Tuesday, May 17, 2005

White House Denies Accuracy of British Memo

The White House has denied the accuracy of a secret British memo that seems to indicate that the decision to go to war in Iraq was made before all the evidence was in place.

What’s interesting is that flat-out denial is a different defense than the one the British government and conservative commentators have used, which is that the memo reveals nothing we didn’t already know. If this story actually gains momentum (and don’t count on that), the White House may have to adjust its denial. After all, there is no proof the memo is fake and, despite what the administration’s tireless defenders would have us believe, it does indeed contain information we didn’t already know—namely that the Bush administration had decided to go to war before they had fully developed a case against Iraq. It deserves an explanation a little more robust than the denial we got yesterday.


At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree - don't count on anything coming from this memo. Denial goes along way with this administration - and (most) Americans are more than happy to believe them. John

At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Buffalo Will said...

No doubt the press is exhausted from their investigation of the Runaway Bride. The Downing Street memo is an astonishing document that Americans are happy to ignore. We do so, of course, at our own long-term peril.

At 5:43 PM, Blogger Sean said...

lets try this one more time.
First. this was before the decision was made to go through the UN. Everybody knew they had decided to go to war, they had even said they would do it without going through the UN.
second. This is only the OPINION of one person and their perception, of a very specific time.this is ONe persons perspective, from one side of the story.
third. That fact that they changed their entire strategy after this memo was written, is why the memo means so little.
It does not add anything to the argument.
Is it news that Bush had decided to go to war before a case (strong enough for britian) was developed? if you believe that then you dont understand why we went to war.
Bush was not even going to get Congress to pass a law giving permission. he was going to go in, under the last Congressional resolution that authorized Gulf 1.
Bush campaigned saying he wanted Saddam removed, and if he didnt allow inspectors, he would eb removed. (people just didnt believe him, because Clinton said the same thing but did nothing.)
tell me what new has been added? please tell me. sayign Bush decided to go to war before a case was built is irrelevant to the debate. because those who support the war, dont care. Thso who oppose it, would not change their mind if they discovered that he developed a case before going to war.
The Bush administration felt they had a case, by Saddam violating the no fly zones and violating the sanctions. That was the original arguments. The interesting thing is the WMD argument became the central argument after this memo.
it does not astonish most people. why is it so hard to see that people see it differently. Maybe, jsut maybe, your view is the minority view.

At 6:15 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...


Considering I side with neither with the anti-war left nor the Bush-is-infallible right, I can guarantee you I'm in the minority here. But that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

saying Bush decided to go to war before a case was built is irrelevant to the debate. because those who support the war, don’t care. Those who oppose it, would not change their mind if they discovered that he developed a case before going to war.

Yep. And isn't that the problem? You and many others look at this memo and your instinct is to deny that it means anything. Most of those who supported the war are flat-out unwilling to admit that there might have been any mistakes made in the lead-up or any propaganda from our administration.

Conversely, those on the left look at this memo and see proof of a vast, evil conspiracy to mislead the American people.

Neither side is willing to remove the partisan blinders and look at the memo reasonably. And, reasonably, I think the memo raised some serious questions. According to the memo, Bush had decided to take out Saddam but knew he didn't have enough evidence. If true, that means the "evidence" presented to us and the world was just window dressing. We can't have our government using window dressing to convince the American people to go to war. We just can't.

But I'm not saying that's the case. All I'm saying is that is what the memo seems to imply. Maybe your explanation is correct. Maybe it's not. All I've ever asked for on this is a real explanation from the White House and a real analysis by the press (but not Newsweek!)

At 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On May 16, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said that the memo's statement that intelligence was "being fixed" to support a decision to invade Iraq was "flat out wrong." However, McClellan admitted that he has not read the memo, but has only received reports of what it contains.
Source: http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/16/iraq.memo/

On May 17, McClellan told reports that the White House saw "no need" to respond to the letter from Congress.
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/20/politics/20weapons.html

On May 23, McClellan retracted his May 16th statement about intelligence treatment:

Q: "Scott, last week you said that claims in the leaked Downing Street memo that intelligence was being fixed to support the Iraq War as early as July 2002 are “flat-out wrong.” According to the memo, which was dated July 23, 2002, and whose authenticity has not been disputed by the British Government, both Foreign Minister Jack Straw and British Intelligence Chief Sir Richard Dearlove said that the President had already made up his mind to invade Iraq. Dearlove added that “intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” Do you think these two very senior officials of our closest ally were ‘flat-out wrong?’ And if so, how could they have been so misinformed after their conversations with George Tenet and Condoleezza Rice?"

Scott McClellan: "Let me correct you...let me correct you on the characterization of the quote you attributed to me. I'm referring to some of the allegations that were made referring to a report."

Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/05/20050523-9.html


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