I'm sure many of us are familiar with the adage, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." Well, judging by the near-total silence emanating from the United States following a recently leaked British internal memo, it would appear that most of us aren't paying attention.
This past Sunday, the Times of London released a leaked memorandum from Matthew Rycroft, a foreign policy aide to Tony Blair. Dated July 23, 2002, the memo records the minutes from a crucial meeting between Blair and British military and intelligence chiefs nearly a year before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
At the meeting, Sir Richard Dearlove, then chief of MI6 (the British equivalent of the CIA), reported on his recent talks in Washington with George Tenet, who was then chief of the CIA. According to Dearlove, there was a "perceptible shift" in U.S. attitude toward Iraq and "[m]ilitary action was now seen as inevitable." "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD."
In support of Dearlove's conclusions, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw also reported, "It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action." Straw cautioned, however, that "the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."
Now comes the kicker. According to Dearlove, in light of the "thin" case against Iraq, in Washington "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
You read it correctly. The Bush administration was tailoring the intelligence and facts to support its Iraq policy. Put differently, the U.S. cooked the books.
This is not some politically-motivated allegation leveled by a nation or party opposed to Bush's determination to invade Iraq. This is a "secret and strictly personal" and "extremely sensitive" internal memorandum from America's closest ally (and now proven co-conspirator) in the so-called Operation Iraqi Freedom.
This is the smoking gun.
The leaked memo has received significant coverage in Britain, particularly since it was released on the eve of Britain's parliamentary elections. It has received some passing coverage in the U.S., as well. The context of that coverage, however, has been largely limited to Blair's chances of winning reelection. In the U.S., the leaked memo has not been treated for what it is: compelling proof that Bush & Co. manufactured and manipulated intelligence to justify invading Iraq -- an invasion which has, so far, resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 Iraqi civilians and nearly 1,800 coalition military personnel.
For instance, in the days since the Times broke the story, the leaked memo has never been raised, not once, by the press in any White House press briefings. One would think that the U.S. news media would at least be interested in hearing the White House's spin on the issues raised in the leaked memo. Nevertheless, not a single question. Not one.
Typical of the "coverage" in the U.S. regarding the leaked memo was in a May 3, 2005 Washington Post opinion column entitled, "Could Leaks Sink Tony Blair?" Likewise, on May 2, 2005, the New York Times ran a story headlined, "For Blair, Iraq Issue Just Won't Go Away." In neither case was there any mention of Bush & Co. "fixing" intelligence to fit the policy. The mainstream press hasn't even seen fit to report on Congressman John Conyers' demand on May 2, 2005 for an explanation from the White House.
The American public hasn't done any better. More concerned with the motives of Georgia's "runaway bride" and whether Paula Abdul slept with an American Idol, most in the U.S. have shown little interest in or capacity for seeking the truth. If the news isn't defined for them and then delivered in monosyllabic or illustrated form, most Americans simply aren't interested. I would like to believe that if they were even the slightest bit interested and paid a modicum of attention, most Americans would be outraged at the revelation that Bush & Co. fixed the intelligence on Iraq.
I'd like to believe that, anyway.
Clearly, however, as far as the U.S. press and the general public are concerned, the "Iraq issue" has gone away for Bush. Just as it served as Bush's propaganda division leading up to the invasion of Iraq, the obsequious U.S. press now ignores the proof of Bush's lies. Just as it did before the war, the deaf and dumb American public sits idly by, unmoved by the tens of thousands who have died and suffered for Bush's deception.
If only the memo had a semen stain ....
Ken Sanders is a writer based in Tucson, Arizona. Visit his weblog at: www.politicsofdissent.blogspot.com/.
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