Monday, June 13, 2005

Being For the Benefit of Mr. Blair

At this point, Bush has to be thinking two things:

1) Who invited the Brits to the party in the first place?
2) Don’t those damned limeys know that when you’re planning an illegal war, you don’t take fucking notes?!

As you all know by now, more nasty (and obvious) stuff from Downing Street has come to light in the Washington Post. It’s more of the same:

The eight-page memo, written in advance of a July 23, 2002, Downing Street meeting on Iraq, provides new insights into how senior British officials saw a Bush administration decision to go to war as inevitable, and realized more clearly than their American counterparts the potential for the post-invasion instability that continues to plague Iraq.

In its introduction, the memo "Iraq: Conditions for Military Action" notes that U.S. "military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace," but adds that "little thought" has been given to, among other things, "the aftermath and how to shape it."

The July 21 memo was produced by Blair's staff in preparation for a meeting with his national security team two days later that has become controversial on both sides of the Atlantic since last month's disclosure of official notes summarizing the session.

In a section titled "Benefits/Risks," the July 21 memo states, "Even with a legal base and a viable military plan, we would still need to ensure that the benefits of action outweigh the risks."

Saying that "we need to be sure that the outcome of the military action would match our objective," the memo's authors point out, "A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise." The authors add, "As already made clear, the U.S. military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden."

The Blair government, unlike its U.S. counterparts, always doubted that coalition troops would be uniformly welcomed, and sought U.N. participation in the invasion in part to set the stage for an international occupation and reconstruction of Iraq, said British officials interviewed recently. London was aware that the State Department had studied how to deal with an invasion's aftermath. But the British government was "shocked," in the words of one official, "when we discovered that in the postwar period the Defense Department would still be running the show."
Hey – me too! In fact, it’s stunning how almost perfectly absolutely spot-on 100% correct we liberals were about this war. Let us count the ways:
  • There are no WMD. (Those who say that everyone was certain that they had WMD are lying – ask former weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Scott Ritter.)
  • It will be crazy expensive.
  • They won’t welcome us with flowers and chocolate.
  • It will be worse to be bogged down in Iraq for years and years than to allow Saddam to stay in power, as long as we have the weapons inspectors in place (which we did).
  • Iraq is too unstable, with too many different factions to force them at gunpoint into a lasting peace.
  • If we go into Iraq, we’ll be taking the eye off the important mission – Osama bin Laden.
  • Worst-case scenario is they are allowed to vote and install a brutal Islamic regime that allies itself with Iran. (stay tuned)
  • Bush doesn’t know what he’s doing, and he’s ignoring all the planning being done by Colin Powell and the State Department.
  • You see? Every single one of these points has been proven correct, and we were saying them for months leading up to the war, which Bush clearly and provably was going to start come hell or high water. Sometimes the dirty hippies and peaceniks can keep you safer than the warriors, eh? In this case, our predictions were eerily prescient. And now 1,700 American soldiers are dead. The U.S. is a pariah world-wide. We’re torturing and killing prisoners. Our economy is in the shithole. Pretty much everything sucks. Thanks, Bush.

    As a final thought (for now) – do you think that people don’t realize that Downing Street is the British equivalent of saying White House? If we had a White House memo that said we didn’t plan for the post-war and that intelligence was being fixed around policy, do you think people would be a little more upset? A lot more upset? I sure hope so.

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