Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A crack in the dam

Don't masters and pets start to resemble each other after a while?

(Steven from the Opinion Mill reports)--It's been an ongoing source of wonder and frustration that the American media have allowed the big, stinking can of worms known as the Downing Street Memos to simply lie there, untouched, while overseas media gave it a thorough going over. To have documents in hand showing that Bush was already hell-bent on invading Iraq well before the invasion and that intelligence was being "fixed" around that goal, and then to treat them like yesterday papers, was the journalistic equivalent of criminal negligence.

But the media's big mental dam holding back the truth finally appears to be cracking. The cause of the impact was yesterday's New York Times story, delving into details of an already released memo, showing Bush and Blair privately acknowledging that no terror weapons were being turned up by inspectors in Iraq, then talking about provoking Saddam into doing something that would serve as a pretext for invasion:
The memo indicates the two leaders envisioned a quick victory and a transition to a new Iraqi government that would be complicated, but manageable. Mr. Bush predicted that it was "unlikely there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups." Mr. Blair agreed with that assessment.

The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, or assassinating Mr. Hussein.
Editor and Publisher takes the additional step of reprinting what Bush and Blair said publicly during their brief remarks to the press after the meeting. Maybe you're inured to the spectacle of Bush and his poet blandly lying through their teeth, but it still makes my blood boil.

And ThinkProgress sets key elements of the memo story against the declarations Bush made a little over a month after privately making it clear he wanted war, no ifs, ands or buts:

Bush, with Blair, January 31, 2003:
"'The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March,' Mr. Manning wrote, paraphrasing the president. 'This was when the bombing would begin.'"
Bush, in public, on March 6, 2003:
"I’ve not made up our mind about military action. Hopefully, this can be done peacefully."

Like that? Then you'll love this:

Bush, with Blair, January 31, 2003:
"'The U.S. was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in U.N. colours,' the memo says, attributing the idea to Mr. Bush. 'If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach.'"
Bush, in public, on March 8, 2003:
"We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq."

Last night, Keith Olbermann and Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC discussed the memo story and even mentioned -- shhhhh! -- the Downing Street Memos. Could this be a sign of the end times? For Bush, I mean

1 comment:

Robert Ellman said...

Hi Jay -

Brilliant cartoon! Also, very much appreciate your recent posts about genocide and human rights activism. Liked the audio posts. Regarding your comments on my blog earlier.

First up: "Have you read the Kevin Phillips book yet? I have amazon'ed it and it's on the way.
I heard a ton about it on NPR and it seems like smart stuff."

I have and it's a terrific read. He's book about the "Emerging Republican Majority" thirty years ago was prescient and his current one is insightful and scary.

Second up: "You are so friggin smart that I always have to think--digest, maybe--before I reply."
Wish I were "friggin" smart or just plain smart but I'm not. I'm a cultural barbarian!

Third up:"First of all, i get some real schadenfreude watching the GOP canibalize itself on this one.
But ya know, you really can tell a lot about a man by his penis size, ooops, i mean, immigration policy. And the House of Reps. outta be ashamed of itself.

Yeah, I know where you're coming from. The House GOP is vile. Also, Republicans tick me off the way they've created such a colossal mess and then want the Dem's to pull their chesnuts out of the fire with solutions. But I'm still compelled to try and come up with solutions because I sense if Dems don't simply run on the theme of "had enough" but present a real progessive vision as an alternative we can make a positive difference for society. So with issues such as immigration and gerryandering I'm hoping Dem's will demonstrate they're real leaders and put the public interest over party interest. In doing so, I think Dems will actually make themselves more electable and make the difference we progressives all want. That's the difference between us and them. In anger we say it's a GOP problem - I've done it. I mean they only control the whole damn federal government. But it's an American problem at the end of the day. And only our party can deliver on coming up with humane but practical solutions. If we can push them to stand tall on Gay Rights, Health Care, and war and peace.

On an entirely different note, a friend of mine has a blog you might like. It's called Breaking Ranks. The proprietor of the blog is Robert Fuller, a sociologist who authored a couple books about the dysfunction of "rankism" in society. My good friend Elisa who lives in California composes the posts for the blog. Ocasionally political but for the most part an interesting commentary on society that I think you might like. So, if you're so inclined, give it a read. "Friggin smart" aptly describes her more than me.