News and opinions on situation in Iraq

American Street

June 13, 2005

Get ready for the latest Pro-Bush spin on Memogate. It goes like this:

“The latest British memo hitting the news today,,2089-1648758_1,00.html actually PROVES that Bush made no “political decision” to go to war with Iraq, and that they all believed that Iraq had WMDs.”

The only problem with this spin, is that it’s dishonest. But don’t expect Tweety or Russert to figure this out on their own. So I am going to provide a handy dandy talkng point to explain how the Downing Street “memo” is actually still valid.

The current British memo being debated is dated July 21, 2002.

It was prepared in advance of a meeting between US and British officials to discuss their Iraq strategy.

Thus, it reflects the British pre-meeting perception of the US position on Iraq.

In that memo, the Brits expressed the view that “no political decision” had been taken by Bush on an invasion of Iraq.

The Downing Street “memo”,,19809-1593637,00.html is actually the minutes recorded by a high level British intelligence official AT THAT MEETING. It is dated July 22, 2002.

Therefore, the impressions in those minutes are later in time, and more accurately reflect Bush administration intentions and policy than the pre-meeting memo.

Before the meeting, as I noted above, the Brits believed that “no political decision” to go to war had been made by Bush.

AT THE MEETING, however, they learned otherwise. And this was recorded in the minutes taken at the meeting:

“C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. 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. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.”

Note the “perceptible SHIFT in attitude” comment. This means that pre-July 22, 2002, the Brits believed that Bush had not yet decided on war. But after July 22, 2002, they percived a “shift in attitude” toward war being “inevitable.”

Contrary to the spin you will no doubt see and hear all day from Republican pundits, talk radio, Fox News and the warfloggers, the latest memo does NOT undercut or invalidate the Downing Street “memo.” It actually complements and supplements it.

Please make sure these facts are spread as widely as possible in order to counter the propaganda onsluaght from the Rightwing Noise Machine.

UPDATE: The American Progress Action Fund breaks down the memos in more detail:

They also have the full text of all the secret British memos including the two I described above.

In essence, then, there is more smoke coming out of this gun than out of Cheech and Chong’s VW Van.

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