Monday, June 13, 2005


The second Downing Street Memo, published in the Sunday Times UK, revealed that Cabinet officials to Prime Minister Tony Blair advised him on July 21, 2002 (eight months before the invasion of Iraq) on the legal and strategic difficulties presented by a war against Iraq, and how the British and Americans planned to game events to ensure that the only result would be war.


1) The Bush administration lacked plans for the post-invasion occupation of Iraq:

The US Government's military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace. But, as yet, it lacks a political framework. In particular, little thought has been given to creating the political conditions for military action, or the aftermath and how to shape it.

2) The Blair government conspired with the Bush administration to sidestep the illegality of regime change as a reason for war by seeking a way to make Saddam Hussein appear as a threat to the security of other nations:
US views of international law vary from that of the UK and the international community. Regime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law. But regime change could result from action that is otherwise lawful. We would regard the use of force against Iraq, or any other state, as lawful if exercised in the right of individual or collective self-defence, if carried out to avert an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe, or authorised by the UN Security Council.

3) The British recognized the potential for a protracted war in Iraq, acknowledging at the same time that the Bush administration had absolutely no plans for such an eventuality:
A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise. As already made clear, the US military plans are virtually silent on this point.

4) The British planned to corner Saddam Hussein with an ultimatum that would be impossible to fulfill, thus making war the only course of action:
It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject (because he is unwilling to accept unfettered access) and which would not be regarded as unreasonable by the international community. However, failing that (or an Iraqi attack) we would be most unlikely to achieve a legal base for military action by January 2003.


At 6/13/2005 08:46:00 PM, Blogger Frank Galea said...

Tough to deny prior intent now that the memo is out of the bag. Clearly they had rearranged the "facts" to suit their goals.

At 6/14/2005 09:44:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Writing for the Times Record, Beth Quinn wrote:

Let's start acting like Americans again. Let's force Bush to act like one, too.

And then, if it turns out he lied, as the Downing Street Memo most surely suggests, let's impeach him.

That's what we do to presidents who lie, remember?

At 6/14/2005 12:01:00 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Have you seen the latest batch of documents? Raw Story has them, NBC claims to've verified them. They're just as interesting as the DSM and the Cabinet Office briefing paper. My faves thusfar are one on lunch with Condi and one by Blair political guy, who makes it clear that Iraq is anything but an imminent threat.

At 6/14/2005 12:24:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Thanks for the heads up. I haven't seen the new documents, but I'll take a look later today.


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