In One Eye

Monday, June 13, 2005
Everyone's in high dudgeon these days over the so-called Downing Street memo, which, let us remember, consists of five premises:
1. By mid-July 2002, eight months before the war began, President Bush had decided to invade and occupy Iraq.

2. Bush had decided to "justify" the war "by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD."

3. Already "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

4. Many at the top of the administration did not want to seek approval from the United Nations (going "the UN route").

5. Few in Washington seemed much interested in the aftermath of the war.
I'd really like to get excited about this, but the points really should surprise no one. The first four points were obvious as they were happening—and Josh Marshall, among others, demonstrated how this reversal of cause and effect was occurring at the time. For example, the Secretary of Defense insisted that "facts" regarding Iraq be doctored to show that it was more dangerous than it was. (Remember how Rummy blithely averred that the big bad weapons of mass destruction were to be found in Tikrit?) As his Senate hearings showed, John Bolton also attempted to skew intelligence relating to Iraq. And Paul Wolfowitz was just one of many others who tried to built a case out of air. (The great irony, of course, is that once the manufactured intelligence turned out to be fallacious, the Bushies indicated that they'd been misled by the people—most notably, perhaps, George Tenet—who had foolishly given their imprimatur to the bogus positions the Bushies themselves had created.)

Likewise, the fifth point should surprise no one as it's the modus operandi the Bushies have demonstrated since they first came to office: Muck up a situation as much as possible and then walk away from it.

The Downing Street memo is a story that just won't go away even though national media, typically, seem to have paid virtually no attention to it. (They didn't do much with the story the first time around; why should this time be any different?) More and more, as recent poll numbers indicate, US citizens aren't satisfied with George Bush's lame refutation of the memo by glibly stating that "The world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power" since the US is certainly worse off since the invasion.