed that the insurgent forces are greater than previously estimated. They have heavily infiltrated the Iraqi security forces that the administration is building in hopes of shedding some of the burden of policing Iraq. Worse yet, the guerrilla groups have virtually unlimited financial backing from sympathizers in our nominal ally, Saudi Arabia. America is not safer today because we went into Iraq. The opposite is true. The war against terror will not and cannot be won in Iraq. Terrorism is an amorphous enemy that knows no boundaries.

What we have done by occupying a Muslim country is make our nation and its citizens even greater targets for implacable enemies who have not one shred of respect for innocent human life. We have antagonized the allies whose help we need to successfully fight terror.

Here we are, eight short months later, with Iraq more of a disaster than ever, and the Downing Street documents have surfaced.

In today's News-Tribune, executive editor Dave Zeeck writes:

The memo created a political row in Britain during the elections. It became a story in the U.S. this month, when Bush and Blair, appearing together at the White House, were asked about it.

The memo seems genuine, but both men say it reveals nothing. Both say they still did everything possible to avert war and did not rig, spin or hide intelligence to justify an invasion.

I’ve read all the memos and, while I think they’re an interesting window into history, I don’t think they tell us anything we didn’t already know: The Bush administration was spoiling for a fight with Iraq (even though they exhausted every bit of U.N. pressure before invading) and they used intelligence regarding WMD (which we now know was flawed) to support the case for war.

Nothing in the Downing Street memos proves the U.S. had determined war was inevitable in July 2002 or that it knew at the time the intelligence was wrong.

Zeeck is willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater. By dismissing the British documents altogether, he forgets that his own newspaper, just last fall, believed that Bush needed to be held accountable for bungling the post-war. In these British documents, you will find this statement from the minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting between Tony Blair and top government officials. "C" refers to Sir Richard Dearlove, then chief of Britain's intelligence service:
"C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude (about Iraq). 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."
This statement raises questions and should raise eyebrows, especially after we see the strong prior statement from the News-Tribune. Why is the editor so quick to want to dismiss the official British government information? This isn't only about the decision to go to war, it is about the RUSH to an unprecedented type of (preventive) war for which there was no post-war plan. Americans deserve a follow-up investigation. I'd like Mr. Zeeck to look any of us in the eye, especially parents who've lost sons and daughters in this war, and tell us why we citizens don't deserve a follow-up.

If officials in Britain were seriously concerned about post-war Iraq, why weren't we?

Mr. Zeeck seems very willing to accept the "flawed intelligence" line, yet he seems to have little tolerance for those citizens who are not as easily convinced. With the surfacing of these official British government memos, how could Mr. Zeeck possibly think it's fair or reasonable to allow Bush to escape all accountability for the charges these documents suggest?

This, to me, seems to be just another acceptance of a lame excuse President Bush throws to the supine press, hoping nothing will stick to him.

We cannot deny there is a fiery debate about whether this war was the result of a poor choice made by relying on intelligence with a resulting massive intelligence failure - - or the result of deliberate manipulation of intelligence to justify the case for war.

And we allow an official set of a foreign government's documents pass us by - unquestioned by Congress?
Are you kidding, Mr. Zeeck?

Rocky Mountain News Chooses to Look Away From Key Downing Street Questions

Rocky Mountain News Chooses to Look Away From Key Downing Street Questions

The Rocky Mountain News doesn't care to know whether or not President Bush employed bold-faced lies to convince America to accept an optional and unnecessary war (without a post-war plan). They attempt to wave the Downing Street memo away by calling it just "an interesting memo" and nothing more. Stating that regime change in Iraq had been U.S. policy since 1990 seems good enough reason for the Rocky Mountain News to accept a poorly-planned rush to a type of war that was unprecedented in U.S. history! Knowing all we know today, with over 1700 American soldiers dead in their graves, and knowing that the Rocky Mountain News is willing to quickly look the other way when an official set of documents arrives at our doorstep, all I can say is: 'What is wrong with the Rocky Mountain News?'

Tar Heel Tavern #17 - Summer Cold

Tar Heel Tavern #17 - Summer Cold
Anton Zuiker (aka mistersugar) hosts the Tavern this week - be sure to pay him a visit.

Newspaper Editor Admonishes Those Who Label Paper "MSM"

Small Town News Editor Explains Slowness to Report on Downing Street Memo
Editor Admonishes Those Who Label Paper "MSM

Terry Greenberg, editor of the Pantagraph in Central Illinois, wants us to understand that there is more than meets the eye when we accuse his paper of being "the biased mainstream media." He states:
"The public doesn't see any difference between The New York Times and The Pantagraph. We're just all part of that vast media.....A lot of times that pressure may lead to stories, but it's the worst way to pressure journalists. We don't react well to biased people and organizations claiming we're biased."
The main point to remember is that Mr. Greenberg's newspaper relies on wire services for national news.

Therefore, if we didn't see the Downing Street Memo story in his newspaper right away, Mr. Greenberg says it's because the national mainstream media in the United States (the wire service) did not react as quickly as they could have.

Mr. Greenberg still has a problem, even if his newspaper is not 'the national media.' The customers are unhappy with the lack of coverage being provided. The newspaper is being scooped by bloggers while the national media drags its feet. Perhaps newspapers should either hire bloggers or ask for blogger-volunteers to cover topics the newspapers might be missing.

I speak from experience. I write a blog for the Syracuse newspaper's website. When the public comes to read, they understand the difference between an AP article and a blogpost. A blogpost informs, but the author is known to inject opinion. People are happy that the news editors are, at the least, not "blackballing" the free flow of information, which is available to (and is well enjoyed by) all who surf the blogs these days. If you can't beat 'em, I say "..join 'em."

Editorials Grow Increasingly Skeptical of War

Editorials Grow Increasingly Skeptical of War
Editor and Publisher provides us with samplings of the most recent news editorials about the Iraq war from around the nation.