Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bush and His Iraq Revisionism

I've been groping for the right language the past few days as the violence in Iraq worsens and our president continues to wrap himself in his bubble. I can't say that I'm satisfied with what I've written but I feel compelled to keep pushing on these issues.

We've known for some time that the war in Iraq never had much to do with the war on terror; all along, for more than three years, there has been growing evidence that Bush and his team were intent on going to war against Iraq from the first day Bush took office. The decision to go to war in Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein was accepted as policy within the administration by spring of 2002. Iraq was first and foremost a war of choice. In recent weeks, the more Bush insists on revising the history of our involvement in Iraq, sometimes with a subtext that he had no choice, the more evidence resurfaces of what actually did happen. In some cases, if I'm not mistaken, even new evidence has been coming forth, though there has been plenty of evidence for some time of a chain of blunders and false statements on the part of Bush and his his top advisers.

David Swanson, one of the cofounders of AfterDowningStreet.org, has an article in Truthout about the growing calls for accountability over Iraq:
...when it rains it pours. Within days of the LA Times mentioning permanent military bases in Iraq, Bush admitting he intends never to pull out of Iraq, and the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post covering the growing movement for impeachment, the New York Times has chosen at long last to acknowledge the White House Memo, and to acknowledge that Bush was intent on finding a way to go to war, that he was not - as he claimed at the time and still claims - trying to avoid war.

Now the networks are phoning around, asking how they can see the memo, hoping to assure their owners that they won't get Dan Rathered if they run with this story. Olbermann is back on the job, with Andrea Mitchell even bringing up the Downing Street Memo on the air tonight. Chris Matthews interviewed Philippe Sands this evening.

The media has a long, long way to go, still. A single day's attention could mean nothing if it's not sustained. The Times article avoids obvious conclusions, obscures actions with the passive voice, and fails to tie in pieces of evidence other than this single memo. Bush and Blair continue to claim that each piece of evidence is taken out of context. And they're right: each one should be put in the context of all the others we now have.
Swanson is talking about actual documents, most of them from the British, that show first of all the intent by spring of 2002 to go to war in Iraq apparently for the purpose of regime change and the decision thereafter to fix the evidence to justify the need to go to war in Iraq. Whether regime change was a valid policy decision or not, it was not the case made to the American people and it's still not certain how regime change figured in the actual foreign policy being developed in the White House. Perhaps Bush never had a foreign policy in Iraq worthy of the name. But his policy was certainly not about weapons of mass destruction; it was clear weeks before the invasion that no weapons were being found by the UN inspectors but the spinning continued up to the war, during the heaviest part of the fighting and for the last three years. I love the last second to last sentence in the quoted paragraph above: Bush and Blair continue to claim that each piece of evidence is taken out of context. The context of the documents has become overwhelmingly clear and there is no satisfactory explanation that Blair or Bush can offer. Both are like two boys who have taken cookies from the cookie jar but who claim that what they took weren't really cookies. They lied and the world knows it. But the revisionism will continue. It's important for Americans to keep the facts in mind.

Here's a link to the list of documents associated with the British: Complete Set of Downing Street Documents.

And here's a link concerning one of the lastest finds called: The American Memo.

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