The US Media’s Non-Reaction to Blair’s Iraq Memo

Here’s some interesting followup on the leaked ‘smoking gun’ Tony Blair memo (previously discussed here in Evidence of Bush’s early decision to invade Iraq):

From FAIR, Smoking Gun Memo?

Journalists typically condemn attempts to force their colleagues to disclose anonymous sources, saying that subpoenaing reporters will discourage efforts to expose government wrongdoing. But such warnings seem like mere self-congratulation when clear evidence of wrongdoing emerges, with no anonymous sources required– and major news outlets virtually ignore it.

A leaked document that appeared in a British newspaper offered clear new evidence that U.S. intelligence was shaped to support the drive for war. Though the information rocked British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s re-election campaign when it was revealed, it has received little attention in the U.S. press.

Joe Conason in Slate provides valuable context for the recent-history-impaired in Afraid to tell the truth (one-day pass required):

When Bush signed the congressional resolution authorizing the use of military force against Iraq on Oct. 16, 2002 — three months after the Downing Street memorandum — he didn’t say that military action was “inevitable.” Instead, the president assured Americans and the world that he still hoped war could be avoided.

“I have not ordered the use of force. I hope the use of force will not become necessary,” he said at a press conference. “Hopefully this can be done peacefully. Hopefully we can do this without any military action.” He promised that he had “carefully weighed the human cost of every option before us” and that if the United States went into battle, it would be “as a last resort.”

In the months that followed, as we now know, the president and his aides grossly exaggerated, and in some instances falsified, the intelligence concerning the Iraqi regime’s supposed weapons of mass destruction and alleged ties to the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. Defenders of his policy have since insisted that he too was misled with bad information, provided by U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies.

But “C” heard something very different from Blair’s allies in Washington.

According to him, Bush, determined to oust Saddam, planned to “justify” a preventive war by tying the terrorist threat to Iraq’s WMD arsenal — and manipulating the intelligence to fit his policy instead of determining the policy based on the facts.

Meanwhile, 88 congresscritters, led by dangerously non-Republican John Conyers (D-MI), have sent a letter to Bush asking him to come clean about the information contained in the British memo. The letter includes the following questions:

1) Do you or anyone in your Administration dispute the accuracy of the leaked document?

2) Were arrangements being made, including the recruitment of allies, before you sought Congressional authorization go to war? Did you or anyone in your Administration obtain Britain’s commitment to invade prior to this time?

3) Was there an effort to create an ultimatum about weapons inspectors in order to help with the justification for the war as the minutes indicate?

4) At what point in time did you and Prime Minister Blair first agree it was necessary to invade Iraq?

5) Was there a coordinated effort with the U.S. intelligence community and/or British officials to “fix” the intelligence and facts around the policy as the leaked document states?

As near as I can tell, the Bush administration’s response to all this has been a steadfast “no comment.” And they’ll continue with that response, obviously, as long as they can get away with it. They don’t want to talk about the memo, because it constitutes proof that their public statements in the run-up to the Iraq war were lies.

It really bugs me that the mainstream media are letting them get away with this. If a president is allowed to lie his way into a war, then avoid any political consequences when the proof of his having done so comes to light afterward, it’s game over for democracy. If you feel it was appropriate that Bill Clinton paid a political price for having lied about getting blowjobs from Monica, I can’t see how you can defend giving Bush a free pass on this one.

The FAIR item linked to above mentions, but doesn’t link to, the following NY Times article by Douglas Jehl, in which Jehl analyzes the resistance to the Bolton nomination: Tug of war: Intelligence vs. politics.

For more than two years, critics who accused the Bush administration of improperly using political influence to shape intelligence assessments have, for the most part, failed to make the charge stick. On Iraq, the main focus of scrutiny, two official inquiries have blamed intelligence agencies for inflating the threat posed by Baghdad’s illicit weapons, but have stopped short of blaming political pressures for the problem.

Those findings have never fully satisfied many intelligence officials and some administration critics. At minimum, they have said, some senior Bush administration officials have played an unhelpful role, by urging intelligence agencies to revise conclusions in a direction more consistent with administration policy, as in pursuing links between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

Now John R. Bolton, nominated as United Nations ambassador, has emerged as a new lightning rod for those who saw a pattern of political pressure on intelligence analysts. And this time, current and former officials are complaining more publicly than before.

Some of them are prompted by antipathy to Mr. Bolton, some by lingering guilt about Iraq. Some, perhaps, are nervous about the quality of current intelligence assessments at a time of new uncertainties about North Korea’s nuclear program, and ambiguous evidence about whether it is moving toward a nuclear test.

One of those critics, Robert L. Hutchings, the former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, made the point in an e-mail message, even as he declined to discuss Mr. Bolton in specific detail. “This is not just about the behavior of a few individuals but about a culture that permitted them to continue trying to skew the intelligence to suit their policy agenda – even after it became clear that we as a government had so badly missed the call on Iraqi W.M.D.,” Mr. Hutchings said.

The culture that is permitting that sort of “skewing” includes the mainstream media, apparently.

24 Responses to “The US Media’s Non-Reaction to Blair’s Iraq Memo”

  1. adam_blust Says:

    Seems to me this non-reaction is easy to understand. One half of the country would applaud if GWB slit the throats of puppies on the White House lawn. The other half of the country is in an outrage overload coma. I know I’m in one. And I think I stay there because I wonder what the point would be of coming out of it.

  2. RobertR Says:

    On my blog, I’ve been asking for days where the US press is on this story. Right now, only a slight blurb on CNN ( ).

  3. Robert Says:

    Leave George Bush ALONE !!!!!!!

  4. ethan-p Says:

    What really bugs me about this is that so many people knew this all along. That the Bush administraton told intelligence officials that we’re going to war with Iraq…build a case for war based on WMD. The Bush supporters will still ho hum this news, because they don’t seem to give a shit.

    If I thought that America would learn something from this, I’d say that we deserve what we got with Bush. The problem is that we tend to have such deep convictions here, and we’ll stick to our guns until the bitter end — so we’ll never learn, and Bush will get away with this.

  5. ethan-p Says:

    FWIW, the LA Times has picked this story up as well. Hopefully, the more of mainstream media pick this story up (except for Fox news…they will report that 80 members of Congress have given props to Bush).

  6. Harvester Says:

    “Leave George Bush ALONE!!!!!!”

    I could reply to this, however I could never get the point across as articulate and eloquent as this old guy.

    “The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.”

    “Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star”, 149
    May 7, 1918

  7. Rise Against Says:


  8. ethan-p Says:


    I have a feeling that Bushie didn’t get that memo. Wanna forward it to him?

  9. Robert Says:

    What is wrong with you Numb Skulls ???????

    George Bush did a Fantastic job and is ridiculed by you Pathetic excuses for Americans!!! …..You guys arn’t even good enough to be the Arse Hole of an American, you Nazi Cock Sucking Terrorist Bum Chums!!!

    How would you Cunts like it if Your Wife, Mother or Family member was Burnt to death or jumped from a Skyscrapper because it was a better option than staying on to be Scolded to death.

    Ethan, You are the Biggest Pile of Shit on this Earth!!!

    Harvester, you’d say anything to get in these guys pants you Fucking Poofter!!!

    And Rise Against you’d go along with anything you Bloody Zombie with a pole up your arse.

    Time to Wake up Cunts and Respect George Bush

    P.S. I hope George Bush Craps on your tomb stone or piss’s in your urn !!!!!!!

    Take Care…..Dr Robert

  10. jbc Says:

    I believe in giving commenters a wide latitude; it’s just my personal philosophy as it applies to online discourse. So I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, Dr Robert; you’re well within the boundaries of what I consider acceptable behavior for a commenter on the site, at least in terms of how I view my role as the site’s administrator and potential moderator of comments. I’m glad you’re taking the time to read the information here, and to contribute your own two cents.

    But with that said, I think a response like that isn’t doing much for your side of the argument.

    I recognize that you think us Bush-haters should respect him more than we do. But it would be helpful if you provided more detail on why you think he deserves that respect. It can’t just be that he occupies the office of the president, can it? If so, are we supposed to believe that during the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, you would have been in here arguing just as forcefully that Bill Clinton was the president, dammit, and us Nazi Cock Sucking Terrorist Bum Chums needed to give him more respect? I find that hard to believe.

    It seems to me that, with the foul language stripped away, what you’re arguing is basically that we should support Bush simply because you say we should. And again, like I said at the beginning, you’re welcome to make that argument, and to spice it up with foul language as a way to indicate the strength of your convictions. But I just don’t think many of us on the other side are going to find that argument, in and of itself, very persuasive.

    Pretend for a second that I’m someone sitting on a stool next to you at the counter of a diner. You just met me; we don’t really know each other. We happen to start talking, and you learn that I’m not a supporter of Bush. How would you approach trying to change my mind in that situation? Would you start screaming obscenities at me? Dude; you’d get kicked out of the diner. No one would be impressed by your views; we’d just be talking about what a raving nutjob you were.

    This situation really isn’t all that different. No one’s about to eject you from the virtual diner, but we’re still thinking you’re a nutjob.

    Why not actually talk to us about why you feel the way you do? I understand that you feel angry at us for betraying the values you think are important. But rather than just teeing off on us, tell us why, specifically, you think we’re wrong. It would be more interesting, and potentially more persuasive.

  11. Harvester Says:

    Robert unfortunately is just showing us all what a Bush supporter is like, I fear for the country with ignorance and treason at these levels. Just so we get some things straight, let’s look at the Bush administration in an over view briefly.

    A. They have fake reporters who are in reality homosexual prostitutes running around the White House on nights with no news events, who never leave and spend the night.

    B. They give up CIA operatives an act of treason, out of spite that her husband isn’t in lock step with their propaganda machine. Instead of giving false intelligence he told the truth for this his wife’s security is compromised.

    C. It has been proven to show that he and the UK took information and bent it to fit their agendas, in other words they lied to create a war with Iraq.

    This is your hero, this is the guy whom you speak so highly of and find that he is your role model? If your son came home in a casket or with no legs and 3rd degree burns over a lie…I wonder how you would feel then.

    Everything I wrote is true like it or not…know it or not. Look for yourself use and search for what I write about, do your research do not expect our new modern day Pravda – Faux “news” to tell you anything…search for yourself.

    The truth is out there and once you find it out, I suspect you will spend some time vomiting and retching at the toilet, to see who this man really is and I use the term man loosely here, and who you supported.

  12. ethan-p Says:

    Ethan, You are the Biggest Pile of Shit on this Earth!!!

    Woohoo! I always knew that I’d amount to something…but the Biggest Pile of Shit on this Earth? (And capitalized noless, I suppose that it’s an official title.)

    So Robert, how’s the trolling going otherwise?

    How would you Cunts like it if Your Wife, Mother or Family member was Burnt to death or jumped from a Skyscrapper because it was a better option than staying on to be Scolded to death.

    I’ll bite on your troll, just to shut you up on this one. I was living in NYC in the fall of 2001. I had friends in those buildings. I watched the towers burn and fall…it looked like all of Manhattan was on fire — and to this day, I haven’t seen a single picture do any justice to what I saw that morning. The ashes fell in my neighborhood, and I could smell Manhattan burn for three months afterward (also an almost unmistakable smell). Where were you on 9/11/2001? Safe and happy in sunnny Australia? So where do you get the authority to spout off on how we should feel about what happened to our cities? Perhaps you should go tell some Isrealis how they should feel about their leadership, and how they should respond to terrorist attacks…or maybe tell some poor Iraqi who lost her family and limbs how she should feel about the American invasion. I’m sure that they’d all be just as receptive to you as well. It is so abundantly clear that you are no more than a clueless adolescent with some very strong newly found political ideals, and are still trying to work them out. If you want to reach people, perhaps you can have a discussion (or even disagree) without resorting to calling someone a cunt. Otherwise, you are what you are — a little troll.

    –Ethan Pthe Biggest Pile of Shit on this Earth

  13. ethan-p Says:

    Oh, BTW — I still dig the title.

    -the Biggest Pile of Shit on this Earth

  14. Robert Says:

    Hi Ethan,

    I’m kind of Jealous now that you like the Title, anyhow, you having friends there in the buildings should make you understand more than me that there is a need for a retalliation, yes/no?

    I am not an adolecent. Yes I was safe in sunny Australia on sept 11 (Actually 911 “the date” is also your Emergancy Number, thats an odd co-incidence! Maybe they planned it on that day as some kind of sick irony) but when I saw the news, I wasn’t so happy, it was Bogus.

  15. Sven Says:

    So, Robert: retaliation against Osama Bin Ladin, or Iraq? How many Iraqis do you believe hijacked the planes that attacked us on 9/11?

  16. ethan-p Says:

    anyhow, you having friends there in the buildings should make you understand more than me that there is a need for a retalliation, yes/no?

    At first, I sat out and watched the fires and wanted blood. Someone had to pay. After a few nights rest, I realized that my country was like the biggest hornets nest on the planet that some kid chucked a really big rock at. My concern was that the hornets would lash out at anyone who happened to be standing around at the moment. My concern shifted from blood to whether or not my nation would take a mesaured approach to this — after all, they are killing in my name, shouldn’t I have an emotional attachment to it? I have to accept my part of the responsibility for this whole thing too.

    Personally, I just don’t make the link between what happened that day and Iraq.

    Part of my problem with American intervention is that violence doesn’t transcend violence. Cultrually, middle eastern Muslims have a significantly different sense of timing and appetite for revenge then westerners have. Their take is that if they don’t get us, their grandchildren will. My fellow Americans tend to have a short memory for this stuff. We will lob bombs, overthrow a government and walk away without concern for the consequences. A perfect example is Afghanistan, when we were providing the Mujadeen with assistance to fight the Russian invasion/occupation off. When the Russians split, our support left with it. Out of those ashes (and a need for government), the Taliban rose to power. This was the end of the American government’s friendship with and support for Osama Bin Laden. We had to go back in and clean up the mess that the Reagan administration left.

    I am concerned because the Middle East has a long history of failures every time a western country has ever put their hands on it. There are vast cultural differences, and as far as I can tell, every occupation has failed. Sure, the occupations are better than another ottoman empire, but they’re failures nonetheless.

    Here’s the thing: The western approach to modern warfare has been scaled back. We do not practice total war, we are not genocidal, and we do not burn entire villages down anymore (on purpose). In order to conquer a people, many of those people must die, and the conquering nation must be willing to wipe people out. I am not willing to do this, and my country is not willing to do this. Where does this leave us? It leaves us with a bunch of pissed off people who will do whatever is necessary to be a thorn in the side of the US government (in modern terms, that means an insurgency followed by terrorist actions). It’s in their homeland, so we can’t just wait them out there. The Isrealis haven’t been able to wait for the displaced Palestinians to just ‘chill out and get over it’. Are we going to be able to just wait for the Baathists and Sunnis to just get over it? I doubt it.

    The reason I dislike our leadership so much is not the fact that we went into Iraq (although I do feel that the ends here do not justify the means). It’s the fact that they went in knowing all about the western history in the middle east, and simply didn’t have any contingency plans. Our leadership literally laughed at the idea that of an insurgency. Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz guaranteed that the Iraqi people would throw roses at our feet. Well…it’s been a year since Bush declared a victory, but where are the roses? More Americans have died after the war ended than died during major combat operations. I don’t know about you, but I have friends who fought in Iraq during ‘major combat operations’, and I have friends who are there now — what are they putting their life on the line for? I can’t give a definitive answer — the WMD turned out to be bullshit. The Bush administration changed their tune right away to liberating the Iraqi people. Who made it my job to liberate people? Did they ask for liberation? Is that what the Bush administration was really after, or was that just a bunch of bullshit?

    Anyway, I need to point out something before I sign off…Dissent is part of the American way. If we didn’t question our leadership, we wouldn’t be very good Americans. Here’s my problem: we have a leadership that discourages dissent (or even questioning). They are secretive, evasive, and have taken great steps to make themselves unaccountable for their actions. People who voted for Bush already implicitly trust him. I didn’t, and his actions and lack of accountability have done absolutely nothing to gain my trust. Furthermore, in the case of Iraq, with whatever (arguable) success that we’ve had — I still don’t think that the ends justify the means. I would prefer to have a country that didn’t start wars. Although I understand the need for defense, I would much rather end a war than start one. We started this war…and I find that unacceptable.

    -Ethan P, tBPoSotE

  17. Rise Against Says:

    Dr. Robert – The fact that you are still tying 9/11 to Iraq confirms my suspicions that you’re unable to seek out the truth. To quote a kick-ass MP from the UK speaking to the US senate the other day…

    “I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims, did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11, 2001,” he told Coleman.

    “Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong. And 100,000 people have paid with their lives — 1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies, 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever, on a pack of lies.”

    He added: “Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported.”


  18. Robert Says:

    Hi Ethan,

    The Mess, the Reagan addministration left? he may have made a few mistakes as most Humans do, but he practically healed relations with Russia and helped to de-arm some Nuclear weapons and probably prevented WWIII.

    Hey, if the people of Iraq are so Fu*#ing ungrateful and don’t throw flowers then that’s not our fault, it’s just them being “ungreats”.

    As you stated to which I agree with “Occupations are BETTER than another ottoman empire” !!!!! quote, un quote.

    Also you Don’t know for 100% certain that there where no Weapons of Massive Destruction” !!!!! Your only hoping that.
    Did they ask for liberation????????? DID THEY ASK FOR LIBERATION????????? Is the Pope a Catholic? Did Europe ask to be freed from the Grip of the short lived 1000 year Reich?
    Of course, who would want to live under a Tyrant like Saddam?

    Hey, more American people voted in favour of George Bush than against, your just going to live with it Mr.

    Hi there “Rise Against”

    So you heard that a “KICK-ASS” MP (No less) from the U.K. told the U.S. Senate that…..

    *Iraq had no WMD. …..How the F*@# does he no that, has he gone looking for them, I still have not read or heard of any 100% proof that there wern’t any.

    *Iraq had no connection with al Qaeda…..Are you people that Fucking Dense to Believe this Audiable effluent ?

    *Iraq = no connection with 911. HA…….Saddam and Osama are Bum Chums !!!!!!!

    No crimes seen here, only narrow minded people trying to prevent the flow of justice, Your Children might be next guys!!

  19. jbc Says:

    Actually, Robert, I think every one of those assertions by Galloway is almost certainly true. All of them are at least the positions that the large preponderance of available evidence points to.

    And no, statements by demonstrated liars in the right-wing media don’t count as “evidence.”

    You’re welcome to continue to conduct yourself like some kind of gum-chewing cheerleader rooting for your “side” regardless of the facts, but at some point people who are interested in making a rational assessment of where the truth lies are going to tune you out. That’s pretty much where I am with respect to your statements at this point.

  20. Robert Says:

    Jbc, you said………….”I THINK” …..I THINK every one of those “ASSERTIONS”……ASSERTIONS by galloway is “ALMOST”………ALMOST certainly true.

    See, the true fact of the matter is that you can not say with 100% positivity that they are, there are very few people who will really know this, and that is the people directly involved and GOD.

    How would you like it if your wife/partner and children were in the towers and got their skull cracked open by the crumbling debis and their brains spewing out???

    Iraq were in with Osama up to their FUCKING Neck, you Fucking arrogant terrorist Lover!!!!!

  21. jbc Says:

    Like the old saying says, “opinions are like assholes; everyone has one.”

    You’ve already said that you believe bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were collaborating with each other. Now you’ve said it again. What you haven’t done is to offer any actual evidence for that. I’d be willing to bet you don’t have any actual evidence, because I’m interested in this question and have spent a fair amount of time reviewing various public figures’ assertions for and against such a connection. In all that reviewing, no significant evidence has emerged. The evidence that _has_ been offered by those promoting a bin Laden/Hussein connection has all turned out, on closer inspection, not to be indicative of that at all.

    So, let’s look at what we’ve got here: We’ve got one foul-mouthed commenter, who betrays no significant understanding of the issues and provides no evidence to support his position, loudly asserting that something is true. On the other side, we have lots of evidence, from multiple sources, all of it tending to support the opposite position.

    Gee; I wonder which one I’m going to believe?

    We all realize what your position is. Merely restating it with a lot of fourth-grader cussing thrown in doesn’t make it any stronger. All you’re demonstrating at this point is that you consistently ignore polite requests that you offer supporting evidence. I’m forced to conclude that you’re not offering that evidence because you don’t have any. Why would you believe so strongly in something without having any evidence?

    You’ve hinted a couple of times that you had relatives who died on 9/11. Given your willingness to bullshit about everything else you’ve said, and given your uncharacteristic coyness about making the assertion, I’m betting that isn’t true, either.

    You’re a pathetic whiner, Robert. Come back to the discussion when you’ve grown up a little. For now, I’m done paying attention to you.

  22. Robert Says:


    You reckon I hinted that I had relatives in the Collapse of the Trade towers. Well that shows how much people like you will try to see things that are not there!!! I did not know anybody in the Buildings. You are of the same type of people who read things into the Beatles lyrics and thought Paul was Dead.

    Well, to answer your Question, I have not done a scrap of Research Re: the relationship between Osama and Saddam, so that is correct I don’t have any Cold Hard facts, but I don’t need any, because it is common knowledge that these People are Just Saddists who want to Kill and Kill Americans , English etc… etc….

    These people that you have Garnerd your “so called” facts from, what makes you think that they are telling the Truth? Again you CAN’T Say with 100% certainty that they are truthful. For all you know they could even have some hidden agender for all this watering down of the Terrorists, Trying to make people Feel sorrry for them, to Generate Sympathy for the Reballion!!!

    You said Opinions are like Arse holes, well what the heck are all your replys to me? Are they not Your Opinions?????

    You think your really Smug and Sophisticated with your Trite little remarks such as …. “Fourth gradder cussing” It is You who are the One who has a Willingness to Bullshit !!! as Your evidense comes from those with hidden agenders !!!

    I am not a whiner, I’m just so sick to death hearing from people like you who just want to go against the grain, to try and discredit the Good president that you have, by not supporting your fellow Americans, by showing absolutely no sign of pride in Your Own Country. I agree I should not have used harse language at you before, for you Know Not what you Do !!! I actually fell Very Very Sorry for you, you a really are very confused and need some serious help, before you hurt some one, like your wife or children, I will pray for you, as I don’t like to see Anybody turning into a demented stae of being, sorry you have the Twisted beliefs you do, little old man.

    Get some rest, take a Holiday, try medication, just get help Please!!!!!!!!!!

    All the Best…….Dr. Robert

  23. Rise Against Says:

    I would like to reiterate what John said, Robert. If you don’t have any supporting evidence to back up your claims, then piss-off. I come here to debate issues, not to argue with 4th graders.


  24. Robert Says:

    Rise, Go to Hell you Slimy piece of Cat piss

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