Delayed for two weeks after first reported and buried in the back pages of most major U.S. newspapers is the blockbuster story that key players in the British government believed the case for the invasion of Iraq was “thin” and that the Bush administration was manipulating intelligence to provide a rationale for an aggressive U.S. policy. In contrast, a merely symbolic and exhortative visit to Iraq by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is headline news in the same papers. The media coverage of those two stories—in inverse proportion to their importance—is a symptom of the decline of the republic and the ascension of the imperial presidency.
On May 1, 2005, the Sunday Times of London published a verbatim summary by a British official of a July 23, 2002, meeting on Iraq involving the British Prime Minister and some of his closest advisors. In the summary, the official encapsulated a report to the prime minister by Richard Dearlove, then head of Britain’s foreign intelligence agency MI-6, who had just returned from talks in Washington. According to the summary, Dearlove had reported that: “Military action was now seen as inevitable. 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.” In addition, the subsequent guerrilla insurgency in Iraq makes prescient Dearlove’s observation that “[t]here was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.”
The summary of the prime minister’s meeting also reaches the jolting conclusion: “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.”
Citizens of ancient Rome slumbered as profligate, unnecessary wars of conquest turned their republic into a despotic empire. Unfortunately, it looks as if the American republic is headed down a similar path.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Media calls it quits
I just stumbled across this post on Common Dreams and thought I would share: