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Stay The Crooked Course

TomPaine.com
By Ray McGovern
June 28, 2005

Ray McGovern works for Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. Now retired, he is a 27-year veteran of the analysis division of the CIA, and more recently co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Forget the documentary evidence (the Downing Street minutes) that the war on Iraq was fraudulent from the outset. Forget that the United States and Britain started pulverizing Iraq with stepped-up bombing months before the president or prime minister breathed a word to Congress or Parliament. Forget that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and his merry men—his co-opted military brass—have no clue regarding what U.S. forces are up against in Iraq. Get ready to hear President George W. Bush tell us this evening that we "have to stay the course."

57 Percent Say Bush Administration Intentionally Exaggerated Evidence

Majority of Americans believe Bush administration misled public on Iraq: poll Tue Jun 28, 2:14 AM ET
By AFP

Most Americans now believe that President George W. Bush's administration "intentionally misled" the public in going to war in Iraq, according to a poll.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll came on the eve of a key speech in which Bush will seek public support for the war, which 53 percent of Americans who were surveyed said was not worth fighting.

A record 57 percent say the Bush administration "intentionally exaggerated its evidence that pre-war Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons," according to the poll.

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:

U.K. media keeps pressure on Bush

Edward M. Gomez, special to SF Gate, www.sfgate.com
Tuesday, June 28, 2005

As President Bush gets ready to deliver another carefully stage-managed televised speech to the nation from an army base in North Carolina tonight, commentators and news analysts in the British press are cutting through the White House's rhetoric to ask, in language that often sounds much stronger than that of their counterparts in the United States, some hard questions about the Republicans' Iraq-war policy and the future of the post-Saddam crisis.

"U.S. public opinion on the Iraq war dips with every dead soldier and plummets at the first sniff of defeat," commentator Gary Younge writes in The Guardian. Citing a recent Gallup poll of Americans, Younge notes that "[m]ore than half [of those surveyed] believe the war has not made them safer, and 40 percent believe it has striking similarities to the experience in Vietnam." (A separate CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted June 16-19 shows that 59 percent of adult Americans nationwide are now opposed to the war. (PollingReport.com))

52 Percent Say Bush Administration Deliberately Misled Public Before War

That's the buried lead in this Washington Post article, and that figure comes from a survey taken BEFORE people's activism forced the Post to put this issue on its front page today.

Americans skeptical about claims on insurgents
Most support staying in Iraq, though, poll finds
By Richard Morin and Dan Balz
The Washington Post
Updated: 10:29 p.m. ET June 27, 2005

As President Bush prepares to address the nation about Iraq tonight, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that most Americans do not believe the administration's claims that impressive gains are being made against the insurgency, but a clear majority is willing to keep U.S. forces there for an extended time to stabilize the country.

Washington Post Covers Downing Street Documents on Front Page

Link to original.

From Memos, Insights Into Ally's Doubts On Iraq War
British Advisers Foresaw Variety of Risks, Problems

By Glenn Frankel
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, June 28, 2005; A01

LONDON -- In the spring of 2002, two weeks before British Prime Minister Tony Blair journeyed to Crawford, Tex., to meet with President Bush at his ranch about the escalating confrontation with Iraq, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw sounded a prescient warning.

"The rewards from your visit to Crawford will be few," Straw wrote in a March 25 memo to Blair stamped "Secret and Personal." "The risks are high, both for you and for the Government."

KARL ROVE CAN'T LIE HIS WAY OUT

Niagara Falls Reporter
By Bill Gallagher

DETROIT -- Cynicism is the soul of George W. Bush's presidency and Karl Rove, the man he calls his "brain," speaks out loud the thoughts lurking in the president's ruthless but muddled mind. Rove is the most vile, despicable, duplicitous, power-addicted, war-mongering, lying neo-fascist in the administration, save Dick Cheney and the man who lets them run the government for him.

Rove's cynicism is a perfect reflection of Bush's jaded mind and willingness to say and do anything to grab and preserve power. If that means sending young men and women to die in an illegal, unnecessary war against the wrong enemy, Rove figures, so what?

Incinerating Iraqis: The Napalm Cover-Up

By Mike Whitney
www.dissidentvoice.org
June 27, 2005

“You smell that? Do you smell that? Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for twelve hours. When it was all over I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory.

U of Texas Prof Defends Imperialism, Suggests Bush Had to Lie Because People too Dumb to Understand

Going on the attack

By Allan Saxe

Special to the Star-Telegram

Criticism of President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq based on that country's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction continues without abatement.

The Downing Street memo recently surfaced in Britain. It implied that Bush wanted the war no matter what and that he used the WMD issue as a pretext.

Having been criticized for a lack of post-war planning, Bush ironically is being chastised for a surfeit of pre-war planning.

Nations have always used various reasons -- usually dramatic, oversimplified and visual -- as pretexts for war. This simple, sound-bite approach often obfuscates real and more complicated motivations.

More Americans Say Bush Responsible for Provoking Iraq War

49% Say Bush Responsible for Provoking Iraq War, 44% Say Hussein

June 23, 2005--Forty-nine percent (49%) of Americans say that President Bush is more responsible for starting the War with Iraq than Saddam Hussein. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that 44% take the opposite view and believe Hussein shoulders most of the responsibility.

In late 2002, months before the fighting began, most Americans thought that Hussein was the one provoking the War. Just one-in-four thought the President was doing the provoking at that time.

The biggest change in perceptions has come among Democrats.

Memo to editors: Cover memos

By C.B. Hanif
Palm Beach Post Editorial Writer
Sunday, June 26, 2005

No topic has funneled more recent outrage to this desk than what have become known as the Downing Street memos. Critics charge that the leaked British intelligence documents are further evidence that the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq was a done deal at least eight months earlier, rather than a last resort, and that the administration scammed a timid Congress while assuring a fearful American public that an invasion decision had not been made.

"And, if this be true," e-mailed Jimmy L. Shirley Jr., "it shows that the war is based on a lie (sound familiar?) and that our boys and girls are dying and being maimed based on this. Two of my sons are over there in the Army. I hope they get out and away alive and in one piece."

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

Published on Saturday, June 18, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
By Ken Sanders

Under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Any reasonable interpretation of the Constitution's impeachment clause, and the historical application thereof, leads to the inescapable conclusion that articles of impeachment should be brought against President Bush for his commission of high crimes against the United States.

Is this Bush's 'smoking gun'?

War opponents seek U.S. inquiry into U.K. memos Documents show war started before Congress approved
Toronto Star
TIM HARPER, WASHINGTON BUREAU

WASHINGTON—Cindy Sheehan never supported George W. Bush's war in Iraq, and always thought the case for the invasion was built on a pyramid of lies.

Her son Casey shared her views, she says, even as he deployed for Iraq from Fort Hood, Tex. His perception didn't change even as the army specialist mounted a rescue mission in Sadr City 14 months ago, then took a bullet in the midst of chaotic battle, ending a life that didn't last 25 years.

He had been in Iraq only two weeks.

Fixing the Facts

EDITORIAL
Memphis Flyer

There are many lessons to be learned from the increasingly famous Downing Street memo and the related documents now emerging in its wake. First of all is the most obvious: a categorical report by Sir Richard Dearlove, the chief of British intelligence, that President Bush was determined to go to war against Iraq in mid-2002 (and probably much earlier), that there was insufficient intelligence data to justify military action, and that the Bush administration intended to "fix the facts around the policy" so as to justify military action.

Dearlove had been invited to Washington to participate in high-level planning sessions in the wake of 9/11. He held talks with George Tenet, director of the CIA, and other high-ranking administration officials. The memo was his no-nonsense summary of those sessions, prepared for subsequent scrutiny by the government of Bush's war partner, Prime Minister Tony Blair. "Military action was now seen as inevitable," wrote Dearlove. "Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD."

British memos raise questions

South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board

June 24, 2005

ISSUE: British memos raise questions about the Bush administration's prewar planning and motives.

As the public buzz grows louder over leaked British memoranda on the planning that led to the war in Iraq, one thing must be clearly emphasized: there is no "smoking gun" among the memos. But there is plenty to warrant suspicion, and to prompt Americans and their representatives in Congress to demand answers from the Bush administration.

Why, for instance, did Condoleezza Rice, then U.S. national security adviser, show no interest in discussing Osama bin Laden or al-Qaida when she met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair's chief foreign policy adviser a mere six months after 9-11? The adviser says all Rice wanted to talk about was "regime change" in Iraq.

Got XM Satelite Radio? Here's Where to Tune on Saturday!

I want to take a moment and inform you of who is going to be "On With Leon" this Saturday the 25th of June from 2:00 -4:00 PM ET.

2:00 - 4:00 PM ET Did President George W. Bush intentionally mislead Congress in his quest to topple Saddam Hussein?

This is the question that was at the heart of a hearing conducted by Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan) on Thursday, June 16. Should this be investigated? If the President, members of his cabinet and administration lied to Congress and the American people, what should the consequences be? Do the words high crimes and misdemeanors mean anything to you?

DOWNING STREET LOWDOWN

Winston-Salem Journal (Winston Salem, NC)

The six so-called "Downing Street Memos" written by aides to British Prime Minister Tony Blair don't contain much new information regarding President Bush's early Iraq policies. But they add credibility to charges that Bush decided first to invade and then fashioned evidence and arguments for doing so.

The memos were leaked to British journalists in fall 2004, but they received little attention, except from anti-war activists, until recently. That is because they mostly repeat much of what the press had already reported and what administration critics, such as Richard Clarke, a former National Security Council counter-terrorism official, had said.

Downing memos deeper than White House lets on

Detroit Free Press

GRANTED, FINDING a way to end the bloodshed in Iraq is at present more pressing than re-examining the rationale that was developed to start the war there more than two years ago. But the so-called Downing Street memos are still too significant to be dismissed as simply old news -- as the White House would like -- or left to historians.

They speak to the credibility of the administration of President Bush, which is telling the American people that significant progress is being made in Iraq and the murderous insurgency there is in its final throes. Meantime, U.S. military leaders say rebel attacks have remained constant at 50-60 a day, and last month was the deadliest for Iraqi civilians since the March 2003 U.S. invasion.

Bush administration's supposed control over reality is starting to crumble

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
By Eric Mink

Something is happening here, Bob Dylan wrote 40 years ago in a somewhat different context, but hyperventilating liberals don't seem to know what it really is.

Starting about seven weeks ago, impassioned lefties latched onto some secret British government memos that they regard as smoking-gun evidence of Bush administration deceptions leading up to the war with Iraq. The leaked documents, dating from the spring and summer of 2002, describe discussions about Iraq between top British officials and high-ranking Bush policymakers.

The authenticity of their contents is unchallenged, but even so, the memos only record the Brits' memories and impressions. They are not word-for-word transcripts of their encounters with the likes of Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz and others in the Bush power structure.

Cheney Comes Clean

Just kidding. But he does lie with a certain panache:

BLITZER: Did you read the so-called Downing Street memo?

CHENEY: No, I did not.

BLITZER: Well it suggests British officials came here before the war, months before the war and said the administration had already decided to go to war against Saddam Hussein. The intelligence wasn't there, and the memo says it will be fixed around the policy, the intelligence. In other words, they were going to make it up. You were going to make it up as you go along to justify removing Saddam Hussein from power.

You dispute that. I assume you dispute that.

Heads in the Iraqi Sand

Los Angeles Times
June 24, 2005 Friday

Vice President Dick Cheney has never been one to let reality get in the way of his message. With his credibility already strained after it turned out that none of his pre-war assertions about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were true, he is nonetheless still deluded by wishful thinking. A case in point: his recent assertion that increased violence in Iraq indicates the insurgency there is in its "last throes, if you will."

No, we won't, and neither, as it turns out, will the Army's top brass. Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Persian Gulf, essentially said that was nonsense while testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. "I believe there are more foreign fighters coming into Iraq than there were six months ago," he said, adding that the strength of the insurgency is "about the same" as it was six months ago.

Oh Well That's Alright Then

John Podhoretz tells us in today's New York Post that the Downing Street Minutes are old news, because he, Mr. Podhoretz, was out there urging Bush to ignore international law, the Constitution, and public opinion and start the dang war to eliminate the weapons of mass destruction, BEFORE the meeting on Downing Street. But the DSM actually tell us that the arguments about WMD and terrorism were false excuses for a war, not reasons so strong that they justified a war at all costs. And Podhoretz's having to urge the President on to war doesn't seem the strongest proof that the President's decision to go to war was already public knowledge.

Iraqi PM meets Bush as memo questions grow

By Sam Knight, Times Online

The Prime Minister of Iraq will meet President Bush at the White House today, amid growing unease in Washington over the invasion and the continued presence of US soldiers in Iraq.

Ibrahim al-Jaafari arrived in Washington yesterday and visited wounded American soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Today he will meet Mr Bush at what the White House has described as "a critical time".

"The President looks forward to welcoming Prime Minister Jaafari," said Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary. "This meeting does come at a critical time in Iraq's historic transformation."

Can't Find Reporters, But They've Got a Columnist!

The War President
By PAUL KRUGMAN
The New York Times

VIENNA--In this former imperial capital, every square seems to contain a giant statue of a Habsburg on horseback, posing as a conquering hero.

America's founders knew all too well how war appeals to the vanity of rulers and their thirst for glory. That's why they took care to deny presidents the kingly privilege of making war at their own discretion.

But after 9/11 President Bush, with obvious relish, declared himself a "war president." And he kept the nation focused on martial matters by morphing the pursuit of Al Qaeda into a war against Saddam Hussein.

Iraq Occupation: This war can't be won

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD

The questions about U.S. presence in Iraq aren't about winning or losing. The driving factor must be improving, protecting and respecting the lives of the Iraqi people.

Those are people such as Hassan Juma Awad and Faleh Abood Umara, two oil worker union leaders from the southern Iraqi city of Basra. Visiting Seattle with the King County Labor Council yesterday, the two men had no doubt about what the United States can do next to help their country recover from the reign of Saddam Hussein, whom Awad refers to as "a criminal, in capital letters."

Forget You Heard About Those Memos

Published on Thursday, June 23, 2005 by The Free Lance-Star (Fredricksburg, VA)
by Rick Mercier

The smoke has just about cleared following the small brush fire caused by the Downing Street memos, and responsible observers agree that we can ignore them.
Perhaps I shouldn't have said smoke. I didn't mean to imply that the secret British documents are smoking guns that show the Bush administration made up its mind to invade Iraq as early as March 2002 even though the intelligence did not support such action.

These memos certainly aren't smoking guns. In fact, they don't even tell us anything new, and if you had any sense you'd know that, just like you'd know that our leaders choose war only as a last option, that we invaded Iraq because we were attacked first, and that the Iraqi insurgency is in its last throes.

Letter: Vital evidence

Daily Astorian
Link

Bush is a visionary. He apparently had the foresight to anticipate that something like the Downing Street minutes would leak, exposing his early decision and preparations for the Iraq Invasion. There was insufficient legal reason to invade so he exaggerated Iraq’s WMDs: “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.

Fixing the facts

Missoula Independent
by Andisheh Nouraee

Memo to Blair: “Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.

Anatomy of a Coverup

ZNet | Iraq
by Sanjoy Mahajan; June 23, 2005

On May 1 the London _Sunday Times_ published leaked minutes -- the Downing Street Memo -- of a high-level British cabinet meeting held on 23 July 2002 that discussed contingencies, political and military, for invading Iraq.

In the Cabinet meeting, C [the head of MI6, Richard Dearlove] 'reported on his recent talks in Washington', where 'military action was now seen as inevitable' and 'the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.' In other words, the books were being cooked to give Bush his war.

The planners assumed 'that the UK would take part in any military action.' So they had to consider the illegality of the war. Unfortunately, 'the Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action.' The Attorney-General dismissed the three possible excuses: 'self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation'. Self-defense couldn't work partly because, the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: 'the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.' How could the government overcome the illegality? The memo, and the _Sunday Times_, quotes this puzzle-solving contribution from Jack Straw:

Washington Post Dot Com Seems to Have All the Talent: Does the Print Edition Need New Editors?

Why the Mainstream Media Is Catching On
Internet Bloggers Push Downing Street Memo Onto the News Agenda

By Jefferson Morley
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Thursday, June 23, 2005; 12:20 PM

The Downing Street Memo continues to spread in American political discussion despite efforts to dismiss its significance.

The DSM story, as the top-secret British document it is known on the Internet, has legs because it really represents two stories: an emerging alternative history of how the United States came to attack Iraq and a story of how the New Media has usurped some of the Old Media's power to set the agenda.

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