Who told the public?
This didn't have to happen
Kevin Drum, trying for that newspaper column again.Atrios picked this up, since I don't read him.
One of the reasons the previous Downing Street Memo hasn't gotten much traction - and the reason these new memos will probably get limited attention as well- is that I don't think anyone really finds any of this a surprise. After all, previous evidence has already made it clear that George Bush was intent on war against Iraq almost immediately following 9/11. It was the first thing on Donald Rumsfeld's mind on 9/11 itself, and Dick Clarke has testified that hours later Bush himself was more eager to go after Iraq than Afghanistan - although the Iraq plan was subsequently delayed due to pressure from both Tony Blair as well as more levelheaded Bush staffers. Even so, by early 2002, with Osama bin Laden still on the loose, intelligence assets and special forces were already being moved out of Afghanistan and into the Iraqi theater.
By April it was clear to the British that war was inevitable, and in July they were discussing a strategy to use the UN as a cassus belli. In September Bush went to the UN as planned, and White House chief of staff Andy Card explained the timing with his famous statement that "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." Two months later, Saddam Hussein allowed UN inspectors into the country, thus ruining the hoped for legal justification, and three months after that the inspectors still had uncovered no serious violations. Nonetheless, war commenced in March 2003.
Was the Iraq war a foregone conclusion by early 2002? Of course it was. These new memos provide further evidence of that, but I'm not sure there's anyone who really doubted it in the first place.
More on this later, I'm sure.
I want to explain myself on this: I don't think making a big deal of the memos will work politically, because there isn't the kind of political force to make them matter. I think concentrating on current events is more effective politically.
I also think it was clear from Richard Clarke that Bush had fixated on Iraq from the earliest days of his administration.
I think people have missed my criticism of Congress in all this.
I place near total blame for the continued misconduct of the Iraq War on Bush's allies in Congress. At EVERY step, they have failed to serve this country and demand Bush act logically. The fact was clear from the period that the memos were written that Bush didn't want a peaceful solution to our issues with Saddam. He wanted to depose him and install Chalabi and the exiles. I think that's crystal clear. The reason I think the Memos won't work as an issue is that Congress is nowhere ready to be accountable for their own failure. And that has to become a political question in every district. from mistreatment of the wounded to hillbilly armor, where is Congress? Why aren't they pushing for changes? Why do they continue to defend Rumsfeld and his cronies at DOD?
Atrios makes a key point: no one told the American public that Bush had planned this and for good fucking reason. If Bush had tried this without his campaign of lies and deceit, he would have been chased from office like a homeless guy sleeping on a park bench. Bush lied until March 2003 about his plans for a clean colonial war and to this day has not leveled with the American people about the cost or even the severity of the combat in Iraq. It isn't just IED's but daily mortar attacks and rockets, constant gunfire, daily ambushes. It is not a few guerrillas but daily, brutal war, so bad that US troops must wear armor and helmets in 100+ degree heat. And Congress has steadfastly refused to do its job. I just don't think they will sudddenly change and start doing it.
posted by Steve @ 9:25:00 AM