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Iraq memo has serious implications about war
Oregon Daily Emerald
By Emerald editorial board
June 28, 2005
Earlier this month, a piece of documentation relating to the war in Iraq was uncovered: The Downing Street memo; it is the most convincing proof yet that military action in Iraq was based on faulty, possibly nonexistent intelligence. Worst of all, the memo makes it perfectly clear that the lack of concrete information pertaining to Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction was no secret to President Bush.
The memo details British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s report on a political talk involving President Bush. The most poignant line of the memo, dated eight months prior to the United States’ invasion of Iraq, reads:
"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."
Intelligence and facts were being fixed. Remember how mad the American public became when former President Bill Clinton lied to his nation concerning an extra-marital affair? The Downing Street memo is concrete proof that Bush not only lied about his fears over WMDs, but also led his country blindly into war for the purpose of satisfying some kind of personal vendetta against Saddam Hussein. After thousands of casualties and billions dollars, it seems that someone owes the world an apology.
If the memo is valid, then the significance of Bush’s lie is huge. The Downing Street Memo means that when U.S. political organizations made their decision to support the war in Iraq, they were doing so under false pretenses. The use of a preemptive strike was authorized largely because of the belief (instilled heavily by Bush himself) that there was some sort of time frame; if those politicians had been aware that Bush created Iraq’s WMDs out of thin air, the administration might have been pushed to find a long-term, diplomatic solution.
Besides the material ramifications of such a lie, it is also important to consider the paradigm that is set when a president feels he is correct in lying to the country he has been elected to serve. A democracy is based on serving the will of the people; if those people are receiving false information, their needs and desires can be neither heard nor met.
Of course, it must be kept in mind that the memo is nothing if not ambiguous, as Bush supporters are quick to point out. Bush and Blair have denied allegations that intelligence was fixed to prompt the war in Iraq, and the memo itself does not contain enough specifics to thoroughly indict anyone.
Then again, it didn’t take much more than a blue dress with a stain on it to impeach Clinton. The Downing Street memo has hardly received the enormous media or public attention it deserves. At this point, the Bush administration owes this country a sound explanation, rather than just a vague denial. If Bush or Blair cannot provide such an explanation, then neither man deserves to hold his current public office.