19 June 2005

I guess it isn't "old news" to some people


As I write, AP lists their story on Memos Show British Fretting Over Iraq War as their most e-mailed story. Please note, Mr Corporate Media — people would not be e-mailing this if this story was "old news".

From those memos:
In one of the memos, British Foreign Office political director Peter Ricketts openly asks whether the Bush administration had a clear and compelling military reason for war.

"U.S. scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and al-Qaida is so far frankly unconvincing," Ricketts says in the memo. "For Iraq, `regime change' does not stack up. It sounds like a grudge between Bush and Saddam."
I heard this theory a lot before the war, along the lines of "Dubya has been a pathetic screw-up all of his life, and now he wants to get Saddam Hussein's head and lay it at the feet of his father, to show that there's something Dubya was better at".
The documents confirm Blair was genuinely concerned about Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction, but also indicate he was determined to go to war as America's top ally, even though his government thought a pre-emptive attack may be illegal under international law.

"The truth is that what has changed is not the pace of Saddam Hussein's WMD programs, but our tolerance of them post-11 September," said a typed copy of a March 22, 2002 memo obtained Thursday by The Associated Press and written to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

"But even the best survey of Iraq's WMD programs will not show much advance in recent years on the nuclear, missile or CW/BW (chemical or biological weapons) fronts: the programs are extremely worrying but have not, as far as we know, been stepped up."
Yes, OK. Given Hussein's history, keeping a close eye on him was absolutely advisable. But he was not a threat to the US, no matter how many times Bush said without qualification that he was.

Blair knew what the Bush administration kept themselves from knowing, that the aftermath of a war in Iraq was not likely to feature flowers or the declaration of Bush's birthday as an Iraqi national holiday:
A July 21 briefing paper given to officials preparing for a July 23 meeting with Blair says officials must "ensure that the benefits of action outweigh the risks."

"In particular we need to be sure that the outcome of the military action would match our objective... A postwar occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise. As already made clear, the U.S. military plans are virtually silent on this point."
Thanks to AP for their coverage of this, no matter how belated.