Cultural Revolutions

Downing Street Memo

The Downing Street Memo, a British-government document on Iraq leaked in May to the Sunday Times, may be as close as the American public will get to a “smoking gun” implicating the Bush White House in manipulating this country into war.  A July 23, 2002, memo (actually, the minutes of a British cabinet meeting) written by Matthew Rycroft, a Downing Street foreign-policy aide, appears to confirm what Chronicles maintained even before the ill-fated imperial adventure in Mesopotamia: The Bush White House desired a war with Iraq and was willing to twist, distort, even fabricate “evidence” to justify an invasion.  And neither the White House nor Downing Street has denied the authenticity of the memo.

The key paragraph in the particularly infamous memo (one of a number of documents leaked to British journalist Michael Smith) reports on the impressions of “C” (Richard Dearlove, then head of MI6, the British intelligence service) after a visit to Washington.  According to “C,” the White House viewed military action against Iraq as “inevitable.”  President Bush “wanted to remove Saddam through military action” and to use the “conjunction of terrorism” and weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) to justify war.  The White House was so intent on war that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the...

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