Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Downing Street Drumbeat

If you need evidence that the Downing Street Memo is finally starting to build up some traction, here it is: Coverage of the memorandum actually found its way into Stars & Stripes newspaper within recent weeks.

The paper's Leo Shane III reports:

"The memo was first revealed by the Sunday Times of London in May. Earlier this month, both Bush and Blair dismissed the accusations [of the memo], saying that the war in Iraq was justified because Saddam Hussein was ignoring international law.

"But members of Military Families Speak Out, whose members are relatives of troops killed in Iraq, said Congress must investigate whether the president lied to the country to justify military action.

" 'This war was based on lies and deception,' said Celeste Zappala of Philadelphia, whose son was killed in April 2004 while providing security for investigators searching for WMD. 'The only way we can understand how we've come to this disastrous position is to find out what the truth is.' "

Shakespeare's Sister is among the blogs doing truly outstanding work beating the drums on the Downing Street memo and the subsequent flurry of other British documents relating to the war of choice. As Sis writes:

"These memos collectively draw a very different picture of prewar planning than was painted for the American people. The intelligence and facts were fixed around the policy -- a single-minded policy of regime change, with war the inevitable result, even if Iraq's dictator had to be taunted with bombs and ultimatums. And prior to the invasion, the Bush administration had no definitive plan to promote true democracy -- and no strategy to ensure that the new Iraqi government would not be just as bad as the last one."

All that said, we remain skeptical that the Downing Street Memo and company -- even if it does ultimately receive widespread coverage from the mainstream media -- will have much of a significant impact on the presidency. First, it's likely at this point that even many Americans who support the war are willing to concede that the Bush Administration skewed intelligence reports to bolster the argument for invasion.

Moreover, the White House, for a few years now, has carved out a curious -- but curiously effective -- rhetorical stance in which it almost admits suspect motives. After all, Bush and Cheney and the rest have continually changed the subject by asking rhetorically if the world is a safer place without Saddam Hussein in power.

Finally, the flurry of leaked documents are recorded hearsay. They are the interpretations of British diplomats allegedly distilling Washington, D.C., sentiment of the time. All of it might well be an accurate representation, and we're all pretty damn sure it is, but unless similar documentation survived email purges at the White House, we doubt anything is gonna change.

Let's not add a "Gate" suffix to the Downing Street Memos. Just yet, anyway.

4 Comments:

At 9:39 AM, Blogger LiteraryTech said...

RE: The Downing Street Drumbeat

You are probably right that inertia and cynicism will keep the impeachment hearings at bay. I would suggest, however, that this is cause for more outrage on your part, not a sigh. The sigh that so many utter in the face of such perfidy is the sigh that precedes the death of the republic.

 
At 2:37 PM, Blogger Chase McInerney said...

I understand what you're saying, LiteraryTech, but I just think our side should keep our powder dry unless we're really we have aim. I'm concerned that documents conveying second- and third-hand accounts are too easy to shoot down, and every misfire just makes the (hopefully) eventual and bona fide "smoking gun" that much more suspect by the public at large.

 
At 3:19 PM, Blogger Rook said...

2006, that is when inertia will give way to movement. As to the documents, they are being universally verified by news orginizations around the country and the globe.

No worries mate. There is a change in the weather.

 
At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep dreaming, Moonbats!

 

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