"The President hasn't made a decision with respect to Iraq. Didn't I say that earlier? I thought I said that."
-Donald Rumsfeld, September 16th, 2002, lying to the press corps, who laughed along with Rummy, whose ability to hypnotize the press with his line of bullshit is impeccable.
Downing Street Memo Revelation Missed by Media
Ron Brynaert has an excellent blog story today. It's fair to say it's not the first time the focus upon the illegal air strikes has been given its due attention. It has been carefully laid out, for all of us, in posts by bloggers such as Third Sunday Estate. The story was emphasized at Common Ills on June 14th. Brynaert is building upon the established foundation of the story. With the efforts of reliable and accurate bloggers analyzing and breaking stories like these, bloggers prove that they are legitimate and relevant media - and go largely uncredited and unpaid for their efforts.
There were "strikes of activity" mentioned in the Downing Street memo. The memo, which was a documentation of the minutes of a key meeting in July 2002 at which Tony Blair and his war cabinet discussed how to make “regime change” in Iraq legal, quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the U.S. had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime."
London Times writer Michael Smith has emphasized the important revelation in the memo - it's not only that the intelligence was fixed around the policy.
With these "strikes of activity", Bush and Blair began their war - not in March 2003, as everyone believed - but at the end of August 2002, six weeks before Congress approved military action against Iraq.
"This LA Times op-ed is the first time that this essential part of the Downing Street Memo story has appeared in the mainstream American press, even though Michael Smith wrote about it in relation to the DSM on May 29th ("RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war")....Smith reported it multiple times when he wrote for The Telegraph, as it occurred in 2002, but I guess no one noticed...or cared (link, link and link).
It seems that the American press is really missing the boat here, and I don't believe it's intentional. The LA Times editorial is an indication that some American media are beginning to understand the relevance of the information for which some British soul decided to risk a hell of a lot in order to reveal something inflammatory to the public. It may take some time for these historical facts to sink in to the psyche of the American public. Had the war not been such a disaster, I don't even know if this historical truth would ever have been revisited. Yet, here it is.
It's no wonder the Bush administration is sending Rumsfeld to the Sunday political gasbag fests. They know time is short, and these revelations, gleaned from papers that were passed to Michael Smith by a UK "Deep Throat" in a London pub, are going to be focused upon - and it could mean the end of the Bush presidency at worst - or, at the very best, crushing political damage from which the Republicans will not recover for decades.
Ron Brynaert has done a comprehensive job on this story today and should be commended, along with Common Ills, Third Sunday Estate, all bloggers who have made contributions to the story. The art of successful blogging has to involve revealing new truths to the world, while up against powerful forces, with what I believe is necessary: team effort and interaction.
You quote a National Review writer thusly: "Readers expect a certain amount of American-ness in their reporters. They expect that since the source of these reporters’ liberties is the U.S. Constitution, then perhaps they owe the U.S. a tiny bit of loyalty." Don't conservatives, and Christians, and the Founders, believe that the source of these reporters' liberties (and those of the rest of us) is (to use one formulation) Nature and Nature's God, not the Constitution?
NY Times Promises Less Clarity for the Sake of Keeping Conservatives Happy The New York Times is promising that the paper will back off from publishing clearly and realistically. In Bill Keller's stated quest for a more 'even-handed' (less "urban" - ahem) treatment of stories, you can see he is pandering to Conservatives, even though he avers that he is not. (It seems as if they are already beginning the bamboozling). If this is a route they choose, I believe that the blogosphere will take a bit of the power, credibility, and the left-minded audience the NY Times once had. The last bastion of clarity for people who respect intellect and clarity - the Internet. Who knew?