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Downing Street Memo for Dummies

Downing Street Memo for Dummies
By Damn Liberals

I haven't written much about the Downing Street Memo. Maybe I was just weary of yet another "smoking gun" that "proved" Bush lied about the facts to lead the country into a war of choice. But last night I took the time to read the memo for myself.

Since I suspect we will continue to hear about the memo's formerly top secret contents, none of which have be denied or even remotely challenged by British officials, I'd like to highlight the key points for those new to the story. A story that broke a month ago in the UK, but for some strange reason, the SCLM in this country had yet to even print a word of. You can read the memo for yourself here.

Point 1: Date and Origin:


From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell


Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents."

Note, this is not some low level email from one bureaucrat to another over in the UK somewhere. This is essentially the minutes of a meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top staff about military action in Iraq. Is is dated eight months prior to the invasion of Iraq. Let me note that again: this meeting happened eight months prior to the US led invaision of Iraq.

Point 2: Bush Wants Military Action Regardless of Facts

"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."

Read that last line again: "But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." Remember the date of this memo. All Bush's talk about not wanting to use force is a lie.

Point 3: The Iraq War Time Table:

"The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections."

Note the political timing of the war here. There was a conscious attempt to place the war after congressional elections, with action to begin in the new year. Just like it happened.

Point 4: The Case for War was Thin

"It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force."

"The case was thin" so here they are deciding on a way to provoke Sadam into giving them a legal case to invade. This paragraph also notes Iraq's real WMD capabilities as less than that of "Libya, North Korea or Iran."

Point 5: There was No Legal Reason to Invade

"The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change."

Regime change wasn't enough. There was no self-defense or humanitarian intervention. The UN resolution was shaky at best. There was no legal reason to invade and this created a problem.

Point 6: Link Regime Change to Fear of WMD

"The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change."

Essentially, if Bush and Blair can convince the public that Sadam's got WMD's and he's a threat, then regime change would be supported politically regardless of the facts. It wasn't about WMD, it was about legalizing regime change.

I've read a lot about smoking guns. But this one's got fingerprints.


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This one is really excellent. Is it ok if I spread it around?

Have also been sending info, both email and snail mail, to many Bay Area and beyond Media,(including Santa Rosa Press "Democrat"), also elected officials. Keep pounding on the doors till they open. Remember that " the best of my recollection.." Watergate started with much less apparent cause.
FYI. San Francisco Bayview, June 1, had article starting on front page
headlined "John Conyers seeks 100,000 signatures", sounds like he's
getting close according to website.
Peace and Power.
The Monk.

I've been working hard trying to pursude a reporter at the Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, California) to keep this story on the burners in the PD - (it had a couple of articles in early/mid-May)...

The response is essentially the paper is waiting for futher developments. In other words, if Congress opens an investigation or holds a press conference announcing hearings or takes some other action, etc.

But unless something of that nature, or something more substantial like the ACTUAL minutes of that meeting were released, or if tape recordings existed and were made available or leaked - and that this item cannot be factually referred to even as meeting "minutes" or even a "memo" [!]

And as the reporter with the Press Democrat further explains, that although there is no refutement that *a* memo exists from the named parties, there is no confirmation that this is actually authentic.

He sort of has a point. Anyone know if anyone is investigating the story any further ?

Bush haters central. Here we go again. You all should find yourselves a day job to keep busy. This memo proves nothing. It consists of hearsay; analysis of what the author "thinks" is being discussed in the US; and is only evidence, if true, of the extensive analysis that is necessry in foreign affairs policy decisions. I'm thrilled none of you are involved in foreign policy matters, as you would all think that you can make a decision today and take action tomorrow. It doesn't work that way. Dig far enough into analysis memos of any U. S. administration or foreign government and you would find conflicting opinions on actions to be take. That is necessary, in order to come to a well-reasoned, informed decision. None of you appear capable of that. Pity.

I heard about this memo weeks ago. What really amazes me is that the press is not covering this story, of course they are defending the Bush Administration.

The american people have been lied to over and over again. I for one have been against this war from the start because Saddam had nothing to do with 911. Bush wanted to go into Iraq at all costs and he did.

We have destroyed a country killed innocent men, women and chidren for what for lies and the Bush admin. Bush needs to be impeached and it is time the american people open their eyes to what this admin has done to Iraq and to america. This is not the america that I grew up in.

Imagine how you would feel if someone came into our country and did to our country what Bush did to Iraq. He killed thousands of people and that is murder. Bush is just as bad as Hitler maybe worse.

Its time for the american people start wrtiing the press and contact their representatives in congress. We are americans we put these people in office and we can vote them out.

I want to know how anyone can defend Bush and say he is a good President, he will go down as the worse President in history.

Its a pity you can't see the truth. My God how many more of our boys are going to die for this war!

I don't know what it is going to take to wake all you people up who support this man. The truth is Bush lied and lied to the american people. furthermore Iraq is a war we will not win plain and simple.

If you Bush supporters support the war then it is time to sign up your children and send them to we have any takers? How about you...

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