TDS covers the latest Iraq War Memo revelation.

In all the entries that I’ve criticized the President Bush and his Administration about the Iraq war I’ve resisted the temptation of many on the left to call him or his Administration flat-out liars, but the time has come. The folks over at Crooks and Liars have a video clip from The Daily Show on the recent New York Times War Memo news item that revealed Bush had every intention to launch the Iraq War on March 10th regardless of whether any WMDs were found. From the NYT article:

During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair’s top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.

“Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning,” David Manning, Mr. Blair’s chief foreign policy adviser at the time, wrote in the memo that summarized the discussion between Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair and six of their top aides.

“The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March,” Mr. Manning wrote, paraphrasing the president. “This was when the bombing would begin.”

On top of that, Bush apparently discussed various ways they could provoke a confrontation if he felt it was necessary:

Without much elaboration, the memo also says the president raised three possible ways of provoking a confrontation. Since they were first reported last month, neither the White House nor the British government has discussed them.

“The U.S. was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in U.N. colours,” the memo says, attributing the idea to Mr. Bush. “If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach.”

It also described the president as saying, “The U.S. might be able to bring out a defector who could give a public presentation about Saddam’s W.M.D,” referring to weapons of mass destruction.

A brief clause in the memo refers to a third possibility, mentioned by Mr. Bush, a proposal to assassinate Saddam Hussein. The memo does not indicate how Mr. Blair responded to the idea.

The Daily Show clip sums it all up pretty well. Bush sold us a load of bullshit and much of the country bought it.

14 thoughts on “TDS covers the latest Iraq War Memo revelation.

  1. Bush sold us a load of bullshit and much of the country bought it.

    Even better, there are still lots of people who still think Dear Leader is the shizzle.

    Most Red-leaning folks would probably go Blue (or Purp) if the Demos would get off their dead arses, come up with a message and field candidates that had solutions (no matter how fanciful or crazy).

    “B-b-but we’re not Bush” is neither a message nor a solution; if the Demos try that again for the mid-terms, then the Thousand Year Reich will continue on through ‘08, at least.

  2. Okay, I’ll play Devil’s Advocate here (and not as someone who thinks Bush is “the shizzle”).

    Quoting from the NYT article:

    Mr. Blair was described as responding that both countries would make clear that a second resolution amounted to “Saddam’s final opportunity.” The memo described Mr. Blair as saying: “We had been very patient. Now we should be saying that the crisis must be resolved in weeks, not months.”

    It reported: “Bush agreed. He commented that he was not itching to go to war, but we could not allow Saddam to go on playing with us. At some point, probably when we had passed the second resolutions — assuming we did — we should warn Saddam that he had a week to leave. We should notify the media too. We would then have a clear field if Saddam refused to go.”

    […] At a White House news conference following the closed-door session, Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair said “the crisis” had to be resolved in a timely manner. “Saddam Hussein is not disarming,” the president told reporters. “He is a danger to the world. He must disarm. And that’s why I have constantly said — and the prime minister has constantly said — this issue will come to a head in a matter of weeks, not months.”

    So the Bush Administration had a timeline in place.  The article (and memo) don’t indicate that they were building up for war on false pretenses—there’s no indication that they didn’t think Iraq was a threat or that they didn’t think WMDs were there or that they were after oiiiiilllll or anything.  They were looking to bring things to a head and stop the endless gameplaying, non-coooperation, and evasion by Iraq.

    In the context of what we see here, all we know is what we already knew—Bush (along with a lot of other people) thought war was inevitable, because Iraq’s government would not cooperate (or Saddam step down) sufficiently to defuse the threat they were perceived to pose.  That’s what they said publicly after the meeting, and it’s what they discussed privately during it.  Where’s the beef?

    Bush et al. have been (quite rightly) condemned for their incompetence in planning for the aftermath of war.  Had they not planned for the initiation of the war (which,  notably, usually includes a date) they would have been even more incompetent.

    And that all said, I do very sincerely hope, as Bryan does, that the Dems come up with a better platform than “Anyone But Bush” for ‘06.

  3. There is a very simple way to tell an honest politician. If anyone is interested, please respond here and I’ll be happy to reveal a secret that has been passed on for generations and that works every time.

  4. As the resident hand flapping conspiracy theorist around here, before anyone goes defending Bush as doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons let us harken back to the P.N.A.C. and remember the fine folks that worked on it who are now running the government. March 10th was a completely arbitrary deadline because they had been planning pre-emptive war for years (January 26, 1998) before Bush was selected president in 2000!

    Jeb Bush – Governor of Florida and Presidents brother.
    Dick Cheney – Vice President of the U.S. (Former Haliburton C.E.O.)
    I. Lewis Libby – V.P. Cheneys former Chief of staff (Currently under indictment)
    Donald Rumsfeld – Secretary of Defense
    Paul Wolfowitz – Former Deputy Secretary of Defense (Currently President of the World Bank)
    Elliott Abrams – Deputy National Security Adviser (Was also instrumental in Iran Contra back in the mid-80s)
    Paula Dobriansky – Under Secretary for Global Affairs
    Francis Fukuyama – Member of the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2001-2005
    Zalmay Khalilzad – Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Gulf, Southwest Asia and Other Regional Issues, National Security Council. (Former Unocal Oil advisor)
    John R. Bolton – Recess appointed as American Ambassador to U.N.
    Peter W. Rodman – Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
    Stephen P. Rosen – Used to lobby congress on behalf of Israel. Currently under investigation for spying on America for Israel
    Dan Quayle – Okay, not a memebr of the current administration but he ran for president in 2000 and thought potato was spelled with an E! Come on!

    And those are just the ones currently, officially officiating in the Bush II administration. Most of the other signators of the P.N.A.C. document are either highly placed evangelicals, columnists, professors, and all seem to be planning for a WW4 featuring China any day now.

    The invasion of Iraq was NOT a knee jerk reaction to 9/11, it had been planned since 1998, waiting for only two things – The dumbest Republican president ever and a catastrophic event that would get the American people riled up enough to push for war. What “luck” Osama could hand them the biggest terrorist attack on American soil.

  5. Kyystfafm, I’ve been leery of the very same pretense. It takes a pile of conjectures to get to the point of saying that complacence was the only way (David Ray Griffin said something similar in “The New Pearl Harbor”). But the fact is, it isn’t necessary for the government to cause it or to allow it to happen. Even lacking those two they could still capitalize on it for whatever plans they had in place (which PNAC has mentioned many times just what that circumstance had to be).

    Anyone who reads the PNAC can see American politics quite well in hindsight. Between PNAC, the voting machines, and a propoganda machine to sway the gullible public you’ve got a great base of operations well into this century. With the last two, elections are more a public side show to the politics of power going on backstage.

  6. Indeed.  Although I won’t go as far as Al Jazeera and claim that Al Qaeda is an invention of the Bush administration, Osama is the best thing that could have happened to the Bush presidency, Halliburton, & Co.  Ultimately, it doesn’t matter much what exactly was planned when by whom: the decision to invade Iraq was not motivated by fear of Saddam, and the lives and money and goodwill lost will be a lasting legacy of this administration.  Any Bush supporters out there who still think this was a good idea?

  7. Don’t get me going on our “free and fair” elections… If you need more to worry about before the 06 elections read up at and see what amounts to gross incompetence, rampant profiteering, possible election tampering or all of the above. Where is the America of my youth?

  8. Zilch, you do realize that is not the website of the infamous Qatar based news station, Al-Jazeera, right? There is not a single thing on that comes from the TV station whose site is or

  9. No, I didn’t know that, qwerty.  Thanks.  But it doesn’t affect my point.  Here’s another group of wackos who accuse the CIA of creating Al Qaeda and Bin Laden.  Now let’s see- was it the CIA or the Zionists who took out the WTC?  So many conspiracy theories, so little time…

  10. Zilch, you are right that it does not affect your point. But there is a difference between a major news outlet and the two pages you have cited which are nothing more than Middle Eastern equivalents of WorldNetDaily or the like.

  11. I agree, qwerty.  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of folks who believe this stuff.  More than one Muslim has told me, quite seriously, that Jews were responsible for 9/11.

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