Tuesday, June 14, 2005


The New York Times’ work on the Downing Street memos continues to display, at best, obtuseness. Ignore the stuff about how the United States didn’t plan well for after the Iraq war; it’s almost entirely irrelevant. Pay attention only to the part where the United States misleads the world into invading Iraq.

Today’s “news analysis” by Todd S. Purdum belittles the memos as being “not the Dead Sea Scrolls” because “There has been ample evidence for many months, and even years, that top Bush administration figures saw war as inevitable by the summer of 2002.”

As to the chief of British intelligence, Sir Richard Dearlove, telling his fellow government ministers that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy,” well, Purdum describes this as an “impression” upon which Dearlove (or at least the memo in which he’s paraphrased) “does not elaborate” — the same bit of oddness engaged in by Michael Kinsley yesterday in which the chief of British intelligence, the nation’s top spy, tells fellow government ministers ... nothing of import, apparently. Just a guess, surely. Could be true, could not be. Who knows? Not me, I’m just chief of British intelligence.

Speaking of which, Purdum maintains his flippant take on the topic even while noting how:

Vice President Dick Cheney made a bellicose speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, in which he warned that a return of United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq “would provide no assurance whatsoever” of Mr. Hussein’s compliance.

Look, Purdum, and Kinsley, and whoever else. Listen up:

The point is not that war was seen as inevitable. The point is that it was inevitable — considered and made so by an administration long before it went to the United Nations to flesh out a cover story about weapons of mass destruction justifying Iraqi regime change. Facts and new intelligence from weapons inspectors on the ground didn’t matter. Nothing mattered.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand the difference between a war that was seen as inevitable and a war that was made inevitable, and thus illegal, through deception and pressure tactics.

And that’s what makes the so-called blogosphere so suspicious of the so-called mainstream media.

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