Thursday, June 09, 2005

Wrongfooting Saddam

This memo, another from a growing collection of British prewar documents, tells of a meeting between a UK official and Paul Wolfowitz, then with the Pentagon. In it, the Brit shows what a charade our prewar machinations were, as we tried to trick Saddam into some mistake that would give support to our invasion of Iraq.

It was apparent to me in the weeks before the invasion that all of the public relations, from Bush's speeches to Colin Powell's dog and pony show before the UN, that war was inevitable (to borrow a word from the Downing Street Minutes). We were bombing strategic targets in the north and south of Iraq, we were obfuscating on the subject of WMD, not presenting the weapons inspectors with our claimed sightings of caches of weapons, and then, when finally some information was given to the UN inspectors it turned out to be "garbage on garbage."

I just watched a PBS interview with an important journalist who believes the quiet about the Downing Street Minutes (which is no longer quite so quiet) is the calm before the storm, that some major news organization will put all (or most) of the pieces together and publish a definitive proof that Bush/Cheney/Rummie and the gang weren't serious in any attempt to "solve Iraq" except by invasion. The evidence--not just documents and observations by insiders, but their conduct too--is inconsistent with any other conclusion.

Update: As to the legitimacy of the "wrongfooting Saddam" memo, check out this Guardian article about the memo, published almost a year ago. There's no doubt about its authenticity.

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