Saturday, May 07, 2005

the smoking memo

british elections were thursday. blair and the labour party held on to their majority, but with significant losses. the british people have grown to accept that the semiliberal labour party is the default majority party; it's not like here where millions of poor people vote against their own interests by voting conservative. but they're sick of blair. he's still in office, because the only real way for the voters to kick him out would be to vote labour out of parliament, and they're not willing to go quite that far, but this was a clear sign of blair's anti-mandate.

one of blair's biggest problems is the unpopularity of the war, and the perception that he is bush's lapdog. this perception was not improved when an explosive memo was leaked last week, one that proves that bush had agreed to go to war with iraq as far back as july 2002, and that intelligence was "being fixed around the policy".

the story made huge waves in the british press and the lefty blogs, but stateside, the mainstream media is unwilling to acknowledge the story, other than salon and maybe the AP wire:

But for Americans, the most important lines in the July 23 minutes are those attributed to Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, who in spy jargon is to be referred to only as "C." The minutes indicate that Sir Richard had discovered certain harsh realities during a visit to the United States that summer:

"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 U.N. route ... There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

At the same meeting, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw confirmed Sir Richard's assessment:

"The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."

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