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John Wayne's Holster: Downing Street Memo: Much Ado About Nothing
John Wayne's Holster
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Monday, June 20, 2005

Downing Street Memo: Much Ado About Nothing

Opponents of President Bush and the Iraq War are howling like mad dogs over the recent release of the Downing Street Memo. The memo contains a transcript of a July 23, 2002 meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair and other British officials wherein they discussed the situation in Iraq. According to the memo's author, Matthew Rycroft (an aide to British foreign policy advisor David Manning), "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." emphasis mine

If Mr. Rycroft's assessment is correct, then it would certainly seem that President Bush is in a bit of hot water. However, the evidence that "intelligence and facts were being fixed" is lacking. In fact, it was not only our own Intelligence, but also the Intelligence of the Brits, the Russians, and other sources that conluded that Saddam had WMD and was a threat. Even former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson - a Bush critic - admitted that "we all believed" Saddam had WMD. Moreover, the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is bipartisan, concluded in 2004 that there was no evidence that the Bush influenced the intelligence findings.

It appears that the dogs are chasing a parked car!

Was the intelligence flawed? I think we all know today that it was. But that is not the same as saying that intelligence was "fixed". To continue to level charges that "Bush lied" or "Bush misled us into war" - without any concrete proof - is mendacious and left-handed.

It seems to me that these attmepts to bring down the President on shoddy evidence and half-truths is a microcosm of what is wrong with politics in the US. I am sure if the situation were reversed, the Republicans would be doing the same thing to a Democratic President. In fact, one only has to go back to the previous administration to find an illustration of this.

If anyone has aspirations of being the next Mark Felt, and is in possession of solid evidence that clearly shows that Bush fabricated evidence in order to commit our troops to war, let him come forward. So far, no such evidence has been unveiled.

Obviously, not everyone supports the President's policy in Iraq. I myself have questioned some of the decisions the President has made in this regard. I also have serious reservations about the administration's motives. Were we right to go into Iraq the way we did? Should we have tried more diplomacy? Reasonable people can continue to debate these questions. But let the debate rest on the known facts. Save the conjecture and supposition for pub room and the conspiracy theorists.


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