Monday, July 25, 2005

The Downing Street memos in context: Lies and the lying liars who tell them

It has now been three years since the "Downing Street Memos" were written. Why are they important? Simple: they show that the war in Iraq was entered into based upon two lies: that Saddam had WMD, and that "everybody" knew that Saddam had WMD.

Lie #1. That Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. We now know that a) he didn't even have WMD *programs*, much less actual weapons (sorry, that's the facts, in an official U.S. government report no less), though of course he wished he had WMD programs (and I wish I had a billion dollars but you know how that goes), and b) that the Bush Administration was aware of this as early as 2002, and proceeded to "fix" the evidence (see the Downing Street memos) so that they could snow Congress and the UN into giving them authority to invade Iraq.

2. Lie #2, pulled out by the wingnuts once you start talking about #1, is "everybody knew that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, we had to invade Iraq because he would not prove he had none." Two words: Hans Blix. Maybe everybody "knew" Saddam had weapons of mass destruction before Blix's team went into Iraq. But by mid-February, it was clear from Blix's reports that a) Saddam had no nuclear program, and that b) Saddam had no large-scale chemical weapons program. Contrary to wingnut ranting, Blix and his team went where he wanted, when he wanted, and talked to whoever he wanted. He went to each and every pesticide plant in Iraq to verify that it had not been converted to produce nerve agents. His teams drove all over Iraq looking for any sign of radioactive gas emissions as would come from a nuclear enrichment or reprocessing facility (you can reduce this signature, but you can't eliminate it). His teams checked every UN seal on every radioactive barrel in the country to verify there were no unaccounted-for nuclear materials. There was no "there" there, and his reports to the UN said as much. The only thing left for Blix to do was to verify the state of Iraq's biological weapons program, at which point the U.S. ordered Blix to leave under penalty of death. The CIA had bugged the United Nations and was listening in on Blix's conversations with Kofee Anan (this is not conjecture, BTW, UN security found the bugs after the start of the war and raised a stink about it). The CIA reported to the Bush Administration that Blix was on the verge of proving that Iraq had no WMD or WMD program. The Bush administration could not allow Blix to finish his work because that would have exposed the lie, the lie they used to justify the war -- that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Thus Blix was threatened with death if he refused to leave Iraq, and Iraq was invaded before the lies could be exposed.

So what about all those other post-invasion reasons given for invading Iraq, like "spreading democracy", "the world is better without Saddam", etc.? Irrelevant. The Congress of the United States of America is not in the habit of authorizing war for altruistic reasons, otherwise we'd be in Sudan right now dealing with the genocide of the Darfur. Congress authorized war for one reason, and one reason only: because the Bush Administration snowed them with bogus evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That is why the Bush Administration had to threaten to murder Blix if he refused to leave Iraq. That is why the Bush Administration had to invade Iraq before Blix finished proving there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The war was based on a lie, and the Bush Administration knew it was a lie, and the Bush Administration would not -- could not -- allow Blix to expose the lie.

However, the truth is now out. U.S. inspection teams went all over Iraq in the past two years looking for weapons of mass destruction or evidence of a WMD program, and found nothing. The fact that the Bush Administration rigged the "evidence" to show existence of a WMD program where there was none, and stopped the inspections because they were about to reveal the lie, is now out there. Blix was right. Not that it matters.

-- Badtux the History Penguin


  1. Excellent summary. There's a lot to tell there and you did it nicely and concisely. You didn't even get very snarky about it, which I find disappointing, but I'll get over it. *sniff*

  2. Good post - Yes, those assholes lied us into bombing another country. Killing.Murder. You get thrown into jail, here, if you do that.


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