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HOW SIGNIFICANT IS THE DOWNING STREET MEMO?
Santa Cruz Sentinel
By Ruth Hunter
The Downing Street Memo recently hit the media and is creating a rash of political activity here and in Blair country. One of the significant aspects of the document is its potential to further erode the popularity of Bush and Blair whose numbers have been falling. It could also be a portend of the future for the global superpower, the USA.
A whistleblower in Britain leaked the secret memo from Downing Street, written in July, 2002, which revealed the justification to invade Iraq. The memo has created ripples across the Atlantic to our shores. Michigan Representative Conyers gathered the signatures of 122 Democrat House members demanding an explanation from the White House. In addition, he asked the public to join with him by signing a petition. When he approached the White House with the letter, he also carried the petition with half-million signers. According to the Cox News Service, "The White House dismissed Conyers’ letter (and petitions) as a political shot by Democrats who have long opposed the war." The ‘political shot’ called by White House spokesman Scott McClellan is a secret meeting held by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his senior aides. The event occurred eight months before the invasion of Iraq. There are references to the determination of President Bush to pre-empt the war against Iraq. One quote in the leaked memo stated that, "intelligence and facts were being fixed" to inflate the rational to wage war.
Past history holds many mysteries, half truths, and at times, its crystal ball hints at the impact on future events as they play out upon the global stage. Examples of the past are rampant with the rise and fall of great empires--empires that rose to incredible power in their times. The Mongols racing across the Asian deserts to conquer Europe; the military glory of the mighty Roman Empire, the Spanish daring discovery of a new continent and occupation of the Americas, the British sovereignty on the high seas. History records their glory and greatness, now mired down in the murky past of plundering arrogance. All through the ages as each empire arose, in time internal and external events weakened their invincible image until their greatness slipped below the horizon.
Could the one superpower, the USA, with its mighty control over bases across the globe and seemingly limitless source of weaponry also become a chapter in the history of fallen empires? Could Iraq become the Achilles’ heel for President Bush and to a lesser degree, Prime Minister Blair? We have only to look at recent history and at the whistleblowers whose published secrets, the Ellsworth story and Deep Throat’s revelations to reporter, Bob Woodward, eventually brought down the Nixon presidency.
As more discontent with the tragic events in Iraq surface in addition to the Downing Street memo, faint cracks are beginning to emerge in the once invincible foreign policy of the White House. Polls show that President Bush’s popularity is down due to the lack of an exit strategy for Iraq, overcharges by contractors including Halliburton and Brown, the rising cost of the war, and resulting financial problems which impact domestic social issues across the nation. To date, the Bush Administration has turned a deaf ear to voices in Congress and to the civil society’s concern for the direction the foreign policy is leading the USA. History will write the chapter on the Bush legacy which will undoubtedly include the Downing Street Memo and its revelations regarding the invasion of Iraq. The legacy will also be determined by the road the White House decides to travel and upon the will of the American public.