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Conyers, Other Black Democrats Fired Up Over Downing Street Memo

Date: Tuesday, June 21, 2005
By: Monica Lewis,

A simple British memo is now causing a band of U.S. politicians to demand some concrete answers from President George W. Bush on how he plans to end the conflict in Iraq.

The “Downing Street Memo,


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On the very day of the Conyers' hearing, 6 new leaked documents became available, and received lengthy coverage in the Los Angeles Times. These 6, taken together, are if anything even more damaging and important than the so-called "Downing Street Memo," actually the minutes of a July 23, 2002 cabinet meeting with Blair present.

More important than "fixing the intelligence around the policy," these make absolutely clear that Bush, Cheney et al., decided on "regime change" in Iraq by military means first, and only then shopped around for whatever pretext would serve them best in trying to sell this to the rest of the world, and especially the UN. It also makes clear that both the Brits, and the US, knew that "regime change" had no legal standing, and would not fly as the reason for going to war--one of the leaked items says that regime change "looks like a grudge between Bush and Saddam." So, they discuss the options--what might work. Charging violation of the existing UN resolutions was discarded. So was charging an increase in WMD production, which they say hadn't increased at all. In fact, two of the documents literally say that nothing Saddam has done has changed, only US tolerance for Saddam has changed. Finally, they basically say they need to force very intrusive inspections, on the assumption that Saddam will either reject them, or allow them and then thwart them, either way providing a pretext for war, what one document calls the need to "wrongfoot" Saddam--aka setting him up. Saddam was smarter, and cooperated 100%, as we all know, forcing Bush to ignore and deny that he was, in fact, cooperating 100%.

Given what's in these new six items, it is important for people to stop referring only to the "Downing Street Memo". I propose calling the collection of 7 (there is actually an 8th, on July 21), the Downing Street Papers, evoking the Pentagon Papers, and being more accurate, since most of these documents are not memos.

And the point is that these prove what so many of us knew as it was happening--Bush et al decided on war, and then pretext-shopped trying to find some way to justify it after the fact. Well, guess what, fellows, in our Constitutional Republic, you can't do it this way. Your stated reason for going to war has got to be your real one, and these documents prove this was not the case. That's why they make such a powerful prima facie case for impeachment and removal from office.

One more point also finally coming out: the dramatic escalation of the air war over Iraq starting in the fall of 2002, was also TOTALLY ILLEGAL. It had no authorization from the UN. Tommy Franks himself refers to "spikes" in the air campaign, an admission that they were doing something they had no legal authority to do. In effect, they started a war in the fall of 2002, without even the figleaf of a Congressional resolution. This independently would be grounds for impeachment.

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