Thursday, June 23, 2005

Violence in Iraq and Ray McGovern on Downing Street Memo

Via BuzzFlash, Tori found Ray McGovern's "Fixed Is Fixed:"

With last week's hearings on the Downing Street memos concluded, much work lies ahead. Now, the information in the Downing Street memos needs to be collated carefully with evidence from the mainstream media, on the Internet, and from other sources regarding what was going on in top policymaking circles in Washington in the preparations for the invasion of Iraq.
All this can be expected to take some time.
Those who have read the most recent British cabinet documents know that they show senior U.K. lawyers and diplomats desperately trying to place a veneer of legality on Prime Minister Tony Blair's promise to President George W. Bush that Britain would join the United States in launching an unprovoked attack on Iraq.
The new memos provide a wealth of information supplementing what has already been revealed--like the relatively unsung example of Elizabeth Wilmshurst, then-deputy legal adviser to the British Foreign Office. Wilmshurst kept insisting that the attack could not be squared with international law, and said it would start "a war of aggression." When her superiors caved in to Blair, Wilmshurst did the honorable thing. She resigned.
But as the word on the memos is getting out and the case is being carefully formulated, the Downing Street memos and the media coverage they are receiving are already giving the Bush administration fits as they try to slow down a train that has already left the station. British Prime Minister Tony Blair's early decision that it would be a fool's errand to challenge the authenticity of the papers has prevented the White House from labeling them spurious. Thus, the administration has concluded that smoke, rather than denial, is what is indicated.
In their opening salvo, Bush supporters have chosen to target their smoke against the most damning sentence in the many official Downing Street memos; the 11 words with which the head of British intelligence unwittingly gave away the game:
"But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
So, while the evidence is being analyzed and timelines are being developed, it is important to muster what might be called an ad-hoc "smokescreen patrol" to identify and dispel the smoke being blown by Bush administration and its surrogates.

Brenda e-mails to note Hamza Hendawi's (Associated Press) "Four Car Bombings in Iraq Leave 23 Dead:"

Four car bombs exploded at dusk Wednesday, killing at least 23 people, including sidewalk diners and passengers at a bus station. The coordinated attacks served as a chilling reminder of how potent militants remain in the capital despite around-the-clock American and Iraqi troop patrols.
In all, at least 32 people were killed across Iraq, including a prominent Sunni law professor assassinated by gunmen. Jassim al-Issawi was a former judge who put his name forward at one point to join the committee drafting Iraq's constitution. The assassination appeared aimed at intimidating Sunni Arabs willing to join Iraq's efforts to create a stable political system.
The U.S. military said three U.S. soldiers were killed a day earlier during combat operations west of Baghdad near the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi. At least 1,727 members of the U.S. military have died since the war began in 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
The first three car bombs - clearly coordinated - went off almost simultaneously only blocks apart in the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Shula where al-Issawi was killed only hours earlier.

Brenda wonders if that will quiet the Operation Happy Talkers? (Will anything? Reality's really not their strong suit.)

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