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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Things don't seem to be looking good for Dubya's pal Tony:

"A briefing paper prepared for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers eight months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq concluded that the U.S. military was not preparing adequately for what the British memo predicted would be a "protracted and costly" postwar occupation of that country.

"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.

***

"Now, disclosure of the memo written in advance of that meeting -- and other British documents recently made public -- show that Blair's aides were not just concerned about Washington's justifications for invasion but also believed the Bush team lacked understanding of what could happen in the aftermath."

More here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...100723_pf.html

Think Gordon Brown's backers are leaking these memos?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
From the memo, dated July 21, 2002:

"A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise. As already made clear, the US military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden. Further work is required to define more precisely the means by which the desired endstate would be created, in particular what form of Government might replace Saddam Hussein's regime and the timescale within which it would be possible to identify a successor."

From a Knight Ridder report on the run up to the invasion:

"In March 2003, days before the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, American war planners and intelligence officials met at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina to review the Bush administration's plans to oust Saddam Hussein and implant democracy in Iraq.

"Near the end of his presentation, an Army lieutenant colonel who was giving a briefing showed a slide describing the Pentagon's plans for rebuilding Iraq after the war, known in the planners' parlance as Phase 4-C. He was uncomfortable with his material - and for good reason.

The slide said: "To Be Provided."

From:
http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwash...printstory.jsp
 

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Since this is yet another UK Memo thread, I am feeling a strange compulsion to hijack it.

I've noticed that our discussion about this war have tended to take the form of "one is fur it or agin it". I think the thing is more complicated than that.

We have seen the administration change its rationale over the war as time has passed. First we were going in to find the WMD's. When these didn't appear, and when it became evident that there were none at the time AND that our intelligence about them was manipulated, if not by the anti-Saddam Iraqis providing it then by our government (and our ally Britain) themselves, the story became that we went to war to create democracy in Iraq and since democracy is a great value, this was good enough. As the country seems to be breaking down into a civil war, we have also been told that we invaded to remove Saddam who is characterized as one of the most evil men in history.

Each of these excuses is phrased as a good enough reason to go in, and they are phrased in such a way that an opponent of the war is driven to having to say that (in the case of WMD's) we should not defend the US, or (in the case of democracy building) that it is not good to build a democracy or (in the case of removing Saddam) that the world is not better for Saddam being in prison.

Since there is some merit, or at least a little merit, in all of these positions for supporting the invasion of Iraq, the argument about Iraq often gets bogged down here. And I think that when the argument is bogged down over the reasons to have gone into Iraq, it misses two additional things that even the supporters of the war don't look at very closely.

The first is whether the administration lied to and manipulated the US and the world to build a case for the war. Some might feel that this is a case of "all's well that ends well", and since it was the president they support doing the manipulating, all is well. And there is a grain of truth to this, since we all know that our government has always done things in defense of the country (and I mean all of our presidents) that we didn't really know about or understand at the time. Perhaps not on the scale of Iraq, but things were done nonetheless.

But even accepting (and I am playing the devil's advocate here) that we were and are right to invade Iraq and that the president was right to build a bogus case to get us to support the war, there is the last thing that really confuses me when I hear people on the right support this thing.

Has the government done a good job with the war?

Even if this was a popular war, even if Saddam did have WMD's and had been an immediate threat to us and had been working in league with Al Qaeda and had been personally responsible for 9/11, the question of whether the government is pursuing the war competently and responsibly is still both a reasonable one AND a righteous one. After all, even if one thinks we should be there it is still our young people (I am writing this as a not so young person) and our money financing this thing.

I think that indications are that we as a country have not been pursuing this war competently. I keep hearing right-wingers talk about how our troops in Iraq are defending us. I don't hear any talk about how our troops themselves are being defended. I am not at all worried about terrorists attacking me. I am worried about the terrorists attacking my soldiers and killing them, day after day. I don't think that killing 1,600 US soldiers in Iraq to save killing 1,600 American in the states is a reasonable trade off. And the killing goes on and on and on.

All indications support the new Downing Street memo. We did not have a plan for after the Iraqi army was defeated. But we don't need a British memo to tell us this. Our casualty list is telling us this. The fact that we can't even secure the road to Baghdad Airport is telling us this. The fact that neither the electricity nor the sewers work tells us this. But the thing that is telling this most is that the sons and daughters of the people who support this war are not signing up to go there. They are not signing up because they have no confidence in how our occupation is being run. They know that if they go to Iraq, they have a much higher chance of being killed or maimed than they have of winning the local state lottery. They may have voted for Bush, they may have 20 bumper stickers on their car and they may have a picture on the We're Not Sorry website. They may walk the Terri Schiavo picket line with tape over their mouths or throw rocks at abortion clinics. They may slug it out with liberals on line over whether the WMD's are hidden in a cave or Syria or not. They may think that GOP means God's Own Party. But they are not signing up to fight in Iraq.

We who oppose the war can make fun of them for being hypocrites. But I won't, because in fact they would be idiots to go to Iraq right now. But what I do want to know is how is it that their support of this president is so strong that they would rather have our troops get slaughtered day after day than do anything that would criticize this president in any way. I am not saying that you should make your sons and daughters sign up for this war. But if you are not sending your children to Iraq, where is you support for the troops? Why are you supporting the president and his incompetents against our own soldiers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nicely put Unagidon.

Btw, consider the following from Dubya Inc., recall the slide show presentation to military planners in the story above and then toss in the facts on the ground for the past couple of years, and tell me these folks don't think U.S. citizens are dim:

White House Defends Iraq Postwar Planning

"There was significant post war planning," said spokesman David Almacy. "More importantly, the memo in question was written eight months before the war began; there was significant post war planning in the time that elapsed."

"He was reacting a report in Sunday editions of The Washington Post that a staff paper prepared for British Prime Minister Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq concluded that "a post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise" that could result in the United States looking to Britain "to share a disproportionate share of the burden."

"Some things we prepared for did not happen, like large numbers of refugees needing humanitarian assistance, and others we did not expect, such as large numbers of regime elements fleeing the battlefield only to return later," said Almacy. "Anytime you go to war you have to be flexible to adapt to the unexpected. That is why we gave our commanders the flexibility to do so."

More here:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050613/...aq_1&printer=1
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
New memos show British officials believed U.S. favored military force a year before the war

"In March 2002, the Bush administration had just begun to publicly raise the possibility of confronting Iraq. But behind the scenes, officials already were deeply engaged in seeking ways to justify an invasion, newly revealed British memos indicate.

"Foreshadowing developments in the year before the war started, British officials emphasized the importance of U.N. diplomacy, which they said might force Saddam Hussein into a misstep. They also suggested that confronting the Iraqi leader be cast as an effort to prevent him from using weapons of mass destruction or giving them to terrorists.

"The documents help flesh out the background to the formerly top-secret "Downing Street memo" published in the Sunday Times of London last month, which said that top British officials were told eight months before the war began that military action was "seen as inevitable." President Bush and his main ally in the war, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, have long maintained that they had not made up their minds to go to war at that stage.

***

"The new documents indicate that top British officials believed that by March 2002, Washington was already leaning heavily toward toppling Hussein by military force. Condoleezza Rice, the current secretary of State who was then Bush's national security advisor, was described as enthusiastic about "regime change."

"Although British officials said in the documents that they did not think Iraq's weapons programs posed an immediate threat and that they were dubious of any claimed links between the Iraqi government and Al Qaeda, they indicated that they were willing to join in a campaign to topple Hussein as long as the plan would succeed and was handled with political and legal care."

More here:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationwo...home-headlines
 

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I can't be on to long but i just wanted to say how pissed I am about this and the mainstream media. I heard the senate hearing on 88.5 wmnf in Tampa. This is serious stuff yet as I watched fox and then channel 8 news there was no mention of it what so ever. Nothing! INstead they had silly stories to fill time. They had the announcement of Tom Cruise's engagment. I'm sorry a saneat hearing wasn't on but Tom Cruise's engagment was? What is wrong with this picture and what is wrong with my country??

My brother is being sent to Iraq, my brother has a good chance of dying and leaving his 4 children fatherless all for this!

Courtney
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jewelysmommy
This is serious stuff yet as I watched fox and then channel 8 news there was no mention of it what so ever. Nothing! INstead they had silly stories to fill time. They had the announcement of Tom Cruise's engagment. I'm sorry a saneat hearing wasn't on but Tom Cruise's engagment was? What is wrong with this picture and what is wrong with my country??

I had to agree with you. I'm so sad that even on Mothering, more people are viewing and replying to a thread on the Michael Jackson verdit than the UK memos. I jsut can't believe the lengths the media will go to to distract us, and how easily people are sucked into it


I'm so sorry about your brother, he and his family are in my thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Good piece on the UK memos from the good folks at Knight Ridder:

British documents portray determined U.S. march to war

"Highly classified documents leaked in Britain appear to provide new evidence that President Bush and his national security team decided to invade Iraq much earlier than they have acknowledged and marched to war without dwelling on the potential perils.

"The half-dozen memos and option papers, written by top aides to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, buttress previous on-the-record accounts that portray Bush and his advisers as predisposed to oust Saddam Hussein when they took office - and determined to do it at all costs after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"Blair is Bush's closest global partner, and the documents, startlingly frank at times, were never meant to become public.

"Now they have rocketed around the Internet and been seized on by opponents of the Iraq war as evidence that the president and his administration were not leveling with the American people about their war preparations.

"By mid-March 2002, a year before the invasion of Iraq, top British officials were already so resigned to a war that they seemed preoccupied mostly with building international support and finding a legal justification.

***

"But Blair's advisers repeatedly expressed concern that the case against Saddam was weak and that the White House wasn't giving nearly enough attention to what would happen after he was toppled."

Much, much more here:
http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwash...printstory.jsp
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeow...angry editorial at the Detroit Free Press:

"While the Iraq war cannot be undone, it also is being held up as a manifestation of Bush administration policy that calls for preemptive action against imminent threats. Before that policy is invoked again, it's not unreasonable for members of Congress -- and the families of America's armed forces -- to ask for a more thorough accounting of the assessment of Iraq as a threat.

"The war has proven that assessment wrong. No weapons of mass destruction were found. Conyers is asking how the United States could have been so wrong about something so important. The Downing Street memo offers an answer. Does the White House have a better one?"

From:
http://www.freep.com/cgi-bin/forms/printerfriendly.pl
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
AP story on the UK memos (with handy links to memos):

Memos Show British Fretting Over Iraq War

"When Prime Minister Tony Blair's chief foreign policy adviser dined with Condoleezza Rice six months after Sept. 11, the then-U.S. national security adviser didn't want to discuss Osama bin Laden or al-Qaida. She wanted to talk about "regime change" in Iraq, setting the stage for the U.S.-led invasion more than a year later.

"President Bush wanted Blair's support, but British officials worried the White House was rushing to war, according to a series of leaked secret Downing Street memos that have renewed questions and debate about Washington's motives for ousting Saddam Hussein.

***

"The documents confirm Blair was genuinely concerned about Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction, but also indicate he was determined to go to war as America's top ally, even though his government thought a pre-emptive attack may be illegal under international law.

"The truth is that what has changed is not the pace of Saddam Hussein's WMD programs, but our tolerance of them post-11 September," said a typed copy of a March 22, 2002 memo obtained Thursday by The Associated Press and written to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

"But even the best survey of Iraq's WMD programs will not show much advance in recent years on the nuclear, missile or CW/BW (chemical or biological weapons) fronts: the programs are extremely worrying but have not, as far as we know, been stepped up."

More here:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050619/...E0BHNlYwN0bWE-
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Interesting column from E.J. Dionne that hammers home how feckless, intellectual lazy and utterly incompetent Dubya Inc. has been re Iraq:

"Because the White House failed to prepare Americans for what was to come, the administration now faces a backlash. Over the weekend Bush said that the terrorists in Iraq were seeking to "weaken our nation's resolve." But the rising impatience about which Bush complains is a direct result of the administration's blithe dismissal of those who warned just how tough the going could get.

***

"The most damaging document supporting this claim is not secret, and remains one of the most important artifacts of the prewar debate. It is the transcript of "Meet the Press" from March 16, 2003, in which Vice President Cheney gave voice to the administration's optimistic assumptions that have now been laid low by reality.

"Host Tim Russert asked whether "we would have to have several hundred thousand troops there" in Iraq "for several years in order to maintain stability." Cheney replied: "I disagree." He wouldn't say how many troops were needed, but he added that "to suggest that we need several hundred thousand troops there after military operations cease, after the conflict ends, I don't think is accurate. I think that's an overstatement."

"Russert asked: "If your analysis is not correct, and we're not treated as liberators but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?"

"Cheney would have none of it. "Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I've talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House. . . . The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want [is to] get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that."

"Russert: "And you are convinced the Kurds, the Sunnis, the Shiites will come together in a democracy?"

"Cheney: "They have so far." And the vice president concluded: "I think the prospects of being able to achieve this kind of success, if you will, from a political standpoint, are probably better than they would be for virtually any other country and under similar circumstances in that part of the world."

More here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...001177_pf.html

It really is stunning how remarkably wrong this bunch has been.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
From the reporter who scored the memos...

The Real News in the Downing Street Memos

"It is now nine months since I obtained the first of the "Downing Street memos," thrust into my hand by someone who asked me to meet him in a quiet watering hole in London for what I imagined would just be a friendly drink.

"At the time, I was defense correspondent of the London Daily Telegraph, and a staunch supporter of the decision to oust Saddam Hussein. The source was a friend. He'd given me a few stories before but nothing nearly as interesting as this.

"The six leaked documents I took away with me that night were to change completely my opinion of the decision to go to war and the honesty of Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush.

"They focused on the period leading up to the Crawford, Texas, summit between Blair and Bush in early April 2002, and were most striking for the way in which British officials warned the prime minister, with remarkable prescience, what a mess post-war Iraq would become. Even by the cynical standards of realpolitik, the decision to overrule this expert advice seemed to be criminal."

More here:
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/...94,print.story
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
One really has to wonder just what Blair was thinking when he fille for this boondoggle:

From Memos, Insights Into Ally's Doubts On Iraq War

"In the spring of 2002, two weeks before British Prime Minister Tony Blair journeyed to Crawford, Tex., to meet with President Bush at his ranch about the escalating confrontation with Iraq, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw sounded a prescient warning.

"The rewards from your visit to Crawford will be few," Straw wrote in a March 25 memo to Blair stamped "Secret and Personal." "The risks are high, both for you and for the Government."

"In public, British officials were declaring their solidarity with the Bush administration's calls for elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. But Straw's memo and seven other secret documents disclosed in recent months by British journalist Michael Smith together reveal a much different picture. Behind the scenes, British officials believed the U.S. administration was already committed to a war that they feared was ill-conceived and illegal and could lead to disaster.

"The documents indicate that the officials foresaw a host of problems that later would haunt both governments -- including thin intelligence about the nature of the Iraqi threat, weak public support for war and a lack of planning for the aftermath of military action. British cabinet ministers, Foreign Office diplomats, senior generals and intelligence service officials all weighed in with concerns and reservations. Yet they could not dissuade their counterparts in the Bush administration -- nor, indeed, their own leader -- from going forward.

"I think there is a real risk that the administration underestimates the difficulties," David Manning, Blair's chief foreign policy adviser at the time, wrote to the prime minister on March 14, 2002, after he returned from meetings with Condoleezza Rice, then Bush's national security adviser, and her staff. "They may agree that failure isn't an option, but this does not mean they will necessarily avoid it."

"A U.S. official with firsthand knowledge of the events said the concerns raised by British officials "played a useful role."

"Were they paid a tremendous amount of heed?" said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "I think it's hard to say they were."

More here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...701584_pf.html
 
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