May 22, 2005

Memogate



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Okay, the next time somebody suggests that there is even a hint of a "liberal media" in the United States, I'm going to laugh right in their face. Not a funny laugh, mind you, but a harsh, cynical laugh that may be forced through frustration and disgust but nonetheless is heartfelt and righteous. Anyone who truly believes that the American media is liberal is an out-and-out complete moron.

For years now, Bush and the right wing have been insisting that the administration's reasons for going to war were just, honest and well-supported, and that the final decision was not made until soon before the war started. Though critics insisted from the beginning that Bush decided to go to war from the start and that the data to make Iraq look like a threat was cherry-picked and inflated, the administration denied it. When it was shown that some claims, like the one about Saddam buying uranium from Niger, were not only false but the administration knew it (they rejected our own intelligence and went with a British report instead), they denied knowing anything but what they told the people. When it was proven that there were indeed no WMDs and Iraq had not been a threat, they blamed the intelligence community.

Of course, it was all bullshit. But they at least had some cover because while it was obvious they had lied, there was no "smoking gun" that showed that they had lied. But now there is. In fact, there has been a smoking gun out in the open for two weeks now. But the "liberal" media never touched it.

In a revelation that would have exploded in a media orgy of scandal reporting under a Democratic administration--and probably most Republican ones as well--a British government report has demonstrated how Bush knew Iraq was no threat and was slanting the evidence to go to war anyway.

The July 23, 2002 secret memo was written by a British national security aide named Matthew Rycroft, and summarized minutes from a July 2002 meeting of Prime Minister Blair and his advisers, including the head of MI-6, who had recently met with Bush administration officials. The minutes included these passages (emphasis mine):

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. ...

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

These minutes provide high-level and highly reliable proof that Bush knew Iraq was not a threat, but had decided from July 2002 or even earlier that there would be a war no matter what, and that in order to sell the war, the "intelligence" was being intentionally manipulated to essentially lie to the American people.

This is not some anonymous source, this is the British government, and it's not about whether or not Bush dodged the draft 30 years ago, it's about whether or not he lied--and is continuing to lie--repeatedly to the American people to drive them into a war they would never have agreed to had they known the truth. This is malfeasance at the highest level, with the proof being of the highest quality and reliability.

If there were even the barest shadow of a liberal media, this would have been huge news for the past several weeks and would continue to stay in the headlines with massive reporting for weeks and months to come. This is about the president lying and taking us into a war the people would not have wanted, not some extramarital affair.

If the media were fair and balanced, to coin a phrase, it would be covering this at least as much as Whitewater, Monica Lewinski, or Paula Jones--just the coverage of one of those, let alone all three.

So what kind of media do we have if half-baked political scandals around decades-old land deals or extramarital affairs gain huge years-long media attacks, but proof that the president massively lied over years to force America into an unwanted war where so far 1631 American have been killed, thousands more maimed for life, and tens if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have been slaughtered--is met with almost complete silence and disinterest from news organizations?

So once again, the next time anyone mentions the "liberal media" as if it were real, laugh in their faces and call them idiots, because they deserve it. The media is undeniably and unabashedly right wing.

Posted by Luis at May 22, 2005 04:47 PM
Comments

Not to make slight any of the cost in mortality you listed, but you forgot to mention the roughly $250 billion this war will have cost us by the end of this year, and likely to go to over $300 billion.

This is worth pointing out because the GNP of Iraq before going to war was roughly $52 billion a year.

The GNP of Iraq today roughly $32 billion.

My point is that for say, roughly $100 billion, we could have bought the country out right through bribery of officials and not experienced any of the kind of death and destruction that took place.

If Iraq had maintained its structure and was able to trade legally on the internationally, its GNP might now be approaching $100 billion. And then Wolfowitz would have been right it would have paid for itself.

Insteady President Humpty Dumpty smashed Iraq into a million pieces and all the Presidents soldiers and all the people's money have not been able to put Iraq back together again.

The real reason for going to war, despite the fact that the Neocons saw low hanging fruit laden with oil and the Jewish Neocons thought they could protect Israel's eastern flank - the real reason for Bush is in our system, war powers enhance a presidents already considerable power and gave cover to a lot of ugly domestic policies and actions.

Ohhh brother.

Posted by: Tim Kane at May 23, 2005 04:49 AM

Actually the document was not a 'memo' it was some 'minutes'
which might be a crucial distiction.

-randalms

Posted by: randalms at May 24, 2005 06:56 AM

Good point--I'll amend the post to note that. Thanks!

Posted by: Luis at May 24, 2005 10:04 AM