Friday, June 10, 2005

MoveOn's Downing Street Memo Petition is Deceptive

MoveOn.org wants you to sign a petition urging President Bush to tell the truth on the Downing Street Memo.

Problem is, if you knew little about the memo and just happened to receive MoveOn’s e-mail or went to their site, you’d be presented with a rather deceptive take on the so-called DSM. Here’s how MoveOn describes the contents of the memo:

Six months before the invasion the administration admitted to British officials that, contrary to what the American public was told, the White House was determined to go to war and was “fixing” intelligence on WMDs to justify the move.
.
That would indeed be an incredibly damning revelation. But that’s not what the DSM says. MoveOn doesn’t provide the actual text of the memo or a even a link to the actual text, but here’s what the memo really says:

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.

As we have discussed, this is no smoking gun. First and most importantly, the memo does not say that the administrations “was “fixing” intelligence on WMDs to justify the move.” It says “facts were being fixed around the policy.” As Robin Niblett of the Center for Strategic and International Studies noted in a USA Today story, “it would be easy for Americans to misunderstand the reference to intelligence being ‘fixed around’ Iraq policy. 'Fixed around' in British English means 'bolted on' rather than altered to fit the policy.”

How is that different? Because while the Bush administration may have decided war was the right action, they weren’t “fixing” intelligence. They were making sure they had the appropriate facts to back up their decision.

This isn’t to say the memo doesn’t raise some questions. Most importantly, if the decision to go to war was made before all the facts were in place, were facts that didn’t back up the decision ignored? Was the threat of WMD the real reason Bush decided to go to war or was it just the best selling point for war? These are real questions that we should be asking. And we should be asking them of the President and of the memo writer himself—after all, who better to tell us what the heck “fixed around” means than the person who wrote it?

But even if the memo does reveal some carelessness on the part of the Bush administration (and I’m not sure that in-and-of itself it does), it is absolutely not proof that intelligence was fixed. MoveOn’s insistence that this is a smoking gun is simply dishonest. People are being led to sign a petition without being giving the facts or shown the text of the memo. Now, I know this is politics as usual but that doesn’t mean it’s right.

How can we ever have real debates focused on real facts in this nation if groups like MoveOn decide to use propaganda rather than honesty in their activities? MoveOn’s willful exaggeration of what the memo says will only make it that much easier for the administration to deny the memo means anything. Propaganda begets propaganda and everyone loses.

52 Comments:

At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Bolted on"? As a native Britisher, that's not how I'd read "fixed around".

The sense is quite plainly "distorted, manipulated" as in "the results were fixed", "the fix is in", etc. (Both these last two are standard English usages).

This is really desperate! If you can't do better than that, it's time to pick an easier cause!

 
At 8:21 AM, Anonymous Andrew said...

I am a Brit. I live in England. I speak the Queen's English. I am also a mechanical engineer. There is no way on this God's earth that 'fixed around' means 'bolted on'. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

 
At 8:23 AM, Blogger Heiuan said...

MoveOn is collecting signatures to be attached to Congressman John Conyers' letter of inquiry to the Administration.

You can read more about it either at his Congressional website or you can check out his diaries at dKos. http://www.dailykos.com/user/Congressman%20John%20Conyers

I don't know what to think about the memo/minutes. I've read the whole thing and it does raise some questions. I'd like to have my questions answered by my government.

Whether it's a smoking gun or not, I'd like the chance to find out. Then we could put the whole thing to rest.

 
At 8:29 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Heiuan,

I'm with you. It raises some questions. But I think the cries of "Bush lied!" are a willful misreading of what the memo actually says.

And, as for "fixed around" I was merely quoting a expert. As I said, we should be asking the writer of the memo what he meant. But if the writer did mean to say that Bush was fixing the intelligence, why didn't he right "the facts were being fixed." By writing "the facts were being fixed around the policy" the meaning is unclear. It sounds more like "the facts were being put in place around the policy" rather than they were being fixed in a deceptive meaning. This is exactly why it's not a smoking gun. It doen't give enough.

 
At 9:10 AM, Blogger True Blue Liberal said...

"...this is exactly why it's not a smoking gun. It doesn't give enough."
The real question isn't whether or not this short document is the smoking gun, but it does seem to be an elegant summary of the earlier testimony of Clark, O'Neill, Suskind, and many nameless leakers who told the same story about an administration that was hell-bent on going to war with Iraq at least as early as 9/12/01, and just needed to find a hook (WMDs) on which to hang their plans.
The real crime with the Downing Street Memo story is the media's abdication of its responsibilities in not reporting about it -- that it took John Conyers and many bloggers and other activists to keep it alive as a piece of important evidence.

 
At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, the way I see it, The Yellow Line is the one being deceptive. I believe that the Right Wing wishes that the Left was as naive and gullible as they are. When they say "the results were fixed", it simply means that Bush and Friends lied their evil asses off. I mean, damn! This is simple shit.
I'm sorry but I'm not as dumb as you look. The DSM is going to take Bush down. After all, we have our very own DSM here in the US to back up the British papers. His name is Richard Clark. BushCo is toast. I'm going to laugh my ass of when they all show up on worldwide TV being tried for war crimes, then spending the rest of their horrible, sneaky, greedy, weasely, asshole, shithead lives in prison where they belong with the likes of Slobodan Milosevic. In my opinion, they are in the same league, if not worse.

 
At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think that "the facts were being put in place around the policy" isn't identical to the facts being fixed, you're incredibly naive or willfully distorting the truth. If your perverse interpretation were true, wouldn't Blair have seized the opportunity to say so, and have contested the definition of those words: "Sorry, chaps, but when we say that in Britain we mean something different from what you think we mean."? That phrase aside,look at the entire memo. It makes quite clear that all the claims were true that we were going to war no matter what, and it also fits with $700 million being illegally used to prepare for war in Iraq.

 
At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have chosen to go to war, chosen your sales pitch ("terrorism and WMD), and are "bolting on facts around the policy," then it would seem rather obvious that the intelligence is being cherry-picked to conform to a preconceived course of action and preconceived marketing plan. Sorry, that's deception.

And that, I will agree with you, is the most BENIGN possible reading of that phrase.

That kind of deception may be perfectly acceptable in politics when you're smearing your opponent for office -- but unacceptable when you are trying to convince Americans to send their sons and daughters off to die.

I will also agree with you about MoveOn.org's characterization -- it embellishes, when really, no embellishment is needed.

But we disagree that the minutes are not a serious call to action. No, it won't end up with Bush being in jail -- but it seems to be the right symbol at the right time for those who believe in democratic accountability to rally around.

 
At 10:30 AM, Blogger Heiuan said...

I find it interesting to see the different meanings that diverse people get by reading the same sentence.

When I first read the minutes/memo, the message I got wasn't that they were making things up out of whole cloth, but rather "We have a hypothesis and we're gathering up evidence to support our thesis." I wouldn't fault anyone for seeking out evidence that supported their claim; however, the entire document does raise questions.

If so many people got different messages from a single document, then for that reason alone, I think it should be fully investigated. Not in the manner of a witch hunt, but simply as a matter of clearing out the fog.

 
At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Andrew said...

Take for example the case of the supposed mobile biological labs.

These were in fact hydrogen production machines for artillery spotting balloons, yet they were claimed to be 'weapons of mass destruction'.

Facts were clearly 'fixed' to suit the prevailing policy.

 
At 10:59 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Heiuan, you are very wise.

Here's an observation. Many who dislike Bush have decided that he is a liar. They are now fixing facts around that idea.

 
At 11:23 AM, Anonymous JustMe said...

It is just as much a lie omit known relevant facts as to include known lies.

This gun smokes from both barrels.

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger Heiuan said...

Justme, I agree with you about ignoring pertinent facts that would seem to disprove a pet theory.

That's why I support Conyers' upcoming investigation. It's scheduled for next Thursday. I want to know and as an American citizen, I have the RIGHT to know.

I believe our government has an obligation to defend it's decisions.

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger ChrisJ said...

To Alan Stewarts' comment earlier, I do not understand the difference between "the facts are being fixed around the policy" and the facts are being fixed for intelligence. It is always someone reading around information and trying to interpret something that needs not interpretated. This said because it is written plainly what he meant. We had earlier warnings from experts that there was not WMD's and no threat from Saddam. This memo clearly states that the Bush administration was going to fix(intelligence, burgers, whatever) but more importantly the objective was to get the American publics support. The only way would be to fix the intelligence data about Sadamm and his supposed WMD's. Please use some semblance of common sense. I am not a Bush fan but I will not try to fabricate a memo to suit my dislike of him, however, the lives of thousands of dedicated patriotic Americans, also allies, have been lost because of Bushs' insatiable desire to dethrone Sadamm. I firmly can believe this memo because of past occurrences within the administration, we have had two experts and former members of the administration epxress the lack of intelligence of WMD's and yet people still doubt the voractiy of this memo. People wake up and demand the investigation and if it is true, the immediate impeachment of Bush should follow. I fortunately have no family members involved in the war but if I was I would be outraged. My 2 cents.

 
At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG, "How can we ever have real debates focused on real facts in this nation if groups like MoveOn decide to use propaganda rather than honesty in their activities?" Riiight, the Bush wackos epitomize honest full disclosure and would never dilute the truth with propaganda. It's MoveOn we have to worry about. The Downing Street Memo deserves a full investigation.

 
At 12:13 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Usually at this point I drop out of the conversation because it becomes evident that no one is actually reading what I wrote. But it's Friday and I'm feeling feisty, so...

First: I never said there shouldn't be an investigation (there should) and I never said the memo wasn't important (it is).

Second: I never said that Bush doesn't use propaganda. In fact, I said "propaganda begets propaganda"...both sides are guilty of it

Third: A smoking gun is something that is so obviously true that no one can doubt it. The Watergate tapes were a smoking gun. The DSM is just a gun, it doesn't tell us if it was ever fired.

Please, take a breath before you flame, you haven't arrived at a right-wing site. I'm not trying to scuttle an investigation or descredit the memo. All I'm doing is suggesting that it isn't the clear-cut proof so many really want to believe it is.

 
At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well first of all, if it were only an interoffice memo, as many have depicted it, you might rightly suggest that it was a gun that might not have been fired, but it is not. It is a set of minutes of an official meeting between the key players in Britain, the US's chief partner and appologist in the promotion of the invasion and the subsequent occupation. This, is equivalent to a gun that has been fired.

 
At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Secondly, I too am British, and I object to self professed experts in interpretting British usage of the english language in such a specious fashion. Fixed, in this context, implies cheating, fixing the odds, falsification. That is how it reads to me, and no other interpretation fits the context. Note the conjunction "but", not "and" in that sentence.

 
At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're a toady. You've been bought, sold, hoodwinked, chumped. That's American English for "you're deluding yourself".

 
At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the "But" important?

The passage in question:
"Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD (weapons of mass destruction). But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy...’’

The use of "but" signifies an about face in the logical flow of the idea expressed. "And" is a better choice if intelligence is being "bolted on." "But" suggests the actions described in the second sentence are incongruous with the first.

 
At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thirdly, there was far more to the document than the paragraph that you quoted.

MoveOn's summary may overstate the content, though I suspect they are an accurate summary of their conclusions. When you eliminate specious arguments about the meaning of the word "fixed" they roughly match my conclusions, though I might not have simplified them that much.

How about referring people to the actual document, or including paragraphs such as:

i "The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections."

or..

i " 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.

i The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work."

 
At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you look at the ultimatum actually sent to Saddam, you will see that they acutally did their best to phrase it in such a way that Saddam would refuse. When he did not, they were forced to precipitate action before the inspectors could conclude that he had in fact met the UN's demands. In the event the "coalition" rushed the invasion when they could see the inspectors conclusions beginning to favour Iraq.

 
At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Alan. I think what you did get right, in your comment, is that this isn't strictly speaking a smoking gun.

We shouldn't underestimate the gravitas of the document, though. It's a record of a UK govt. meeting at the highest level, where the head of the foreign intelligence service (MI6, or SIS as it's sometimes known) is providing his interpretation of his own meeting with highly placed US intelligence officials. It's worth taking very seriously for those reasons.

But it doesn't in itself provide other than (albeit highly suggestive) circumstantial evidence of misdoing. It is not enough, taken alone, to convict.

It *is* sufficient, I think, to initiate a full investigation, subpoenas, cross examination, etc.

In any reasonable system of government that should and would be undertaken.

While it is not sufficient for conviction, it doesn't have the status of a random unsubstantiated allegation either - it is far more serious than that.

The intelligence context in which to place this is the flood of erroneous allegations touted as fact by various members of the administration, which have pretty much all been demonstrated to be false. A lot of those allegations were made against the advice of CIA and other intel staffers, who were aware of serious cause for doubt.

Also, the creation of the Office of Special Plans, which functioned as a "stovepipe" - feeding dubious intelligence material to the administration while bypassing the normal vetting procedures meant precisely to guard against "fixed" intelligence - is a matter of signal importance here.

The OSP's relationship with Ahmed Chalabi, who was instrumental in supplying a stream of tale-telling defectors and information, almost all of which was subsequently found to be severely flawed, should be subjected to intense scrutiny, as should the exact interaction between the administration and the OSP.

It's not hard to find credible stories published by respectable media which prima facie document incidents of intelligence fixing at the highest levels of the US government.

For example: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0216-06.htm
(an Australian member of the Iraq Survey Group alleges "Both Washington and London wanted other things put in" a draft report he was producing on the WMD in Iraq - story from the UK Independent newspaper.)

and again:
President Bush's then top terrorism advisor Richard Clarke was asked to fabricate links between Iraq and 9/11: "It was a serious look. We got together all the FBI experts, all the CIA experts. We wrote the report. We sent the report out to CIA and found FBI and said, 'Will you sign this report?' They all cleared the report. And we sent it up to the president and it got bounced by the National Security Advisor or Deputy. It got bounced and sent back saying, 'Wrong answer. ... Do it again.'"

From a CBS story at:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/19/60minutes/main607356.shtml

Taken individually, these and the many other similar allegations might be ignorable. Taken together, a clear and coherent picture is beginning to emerge of a nation coerced into undertaking a military action which has claimed at least tens of thousands of lives, on the basis of information which was deliberately skewed by the government of that nation.

If that picture can be definitively substantiated, as only a full and unfettered investigation can achieve, then you do indeed have grounds for serious consequences for the Bush administration.

 
At 1:43 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

This is the last I'll say on this, but feel free to continue to demean my intelligence and attack my character.

This is not a smoking gun. Saying that it is, is like saying the sky is red.

Watergate Tapes: smoking gun...when they were divulged everyone stopped defending Nixon and admitted he was in fact a crook

Monica's Blue Dress: smoking gun...when it was revealed to exist, everyone stopped defending Clinton and admitted he had been a jerk

DSM: just a piece of evidence.


Also, the "but" is very easy to understand.

1) Bush was determined to go to war
2) He knew he would have to have a justification greater than just his sense that this was right
BUT
3) he didn't have all the facts yet and so he was finding them

At most, it indicates he cherry-picked facts to support his thesis. That's pretty bad too and it should be investigated, but this isn't the Watergate tapes or the blue dress.

 
At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's rather obvious that Bush lied to everyone about the reasons for going to war with Iraq--he was the laughing stock of political cartoonists of the time if you remember back then. I certainly do.

So why is it such a big surprise that everyone's still looking for reasons to lynch Bush for his war crimes when it is obvious that the man is evil (condoning torture of prisoners, having the Executive Branch declare not only war but a "never-ending" war, raiding Social Security funds without any thought of putting the money back, using Cheney's company to perform work in Iraq, ...)?

They went after Clinton with some thought of Whitewater misdeeds which were proven invalid so Starr went looking for blowjobs. If it takes the Downing Street Memo to begin the undoing of King George, II's reign of terror, then so be it.

 
At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, what say we just have a "real" investigation into the Downing Street Minutes and find out? What'da say? Fixed means fixed. Period

 
At 2:32 PM, Blogger jukeboxgrad said...

You just admitted "Bush was determined to go to war" even though "he didn't have all the facts yet." Can you explain why this doesn't outrage you?

 
At 2:42 PM, Blogger ChrisJ said...

Alan, I dont think anyone is trying to demean your character and your intelligence is not being attacked, it is your common sense that is in questin. "Anytime someone sees a bus coming at them and refuses to move is going to get trampled" Alan your views and points are eloquently pointed out but they have no merit. Your defense of a criminal who fabricated evidence to suppor his personal reasons, not for war, but for the removal of Sadamm. That is like me saying Sadamm was a great ruler of Iraq and did no wrong. His evil deeds were not the target. The memo is not a tell script that will get Bush impeached and tried for treason, however, it is shall I say the "last piece of the puzzle" that hopefully Americans will finally register into their minds and see they have been hoodwinked. Anytime a man jesters the name of god or jesus into his arguments for justification and them condemns the very man he is pursuing for jesturing up his own "god and allah" then you have to question his motives for creating a war that has changed its focus(names) as many times as an optician.

 
At 6:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The RNC is scared:
It is hard to launch a character-assassination against your main ally and his top officials.

"DSM: just a piece of evidence"

This memo was written by people who are undoubtedly pro-bush. It fits the facts better then the lie that we have been fed.

We all have seen these facts and allegations before. They have been made by people who have been assassinated by our pro-money & pro-Bush media. This DSM can't be character-assassinated.

If the American people can get an investigation with subpoena power, and public convening, Bush will have to "fix the facts" again -- or go down trying.

 
At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, right! When you fix a football (sorry soccer) game it means that you bolt it on... ROTFLMAO

 
At 12:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intelligence 'fixed around' a pre determined plan to remove Saddam from Iraq does not fit in with Bush's claim that he tried to avoid war.

Add to the memo the part where John Bolton had Jose Busanti fired for wanting to inspect in Iraq and I think we deserve an explanation.

 
At 12:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The expression "fixed around" as used in the memo simply means what was being focused on.

I've spent enough time with the Brits to recognize the expression and anything else is a simple attempt at distortion.

Those who think they will hang Bush with this memo are chasing smoke and reveal their sub-normal intelligence level.
The Big Kahuna

 
At 12:54 AM, Blogger Ted Carmichael said...

Alan ... I appreciate your willingness to hold an opinion and remain impartial, rather than simply repeating the conservative line. Even though I disagree with your interpretation, it speaks well of you.

I, like you, wondered if the memo would be misconstrued due to the differences in British and American English. What convinced me, however, is the fact that this memo was a much bigger story in the UK than in the US. Even though the British reaction may be affected by the stronger negative position on the war, I don't think that would be enough to alter how they are clearly interpreting the wording.

I agree that this memo is not a 'smoking gun.' However, that is simply because it is not 'from the source' as it were. It's not a presidential memo or tape, but rather a credible account from a third party. Taken together with other credible accounts, it is quite damning.

I'm not sure what more would be required - other than actual testimony from the remaining principles - to convince conservative partisians that President Bush had acted in ways that are much-less-than honorable. It may be that, like the Nixon apologists, some people simply cannot be convinced.

 
At 1:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband is a Brit who has some experience with government-speak; he has dealt with the Lord Chancellor's Dept (now known as the Dept for Constitutional Affairs) for many years. So I asked him what "fixed around" means, without leading him in any fashion. His answer was "altered to fit".

I then asked if "fixed around" could possibly be interpreted as "bolted on" or "focused on". He frowned the same way he did when I used "bloody" wrong the first time. "Absolutely not," he said.

I don't know who your expert is, but I trust mine.

 
At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And furthermore:

"How can we ever have real debates focused on real facts in this nation if groups like MoveOn decide to use propaganda rather than honesty in their activities?"

You mean real debates like the ones Bush has been chairing across the nation about Social Security, where only loyal Republicans are admitted and speakers are lined up ahead of time who specifically support his plan? Or the real debate held by the House Judiciary Committee about our voting system and its thoroughly documented flaws, which Republican members declined to attend? Or the real debate in the Senate when an "obstructionist" minority refused to confirm 10 of the 215 judicial nominees Bush has put forward since his first term (7 of whom failed confirmation in the first round), a debate the Republicans threatened to end by invoking the 'nuclear option'?

Perhaps you mean the real debate over the sunset clauses in the Patriot Act on Friday, in which Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Sensenbrenner rudely dismissed all but one instance of the evidence presented by concerned Americans; he then cynically challenged the one exception to deliver more evidence within a week, refused to hear further debate, gaveled the hearing to a close and walked out.

Or you might mean the real debates Democrats and others were allowed to have at Bush's campaign rallies last year...with each other, and only as long as they were conducted in so-called "free speech zones" a mile away from the President and his loyal supporters. Or the real debate over The National Intelligence Reform Act, the most significant reform of our intelligence agencies in 57 years, which was rushed to a vote, leaving Senators less than 24 hours to review the final 600-page legislation.

There definitely are real debates with real facts taking place in this country. Unfortunately, few of them involve Republicans on the ground or in government. That's because when confronted with the attitude "Accept this as the truth or pack sand, you traitor," most people tend to feel locked out of any real debate. Odd, isn't it?

As for your query re MoveOn's use of "propaganda" vs. "honesty", I can only reply:

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

 
At 9:32 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

to the person lecturing me on real debates:

Do me a favor, don't read 200 words I've written and decide you know who I am or what I stand for. Try reading more of this blog and you will discover one thing: we're nobody's puppet, neither Bush's nor the left wing's.

Criticize this post, that's find. But read what else I've written before you assume to lecture me on my view of the world.

 
At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BUSH LIED!!!! How anyone can deny this is beyond me. Bush has been lying since his first day. His first lie was when he tried to convince the world that he was capable of handling the US presidency. He's an evil little man with no intelligence. He could not have possibly been elected fairly. HE HAD TO CHEAT!!! But I think the worst is the Brits. They were duped into this war by a stupid american and now Blair is notjing more than a lackey follower. What happened to the UK? How can the Brits let Blair take away all of their integrity and honor?!?!?!? By being Bush's little helper he has destroyed the UK's standing in the eyes of the world. Americans and Brits you both need to take a long look at your elected officials they are making fools out of you!!!!!!

 
At 1:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is a misrepresentation of the memo. Focusing on the "facts are being fixed around the policy" statement is pointless, because that's a very small part of the memo. The entire memo, available from http://www.downingstreetmemo.com paints a much clearer - and FAR more damning - picture of what was discussed. From the nearly-exact war plans the US had laid out, to the timeline prepared which ended up only being several weeks off from how it all played out, the "facts fixed around the policy" semantical debate is meaningless. The memo, taken as a whole, shows a clear and complete plan to deceive the American people and the world by the current administration. Read the entire memo all the way through. Doing so will reveal that even if we completely excise the "facts fixed around the policy" statement, the information it reveals shows that at the very least there was deliberate and wilfull intent by the Bush administration to mislead the public. Read it for yourself.

 
At 1:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From A Retired Marine Vet with a Mind!

At 1:43 PM, Alan Stewart Carl said...

: : This is the last I'll say on this, but feel free to continue to
: : demean my intelligence and attack my character.

Drop the victimized bullcrap Alan Stewart Carl and toughen up butter cup . . . what can one expect with your nitpicking word play and massaging of the facts!

Like it or not: Intrusive authoritarians like President George W. Bush and his cadre of primitive, licentious masters of deceit always lie. Even an occasional truth is intended only to cover up a bigger falsification and is therefore, itself, a deliberate untruth. As a parting thought, remember that George W. Bush's purpose is never to enlighten, but to deceive.

Plain and simple, the Bush Administration cannot be trusted any further. Answers on the record must be provided for the clarification for sending our finest young minds into harms way. As was said much better than I could ever put it - from the words of Smedley Butler:


: : "It would have been far cheaper (not to say safer) for the
: : average American who pays the bills to stay out of foreign
: : entanglements. For a very few this racket, like bootlegging
: : and other underworld rackets, brings fancy profits, but the
: : cost of operations is always transferred to the people –
: : who do not profit."

: : From: WAR IS A RACKET

: : Smedley Darlington Butler
: : Major General - United States Marine Corps [Retired]
: : Born West Chester, Pa., July 30, 1881
: : Educated Haverford School
: :
: : Awarded two congressional medals of honor,
: : . . . . . for capture of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914,
: : . . . . . and for capture of Ft. Riviere, Haiti, 1917
: : Distinguished service medal, 1919
: : Retired Oct. 1, 1931
: :
: : Republican Candidate for Senate, 1932
: : Died at Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, June 21, 1940

Oh! And before I forget:

Don't miss reading today's Sunday Times Online:

: : Ministers were told of need for Gulf war 'excuse'

Add that to your ongoing cerebral debate of what - or what not "fixed around" means . . .

Thanks for this blog forum . . .

 
At 1:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From A Retired Marine Vet with a Mind!

Please accept my apology.

That link to the Sunday Times Online article is apparently not operating - here's the correct link:

Ministers were told of need for Gulf war 'excuse'

Thanks again . . .

 
At 1:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

> The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair’s
> inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change
> was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions”
> which would make it legal.

 
At 3:00 AM, Anonymous mark t said...

To Alan

I find that your post is guilty of the same deception you accuse MoveOn of.
You assume that you know the context of the 'Fixed around' statement.
You leave the reader with the impression that what you believe is correct.

--They were making sure they had the appropriate facts to back up their decision. --

As in this statement you have no information that the administration was going to use facts, appropriate or other wise. You said in a reply that bush cherry-picked facts. Lying by omission, is that not just as bad as fixing intelligence?

From reading all the posters on this topic, it can be said that the context to witch the 'Fixed around' statement is open for debate.
Now I’m not saying that the Bush administration simply made up intelligence.

As I read it the sentence the context of “fixed around the policy” is that

1. Any intelligence not useful “in the case for war” (the policy) would be omitted or hidden.
2. Any intelligence that was weak would be bolstered or stretched to fit.

That’s what the context “fixed around the policy.” Is as I see it. The Bush administration had a going to war policy and they needed to fix a facade around it.
The official line was that war was the last option but from the memo you find that it is the preferred, the only option.

As for a smoking gun that all depends on what bullet was fired.
Is it proof that the administration falsified US intelligence reports? No
Is it proof that Bush was lying to the world and that war was the only true option? That’s for an Attorneys General to decide.

Lastly you completely trivialized the role of the Bush administration in cherry-picking the facts (distortion of the truth) on one hand and admonish MoveOn for doing less. The facts of the MoveOn statement is that the memo stated that Bush was going to war (Military action was now seen as inevitable.) and the American people were being told that war was the last option. Regardless of the intelligence distortions.

MoveOn picked a context and ran with it.
You picked a context and posted it.
Neither is wrong and both do a service by getting the information out.
As for you not responding to posters. That is the only way to kill the debate.

MT

 
At 4:04 AM, Anonymous Mimi said...

To Semper Fi guy..loved that "butter cup" comment..poifect!
but, OMG...after this first visit to YELLOW LINE...and seeing how you play with words, I can only add an old axiom "the ONLY thing you find in the middle of a road is a yellow stripe and roadkill". Y'all better quit your nitpicking and get REAL..The BushCheney oil/war profiteers only lie when their lips are moving..ALL facts were fixed on having a "quick cheap little war" which would pay for itself, according to their gang members..not only did they manipulate, cheat and lie, in their Machiavellian scheme they've sent of thousands to suffering and death. Those, dear boys are WAR CRIMES. Clinton was impeached for lying about getting a blowjob, and Nixon resign over a teensy little break-in and theft of a doctors files, I think they ought to be measuring the Bush/cheney gang for their cheery orange jumpsuits and leg irons. Hope "W"s "roomie" aint named "Tiny". mimi

 
At 8:51 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

MT--

I love a good debate. You make some good points and I appreciate that. However, most post on here aren't interested in hearing any other interpretation of the memo than the one they already believe. The "Bush is Evil" crowd cannot be reasoned with because they are 100% convinced of their interpretation of the facts and think anyone who doesn't "see the thruth" is naive at best and willfully deceptive at worst.

This post is just my opinion and of course I think what I believe is correct. I acknowledge that I could be wrong, but I think it's pretty common to think your beliefs are right.

I've read the rest of the memo many, many times, btw. And to me it sounds like about what you'd expect from both governments. When they say they needed to make it legal, they were talking about going through the UN, which they did. And of course they had war plans ready. Clinton had war plans ready against Iraq. And of course they were determined to go to war, we knew that in 2002, that's why we were protesting. If you're going to blame Bush you have to blame our Senate too for completely failing in their job to take the matter seriously. They rubber-stamped a war and didn't bother to question much of anything--this include Kerry, a man who would rather appear "tough" than keep us out of war.

There are plenty of failures here. The intelligence failed us. The Senate failed us. Bush and Rumsfeld failed us by not preparing adequetly for the post war. Lots of mistakes. Lots of incompetence. I just don't see lots of willfully deceptive behavior. Maybe there was, but I don't see it.

Now, call me a toady or ignorant or whatever, but don't call me a buttercup. That's an odd thing to call a guy who lets anyone and everyone post their comments on his blog.

As for criticizing MoveOn, I know for a FACT that their petition is deceptive in the way they present the evidence. I do not know for a fact if Bush was deceptive. Most people here seem to think the memo is some glaring truth, but nothing is conclusive. I think it's approrpriate to criticize MoveOn. Being deceptive while calling someone even more deceptive does not make one any less wrong.

Finally, people have been screaming for months for someone to report on this. I mention it, but because I have the audacity to point out it's not a smoking gun and is being manipulated by the far left to appear more conclusive than it is, y'all pile on.

Is it so horrible that someone might not hate Bush and might try to look at things neutrally and not through the mindset that the man is already guilty? And, before people accuse me of being a toady again, I didn't vote for the man.

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

From A Retired Marine Vet with a Mind!

Alan . . .

Sorry to have interrupted your weekend off - but to those who "serve" war IS a 24/7/365 type of endeavor.

And please accept my apology for the "...toughen up buttercup..." reference - It's an old euphemism for "softy."

Now with that said: I refer to your comment at 8:51 AM... :

: : : The "Bush is Evil" crowd ....

That is a tired old saw and the teeth are getting duller by it's overuse!

Let me repeat what I said before: Like it or not: Intrusive authoritarians like President George W. Bush and his cadre of primitive, licentious masters of deceit always lie. Even an occasional truth is intended only to cover up a bigger falsification and is therefore, itself, a deliberate untruth. As a parting thought, remember that George W. Bush's purpose is never to enlighten, but to deceive.

Plain and simple, the Bush Administration cannot be trusted any further. Answers on the record must be provided for the clarification for sending our finest young minds into harms way.

And you went on to say . . .

: : And of course they had war plans ready. Clinton had war
: : plans ready against Iraq.

--snip--

: : If you're going to blame Bush you have to blame our
: : Senate too for completely failing in their job to take the
: : matter seriously. They rubber-stamped a war and didn't
: : bother to question much of anything--this include Kerry,
: : a man who would rather appear "tough" than keep us
: : out of war

Let me tell ya' something young man . . . That's all moot to those who have perished and to those still currently in harms way.

You can use Clinton, Kerry, or the Senate as a whipping post all you like - but the Commander-in-Chief signed off on this stupid foray. And all your apologetics and massaging of the issue will not change that.

I DO NOT give a big whoop one way or another who the body, in the suit, in the big chair, in the big White House is at the time. Republican, Democrat, or Martian. It's not the person - it's the position of authority. And with that authority comes grave responsibility.

There is a saying when out to sea aboard a US Naval vessel that the Captain of the Ship is his own president aboard that vessel. The actions and decisions of that Captain must and shall remain above reproach.

For there is also an old Navy saying that goes:

: "When the Captain acts as a scoundrel ... Mutiny is not far behind."

You young man and anyone else who reads this: You better pray to whoever or whatever your spiritual guide is that that never comes to be in this day and age.

I have had my say and that is all you will hear further from me on this thread.

Thanks for the forum.

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

"When the Captain acts as a scoundrel ... Mutiny is not far behind."

But sailors on a ship don't elect their captain. Bush was re-elected and, in less than four years, we'll get to select a different captain. I hope, in that time, the anger I see on this thread does not spill over.

Everyone here has a right to their anger. It's been a divisive four-and-a-half years and more Americans have died in war here and abroad than any of us, even our President, ever thought possible back in 2000. All of us are angry, I think. Some at our leadership, some at our enemy, some at both.

What I would like to see, more than anything at all, is for people to stop stoking that anger with propaganda. If you read this blog often, you will see we do not shy from criticizing anyone who acts like a blind partisan or from praising anyone who acts with reason. Maybe we shouldn't be so optimisitc about our future, but we are. Maybe we should be more cynical about our past, but we are not.

And this really is my last comment here. I make no money (not a penny) at this and must balance my work here with work that actually can support my family. I must now move on to more and different topics but I will surely revisit the DSM again and, when I do, I will certainly carry with me all the words I've read here.

Hasta luego.

 
At 3:19 PM, Blogger milad said...

Worse argument ever! If this is true, why was the Downing Street Memo such an issue in the British Elections? Why is the British press making such a big deal about the DSM? Your illogic is showing fellas. This issue is not going to go away that easily.

 
At 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

....sailors on a ship don't elect their captain. Bush was reelected ....

No doubt that sailors on a ship don't elect their captain - although the election[s] of this President are somewhat questionable among many of the citizenry.


It appears on the surface to this casual observer that what the retired vet was saying about a Captain who acts a scoundrel that may cause a crew to mutiny is basically what Thomas Jefferson referred to in The Declaration of Independence where he proclaimed the right to revolution if political conditions became intolerable. If that isn't mutiny - I don't know what is.

Quote:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Do I really have to cite where that came from?

Citizens revolt is equal to justified military mutiny

 
At 9:12 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

I've now posted more on this here. Some of y'all are even quoted.

 
At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Andi said...

(Alan, your URL for that page is not working.)

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

The new post got moved do to technical difficulties. You can read it here. Thanks.

 
At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah! Sure there were technical difficulties.

It got to damn close to the overall truth in this thread.

Sorta like Uh uh - the Homeland Security alerts whenever the president's poll numbers were heading down.

 

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