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Orlando Sentinel (Florida)
June 12, 2005 Sunday
SECTION: EDITORIAL; FLORIDA; Pg. G3
HEADLINE: A missing story?
A secret document about the Iraq war released four days before Prime Minister Tony Blair's recent re-election has prompted a wave of press coverage in Britain but barely a ripple in the United States.
[Remainder of column removed at request of Orlando Sentinel.]
Excerpts from CNN RELIABLE SOURCES
June 12, 2005 Sunday
GUESTS: John Fund, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, John Harris, John Tierney
KURTZ: Welcome to RELIABLE SOURCES, where today we turn our crucial lens on a new broadside against the press, this time from the Democrats. I'm Howard Kurtz.
Republicans have complained about media bias for decades, from the days of Richard Nixon and Watergate, to the first President Bush, to the current president, all arguing that journalists tilt to the left. But now, leading Democrats say the press has gone soft in covering a Republican administration, and the latest to make that charge at a fund-raiser this week, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
NPR's "On the Media" this week covers the media's coverage, or lack thereof, of the Downing Street Minutes.
Go here to listen. The transcript will be available there on Tuesday.
On The Media interviews the USA Today reporter who covered the USA Today's lack of coverage. He suggests the US media was reluctant to cover this story because of fears that the document might not be authentic, and because editors thought they already knew this information and weren't sure it was important. After the host grossly misquotes the famous line about "fixed around the policy," the reporter offers the excuse that "fixed" might not mean "manipulated." The host asks about my request, quoted in the USA Today, that this get the coverage Michael Jackson and Paris Hilton do. The reporter suggests that this is a reasonable request but that advocates and readers don't always understand the necessary "checks and balances."
Memo offers Bush's critics hard evidence on prewar intelligence
BY DICK POLMAN
Knight Ridder Newspapers
PHILADELPHIA - (KRT) - Shortly after his November triumph, President Bush declared that voters had endorsed his prosecution of the war in Iraq. In his words, "We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 elections."
But today, with U.S. casualties rising and military recruitment falling, it is clear that Bush's accountability moment has been extended. Even though he won't run for office again, voters continue to assess the signature decision of his presidency; in growing numbers, they are voicing dissatisfaction.
Michael Smith, Sunday Times of London, June 12, 2005
Six weeks ago The Sunday Times published the leaked minutes of a July 2002 Downing Street meeting in which Tony Blair committed Britain to war in Iraq months before parliament was consulted.
They detailed a secret pledge to President George W Bush to help oust Saddam, showed that Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, had warned such action could be illegal and that Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, had thought the case for war was �thin�.
By any standards these were fascinating revelations. Nothing, however, could have prepared us for what a worldwide impact the story would have. More than a month later it still features in the daily top 10 most popular stories on our website, with 330,000 people estimated to have logged on to read it.
By Walter Pincus, Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 12, 2005; Page A01
A briefing paper prepared for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers eight months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq concluded that the U.S. military was not preparing adequately for what the British memo predicted would be a "protracted and costly" postwar occupation of that country.
The eight-page memo, written in advance of a July 23, 2002, Downing Street meeting on Iraq, provides new insights into how senior British officials saw a Bush administration decision to go to war as inevitable, and realized more clearly than their American counterparts the potential for the post-invasion instability that continues to plague Iraq.
Editor and Publisher, By E&P Staff
Published: June 11, 2005 10:00 PM ET
NEW YORK Just as the U.S. media attempts�-albeit a month late�-to get on top of the so-called �Downing Street Memo,� the Sunday Times in London reports another leaked document which confirms and goes behind the message of the memo.
�Ministers were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal,� the Sunday Times reports.
The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Prime Minister Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier. The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair�s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was �necessary to create the conditions� which would make it legal.
by Michael Smith
Times of London
MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal.
The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier.
The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair's inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was "necessary to create the conditions" which would make it legal.
By Russ Baker
Originally published Wed, 27 Oct 2004
Two years before 9/11, candidate Bush was already talking privately about attacking Iraq, according to his former ghost writer
Houston: Two years before the September 11 attacks, presidential candidate George W. Bush was already talking privately about the political benefits of attacking Iraq, according to his former ghost writer, who held many conversations with then-Texas Governor Bush in preparation for a planned autobiography.
"He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999," said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. "It was on his mind. He said to me: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.' And he said, ‘My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.' He said, ‘If I have a chance to invade….if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency."
Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father's shadow. The moment, Herskowitz said, came in the wake of the September 11 attacks. "Suddenly, he's at 91 percent in the polls, and he'd barely crawled out of the bunker."
That President Bush and his advisers had Iraq on their minds long before weapons inspectors had finished their work – and long before alleged Iraqi ties with terrorists became a central rationale for war – has been raised elsewhere, including in a book based on recollections of former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. However, Herskowitz was in a unique position to hear Bush's unguarded and unfiltered views on Iraq, war and other matters – well before he became president.
In 1999, Herskowitz struck a deal with the campaign of George W. Bush about a ghost-written autobiography, which was ultimately titled A Charge to Keep : My Journey to the White House, and he and Bush signed a contract in which the two would split the proceeds. The publisher was William Morrow. Herskowitz was given unimpeded access to Bush, and the two met approximately 20 times so Bush could share his thoughts. Herskowitz began working on the book in May, 1999, and says that within two months he had completed and submitted some 10 chapters, with a remaining 4-6 chapters still on his computer. Herskowitz was replaced as Bush's ghostwriter after Bush's handlers concluded that the candidate's views and life experiences were not being cast in a sufficiently positive light.
According to Herskowitz, who has authored more than 30 books, many of them jointly written autobiographies of famous Americans in politics, sports and media (including that of Reagan adviser Michael Deaver), Bush and his advisers were sold on the idea that it was difficult for a president to accomplish an electoral agenda without the record-high approval numbers that accompany successful if modest wars.
The revelations on Bush's attitude toward Iraq emerged recently during two taped interviews of Herskowitz, which included a discussion of a variety of matters, including his continued closeness with the Bush family, indicated by his subsequent selection to pen an authorized biography of Bush's grandfather, written and published last year with the assistance and blessing of the Bush family.
Herskowitz also revealed the following:
-In 2003, Bush's father indicated to him that he disagreed with his son's invasion of Iraq.
-Bush admitted that he failed to fulfill his Vietnam-era domestic National Guard service obligation, but claimed that he had been "excused."
-Bush revealed that after he left his Texas National Guard unit in 1972 under murky circumstances, he never piloted a plane again. That casts doubt on the carefully-choreographed moment of Bush emerging in pilot's garb from a jet on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003 to celebrate "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. The image, instantly telegraphed around the globe, and subsequent hazy White House statements about his capacity in the cockpit, created the impression that a heroic Bush had played a role in landing the craft.
-Bush described his own business ventures as "floundering" before campaign officials insisted on recasting them in a positive light.
Throughout the interviews for this article and in subsequent conversations, Herskowitz indicated he was conflicted over revealing information provided by a family with which he has longtime connections, and by how his candor could comport with the undefined operating principles of the as-told-to genre. Well after the interviews—in which he expressed consternation that Bush's true views, experience and basic essence had eluded the American people —Herskowitz communicated growing concern about the consequences for himself of the publication of his remarks, and said that he had been under the impression he would not be quoted by name. However, when conversations began, it was made clear to him that the material was intended for publication and attribution. A tape recorder was present and visible at all times.
Several people who know Herskowitz well addressed his character and the veracity of his recollections. "I don't know anybody that's ever said a bad word about Mickey," said Barry Silverman, a well-known Houston executive and civic figure who worked with him on another book project. An informal survey of Texas journalists turned up uniform confidence that Herskowitz's account as contained in this article could be considered accurate.
One noted Texas journalist who spoke with Herskowitz about the book in 1999 recalls how the author mentioned to him at the time that Bush had revealed things the campaign found embarrassing and did not want in print. He requested anonymity because of the political climate in the state. "I can't go near this," he said.
According to Herskowitz, George W. Bush's beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a notion dating back to the Reagan White House – ascribed in part to now-vice president Dick Cheney, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee under Reagan. "Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade."
Bush's circle of pre-election advisers had a fixation on the political capital that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher collected from the Falklands War. Said Herskowitz: "They were just absolutely blown away, just enthralled by the scenes of the troops coming back, of the boats, people throwing flowers at [Thatcher] and her getting these standing ovations in Parliament and making these magnificent speeches."
Republicans, Herskowitz said, felt that Jimmy Carter's political downfall could be attributed largely to his failure to wage a war. He noted that President Reagan and President Bush's father himself had (besides the narrowly-focused Gulf War I) successfully waged limited wars against tiny opponents – Grenada and Panama – and gained politically. But there were successful small wars, and then there were quagmires, and apparently George H.W. Bush and his son did not see eye to eye.
"I know [Bush senior] would not admit this now, but he was opposed to it. I asked him if he had talked to W about invading Iraq. "He said, ‘No I haven't, and I won't, but Brent [Scowcroft] has.' Brent would not have talked to him without the old man's okaying it." Scowcroft, national security adviser in the elder Bush's administration, penned a highly publicized warning to George W. Bush about the perils of an invasion.
Herskowitz's revelations are not the sole indicator of Bush's pre-election thinking on Iraq. In December 1999, some six months after his talks with Herskowitz, Bush surprised veteran political chroniclers, including the Boston Globe's David Nyhan, with his blunt pronouncements about Saddam at a six-way New Hampshire primary event that got little notice: "It was a gaffe-free evening for the rookie front-runner, till he was asked about Saddam's weapons stash," wrote Nyhan. ‘I'd take ‘em out,' [Bush] grinned cavalierly, ‘take out the weapons of mass destruction…I'm surprised he's still there," said Bush of the despot who remains in power after losing the Gulf War to Bush Jr.'s father…It remains to be seen if that offhand declaration of war was just Texas talk, a sort of locker room braggadocio, or whether it was Bush's first big clinker. "
The notion that President Bush held unrealistic or naïve views about the consequences of war was further advanced recently by a Bush supporter, the evangelist Pat Robertson, who revealed that Bush had told him the Iraq invasion would yield no casualties. In addition, in recent days, high-ranking US military officials have complained that the White House did not provide them with adequate resources for the task at hand.
Herskowitz considers himself a friend of the Bush family, and has been a guest at the family vacation home in Kennebunkport. In the late 1960s, Herskowitz, a longtime Houston Chronicle sports columnist designated President Bush's father, then-Congressman George HW Bush, to replace him as a guest columnist, and the two have remained close since then. (Herskowitz was suspended briefly in April without pay for reusing material from one of his own columns, about legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.)
In 1999, when Herskowitz turned in his chapters for Charge to Keep, Bush's staff expressed displeasure —often over Herskowitz's use of language provided by Bush himself. In a chapter on the oil business, Herskowitz included Bush's own words to describe the Texan's unprofitable business ventures, writing: "the companies were floundering". "I got a call from one of the campaign lawyers, he was kind of angry, and he said, ‘You've got some wrong information.' I didn't bother to say, ‘Well you know where it came from.' [The lawyer] said, ‘We do not consider that the governor struggled or floundered in the oil business. We consider him a successful oilman who started up at least two new businesses.' "
In the end, campaign officials decided not to go with Herskowitz's account, and, moreover, demanded everything back. "The lawyer called me and said, ‘Delete it. Shred it. Just do it.' "
"They took it and [communications director] Karen [Hughes] rewrote it," he said. A campaign official arrived at his home at seven a.m. on a Monday morning and took his notes and computer files. However, Herskowitz, who is known for his memory of anecdotes from his long history in journalism and book publishing, says he is confident about his recollections.
According to Herskowitz, Bush was reluctant to discuss his time in the Texas Air National Guard – and inconsistent when he did so. Bush, he said, provided conflicting explanations of how he came to bypass a waiting list and obtain a coveted Guard slot as a domestic alternative to being sent to Vietnam. Herskowitz also said that Bush told him that after transferring from his Texas Guard unit two-thirds through his six-year military obligation to work on an Alabama political campaign, he did not attend any Alabama National Guard drills at all, because he was "excused." This directly contradicts his public statements that he participated in obligatory training with the Alabama National Guard. Bush's claim to have fulfilled his military duty has been subject to intense scrutiny; he has insisted in the past that he did show up for monthly drills in Alabama – though commanding officers say they never saw him, and no Guardsmen have come forward to accept substantial "rewards" for anyone who can claim to have seen Bush on base.
Herskowitz said he asked Bush if he ever flew a plane again after leaving the Texas Air National Guard in 1972 – which was two years prior to his contractual obligation to fly jets was due to expire. He said Bush told him he never flew any plane – military or civilian – again. That would contradict published accounts in which Bush talks about his days in 1973 working with inner-city children, when he claimed to have taken some of the children up in a plane.
In 2002, three years after he had been pulled off the George W. Bush biography, Herskowitz was asked by Bush's father to write a book about the current president's grandfather, Prescott Bush, after getting a message that the senior Bush wanted to see him. "Former President Bush just handed it to me. We were sitting there one day, and I was visiting him there in his office…He said, ‘I wish somebody would do a book about my dad.' "
"He said to me, ‘I know this has been a disappointing time for you, but it's amazing how many times something good will come out of it.' I passed it on to my agent, he jumped all over it. I asked [Bush senior], ‘Would you support it and would you give me access to the rest of family?' He said yes."
That book, Duty, Honor, Country: The Life and Legacy of Prescott Bush, was published in 2003 by Routledge. If anything, the book has been criticized for its over-reliance on the Bush family's perspective and rosy interpretation of events. Herskowitz himself is considered the ultimate "as-told-to" author, lending credibility to his account of what George W. Bush told him. Herskowitz's other books run the gamut of public figures, and include the memoirs of Reagan aide Deaver, former Texas Governor and Nixon Treasury Secretary John Connally, newsman Dan Rather, astronaut Walter Cunningham, and baseball greats Mickey Mantle and Nolan Ryan.
After Herskowitz was pulled from the Bush book project, the biographer learned that a scenario was being prepared to explain his departure. "I got a phone call from someone in the Bush campaign, confidentially, saying ‘Watch your back.' "
Reporters covering Bush say that when they inquired as to why Herskowitz was no longer on the project, Hughes intimated that Herskowitz had personal habits that interfered with his writing – a claim Herskowitz said is unfounded. Later, the campaign put out the word that Herskowitz had been removed for missing a deadline. Hughes subsequently finished the book herself – it received largely critical reviews for its self-serving qualities and lack of spontaneity or introspection.
So, said Herskowitz, the best material was left on the cutting room floor, including Bush's true feelings.
"He told me that as a leader, you can never admit to a mistake," Herskowitz said. "That was one of the keys to being a leader."
This week on CounterSpin: The Downing Street memo, minutes from a 2002 British intelligence briefing that indicate that the Bush administration was intent on invading Iraq despite its claims to the contrary, is being called a smoking gun--compelling, new evidence that Bush and Blair lied to get us into war.
So why does the U.S. press corps so far seem as uninterested in the memo as, well, as the White House would obviously like them to be? We'll hear from David Swanson, co-founder of the new coalition AfterDowningStreet.org
TELEGRAM & GAZETTE (Massachusetts)
June 09, 2005 Thursday, ALL EDITIONS
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. A1
By Richard Nangle; Telegram & Gazette Staff
Referring to the so-called Downing Street memo - minutes of a high-level British meeting in July 2002 - U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., yesterday accused the Bush administration of "dishonesty, lack of candor, and lack of planning" in launching war on Iraq.
Mr. Kennedy's statement comes a month after 90 members of Congress, including six from Massachusetts, signed a letter that asks President Bush to address questions raised by the secret British memo, which claims the president had decided by the summer of 2002 to invade Iraq regardless of evidence of weapons of mass destruction there.
Unease grows as war backing falls
By Susan Milligan, Globe Staff | June 11, 2005
WASHINGTON -- Faced with plummeting public support for the war in Iraq, a growing number of members of Congress from both parties are reevaluating the reasons for the invasion and demanding the Bush administration produce a plan for withdrawing US troops.
A bipartisan group of House members is drafting a resolution that calls on the administration to present a strategy for getting the United States out of Iraq, reflecting an increasing restlessness about the war in a chamber that 2 1/2 years ago voted overwhelmingly to support the use of force in Iraq.
Nearly six weeks after the disclosure of the Downing Street Memo -- which suggests that the Bush administration decided to go to war in Iraq much earlier than acknowledged, and that it manipulated pre-war intelligence to support that decision -- the memo still has not gotten much serious media coverage.
While many news organizations that ignored the story for weeks have finally touched on it, few have done more than repeating what the British Sunday Times reported on May 1, and much of the coverage has focused on the lack of coverage the memo has gotten, rather than on the content of the memo, its credibility, and what it means.
Published in St Louis Post Dispatch
By Edmund Fruchter, supporter of AfterDowningStreet.org
Friday, Jun. 10 2005
It might help if young people saw politicians, including the president, being held accountable for their actions.
While the Downing Street Memo - the "secret and strictly personal" minutes of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's July 23, 2002, staff meeting on Iraq - has enjoyed wide circulation in the British press, it remains virtually unknown to most Americans. Is this a matter of ignorance or choice?
As an undergraduate at Washington University, I do a lot of reading. Having studied the student rebellion in France of May, 1968, the accounts of young Americans pouring blood on Vietnam draft records and the overwhelming activism of my parent's generation, what I wonder is: Who hit the reset button?
By Jim Mullins, Member of AfterDowningStreet.org
Also published by South Florida Sun-Sentinel
The rationales the Bush administration used to promote the Iraq war as necesary to counteract an imminent threat from Iraq have fallen by the wayside.
None of the commissions or congressional investigations have gone beyond the facile conclusions that "mistakes were made" or that the intelligence was "dead wrong." No official who gave the orders or held the responsibility has been named. President Bush took his re-election as a referendum on his previous policies, implying that we should move on.
Ekstra Bladet october 26 2003, 1. section, page 7
By Bo Elkj�r
Minister of foreign affairs Per Stig Moeller was told about US plans for war against Saddam Hussein in july last year
Saddam Hussein had to go. The cost and the means didn't matter, but the target was completely in the clear - and the danish minister of foreign affairs Per Stig Moeller (Conservative Party) was personally informed about the target on july 3 last year.
Saddam�s regime was to be removed by either diplomatic, economical or military means.
The Americans were concidering both 'secret operations and an open confrontation'.
By John R. MacArthur, Columbia Journalism Review, May/June 2004.
"[W]here was the American press on September 7, 2002, a day when we sorely needed reporters? It was then that the White House propaganda drive began in earnest, with the appearance before television cameras of George Bush and Tony Blair at Camp David. Between them, the two politicians cited a �new� report from the UN�s International Atomic Energy Agency that allegedly stated that Iraq was �six months away� from building a nuclear weapon. �don�t know what more evidence we need," declared the president.
By the Brattleboro Reformer
Friday, June 10, 2005 - The frenzy over "Deep Throat" is fading. The hosannas over the brief, shining moment in history when reporters did their jobs and brought down a corrupt president are dying down.
Perhaps now, we can return to the present day and the multitude of opportunities that exist for latter-day Woodwards and Bernsteins to shine.
Granted, over the last three decades, journalists have become more timid and deferential to power. We need a few good journalists, ones who don't care what the power-brokers think of them, monitoring both sides of the political fence.
Bush and 'the memo'
Friday, June 10, 2005
PRESIDENT BUSH apparently thinks he can dismiss the damning "Downing Street memo" with a few glib words.
If he is right, it is a sad commentary on the state of American democracy and values.
The memo, recounting the details of a July 23, 2002, meeting at British Prime Minister Tony Blair's official residence on 10 Downing St., strongly suggested that the message had been sent across the Atlantic that the Bush White House had made the decision to wage war on Iraq. The minutes of the meeting indicated that Blair and his top-level intelligence and foreign-policy aides were given clear signals that military action was "inevitable."
By Tony Allen-Mills, Washington correspondent of The Sunday Times, for Times Online
President George W. Bush has finally responded to a question that much of America has been asking: did a secret memo prove that Washington was gearing for war in Iraq months earlier than the White House has admitted?
The Downing Street memo on US preparations for war in Iraq was revealed in The Sunday Times five weeks ago. But it wasn't until Tony Blair's visit to the White House this week that the resulting controversy made waves in Washington, and revived a long-dormant American debate about President Bush�s march to war from the summer of 2002.
Published June 9, 2005
On the subject of when, why and how the United States decided to attack Iraq, American citizens' recent seeming lack of interest has been a puzzle to many in the rest of the world.
As the Bush administration's stated reasons for war shifted, ebbed and flowed, many simply went with the flow, finding each succeeding reason -- well, reason enough. Some became more and more skeptical, even cynical; others just didn't know what to believe. But whatever their reasons, Americans have shown much less interest than the British in a bombshell of a memo leaked last month in London.
From the Journal Sentinel
Posted: June 9, 2005
Among the anti-war, anti-Bush crowd, at least, a lot of agitation is being conducted on behalf of what's being called the Downing Street memo, a document that was first brought to light by the Sunday Times of London on May 1, just days before an election in Britain. But the memo raises questions for everyone on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, which deserve more than the brushoff they have received.
The document describes a meeting British Prime Minister Tony Blair held in July 2002 with some of his top military and intelligence advisers, and it reports on a recent visit to Washington by Richard Dearlove, then chief of MI6, Britain's intelligence service.
Here's a transcript. Check out the intro to this segment in which they suggest that a soldier who just died probably didn't think much about how the war got started. Please post if you've ever met an Iraq War vet who didn't think about that.
BROWN: An American soldier died today when a roadside bomb went off near a military convoy outside Tikrit. The soldier, he or she, we don't yet know, was the 16th to die this month in Iraq and the 350th to die this year.
We don't imagine he or she spent much time thinking about how the war came to pass or why. Troops have more important things to worry about. But back home, a memo from Britain's intelligence service is once again raising those long-running questions. Questions also of why the memo isn't getting attention that some, some, believe it deserves.
Although it hasn't actually printed any serious reporting on the Downing Street Minutes, the Washington Post has now taken to criticising other media outlets' lack of coverage. Does that mean there WILL BE coverage coming from the Washington We-Found-Deep-Throat Post?
The Foxnewsified Bush Interview
By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Thursday, June 9, 2005; 1:24 PM
Thanks to Fox News's exclusive interview with President Bush yesterday, the leader of the free world is now on the record when it comes to John Kerry's Yale grades, Laura Bush's presidential aspirations and -- yes -- the Michael Jackson trial's effect on public policy discourse.
History will hold Bush and Blair accountable for their lies in the run-up to the Iraq war, even if the D.C. press corps just finds them funny.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Joe Conason, SALON
June 10, 2005 | On Tuesday, more than a month after the "Downing Street memo" first appeared on Britain's front pages, a Reuters correspondent asked George W. Bush and Tony Blair to explain the secret document that says the Bush administration had decided by July 2002 to invade Iraq -- and that the intelligence on Saddam Hussein's arsenal was then being "fixed" to bolster an otherwise exceedingly "thin" justification for war.
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Thursday 09 June 2005
As to US assertions that Iraq possessed bombs, rockets and shells for poison agents, unmanned aerial vehicles for delivering biological and chemical weapons, nuclear weapon materials, sarin, tabun, mustard agent, precursor chemicals, VX nerve agent, anthrax, aflotoxins, ricin and surface-to-surface Al Hussein missiles, not one has so far been found.
One vial of Strain B Botulinum toxin is found in the domestic refrigerator of an Iraqi scientist. It is ten years old. Hans Blix comments, "They wanted to come to the conclusion that there were weapons. Like the former days of the witch hunt, they are convinced that they exist. And if you see a black cat, well, that's evidence of the witch."
By Philippe Naughton, Times Online
It is not that often, we have to admit, that an item posted one night on Times Online is still getting hundreds of thousands of hits six weeks later, especially when what bloggers like to call 'the mainstream media' have largely ignored its existence.
But that is what happened to the now infamous secret Downing Street memo, posted on the site on May 1 alongside a story by Michael Smith of The Sunday Times. And if the document has taken on a life of its own it is largely because of the bloggers and their web-savvy allies on the US Left.
By Robert Parry
So what�s made the difference?
As George W. Bush�s poll numbers sink to his personal lows and the mainstream news media finally reports on the Downing Street Memo, what political factors should get the credit for these changes? And what are the lessons for the future?
As readers of Consortiumnews.com know, I have long argued that the American liberals/progressives made a historic mistake three decades ago when large funders decided to shift money away from national media outlets. The idea was to concentrate on local grassroots organizing and on direct activism, such as feeding the poor or buying up endangered wetlands.
By John Prados, TomPaine.com
June 09, 2005
John Prados is a senior fellow with the National Security Archive in Washington, D.C. He is author of Hoodwinked: The Documents That Reveal How Bush Sold Us a War (The New Press).
As the Bush administration pushes to secure confirmation by the United States Senate of John R. Bolton in his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, controversy continues to simmer�over failure to provide materials requested by the Foreign Relations Committee, over Bolton�s efforts to have intelligence officers fired for their views, over his arrogant management style.
From the September 2003 issue of Washingtonian
If President Bush suffers because it turns out he took the country to war on false pretenses, he might look back on stories by Walter Pincus for drawing first blood.
On March 16, the eve of war, Pincus wrote in the Post that �U.S. intelligence agencies have been unable to give Congress or the Pentagon specific information� about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
At the time, the Bush White House was telling the world that America had to invade Iraq to root out weapons of mass destruction. Pincus quoted sources saying that there was �a lack of hard evidence.� And they also said the White House had �exaggerated intelligence� to back up its drive toward war.