The Independent confirms a report by the Guardian on a newly-revealed British memo. The memo claims that Bush made the decision to attack Iraq two months prior to the war. Furthermore, the memo states that Bush was thinking about baiting Iraq into a breach of UN resolutions by “flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colors.”
This most-recent memo is just the latest in a series of official British government documents that have revealed shocking information about how Bush misled the nation into Iraq (see the original Downing Street Memo and the British Briefing Papers revealed previously by ThinkProgress).
There are two things all these memos share in common: 1) none of the memos’ validity has been disputed, and 2) the U.S. media has been slow to cover every single one of them. In fact, while reputable British papers such as the Guardian, the Independent, and the Financial Times have already reported on the most recent memo, no American newspaper has.
If the American media decided to aggressively report on the evidence contained in these British memos, here’s the story they would find:
“Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”
“US is scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and Al [Qaida that] is so far frankly unconvincing.”
“Even the best survey of Iraq’s WMD programmes will not show much advance in recent years on [the] nuclear, missile or CW/BW fronts.”
“Indeed if the argument [for attacking Iraq] is to be won, the whole case against Iraq and in favour (if necessary) of military action, needs to be narrated with reference to the international rule of law.”
“A legal justification for invasion would be needed. Subject to law Officers advice, none currently exists.”
“The NSC (National Security Council) had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record.”
“The two leaders [Bush and Blair] were worried by the lack of hard evidence that Saddam Hussein had broken UN resolutions, though privately they were convinced that he had. According to the memorandum, Mr Bush said: ‘The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach.’
“On January 31 2003 - nearly two months before the invasion - … Mr Bush made it clear the US intended to invade whether or not there was a second UN resolution and even if UN inspectors found no evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons programme.”
“[Bush] added that he had a date, 10 March, pencilled in for the start of military action. The war actually began on 20 March.”
“What happens on the morning after?” “There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.”
“Bush said that he ‘thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups.’”
“We have to answer the big question – what will this action achieve? There seems to be a larger hole in this than anything.”