As support for the war in Iraq dwindles among U.S. citizens, the Downing Street documents which revealed that the Bush Administration fixed intelligence for war and used 9/11 as an excuse for invading Iraq must stay in the public eye. These documents can hold the Bush Administration accountable for such a grotesque mistake.The original document that exploded in the press was the Downing Street Memo, which was first covered in The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times in May by British journalist Michael Smith.
The Downing Street Memo contains documented minutes between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisors from a meeting in July 2002. The document has been labeled a “smoking gun” by many critics of the war who believe the Bush administration lied to build a case for war. In the document, it is stated that intelligence for the war was being “fixed around the policy.”
After the Downing Street Memo was leaked to the press in Britain, it finally became frontpage news in the United States. The memo’s startling revelations even sparked a movement to impeach President Bush.
The web site www.afterdowningstreet.org was launched by veteran organizations and peace groups in wake of the Downing Street Memo.
The web site describes the movement as “a campaign to urge the U.S. Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war.”
A few weeks after the Downing Street Memo was leaked, the U.S. press publicized more startling British documents. The documents revealed that the Bush administration had no plans to exhaust diplomacy with Iraq and use war as a last resort, as promised in the months before the inevitable invasion.
One memo written by Tony Blair’s Foreign Policy Advisor, David Manning, makes it clear that the Bush Administration planned to oust Saddam as early as March 14, 2002, when the memo was written.
In the memo, which was released by the Associated Press in late June 2005, Manning describes a dinner he had with then National Security advisor Condoleezza Rice, who is now Secretary of State.
“Condi’s enthusiasm for regime change is undimmed,” Manning wrote. Manning went on to write that President Bush was unsure how to persuade theworld that military action against Iraq would be justified.
In two more memos from March 2002, also released by the Associated Press in June, some British officials questioned the credibility and case for the impending war.
Peter Ricketts, another British official, wrote in a memo dated March 22, 2002: “Us scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and Al Qaida is so far frankly unconvincing.” Jack Straw, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, also questioned the case for war. “If September 11 had not happened, it is doubtful that the U.S. would now be considering military action against Iraq. In addition, there has been no credible evidence to link Iraq with Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaida,” Straw wrote in a memo dated March 25, 2002.
Even now, after two years of bloodshed in Iraq, the Bush administration still connects Iraq with Al Qaida, despite conflicting evidence from the 9/11 Commission and Downing Street Memos that Saddam had nothing to do with Bin Laden’s terrorist network.
As the war worsens, the more the Bush administration launches into spin mode, desperately trying to justify a war built on the bogus claims that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and a connection to Al Qaida.
After so much deceit and spin from the Bush administration, the Downing Street Memos have allowed the truth to finally unravel. The documents should still be a dominant topic filling editorial pages across the country because they prove the Bush administration had no case for war.
As it becomes more evident that the Bush administration has no idea how to quell the bloodshed in Iraq, and since Americans are sickened over the mounting casualties, it is far past the time for U.S. troops to completely withdraw from a war based on fabrications.
Concerned citizens that want the troops to come home should contact their Senator and Congressional Representative and pressure them to introduce legislation that demands an exit strategy from Iraq.
Brian Fanelli is a senior majoring in comparative literature with minors in creative writing and journalism.