Today's London Times runs a major article by Tony Allen-Mills and Tom Pattinson covering our letter signed by 89 Representatives to Bush. Although we are -- thanks to your help -- seeing somewhat of an uptick in coverage in the U.S., I continue to be amazed that the foreign press is willing to be so much more aggressive on this front than the U.S. press is.But slowly the U.S. press has begining to pick up the story. The important thing is to keep the story alive and perculating. I think the U.S. media is well aware of this issue, but - as Republican Trolls on Conyersblog posts have alluded - they're simply afraid of get Dan RatherED and NewsweekED on this story! The Repubs have done a masterful job of completely undermining the credibility of *all* media that doesn't tow the right-wing line.
However, this wasn't the first smoking-gun on Bush's Secret Iraq policy. The shot was fired by former Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neill.
“From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” says O’Neill, who adds that going after Saddam was topic "A" 10 days after the inauguration - eight months before Sept. 11.So is this second hand hearsay - as the naysayers would claim about the Downing Street Memo - or is it direct documentation by someone who was there in the room, as key decisions were being made?
“From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime,” says Suskind. “Day one, these things were laid and sealed.”
As treasury secretary, O'Neill was a permanent member of the National Security Council. He says in the book he was surprised at the meeting that questions such as "Why Saddam?" and "Why now?" were never asked.
"It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this,’" says O’Neill. “For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap.”
The second shot was fired by former Counter-Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke who - during the 9/11 hearings -pointed out how he Bush Administration was near criminally negligent in ignoring the threat of Al-Qaeda, and almost immediately began to blame Iraq for the attack - despite all available evidence. "They wanted to believe there was a connection," he said.
Third, you have UN Weapons inspector Scott Ritter who:
...first went public in 1999 with claims that the US had used the supposedly neutral inspection teams to spy on Saddam's regime, including planting surveillance devices. Continuing to campaign against military intervention, he said in August 2002 that Iraq's weapons programs had been eliminated and it posed no threat. His claim that the British Secret Service was planning a disinformation campaign against Iraq in the late 1990s was investigated by the Blair Government's Butler inquiry into pre-war intelligence and found to be true. Earlier this year, Ritter wrote in The Age that the invasion of Iraq was "a crime of gigantic proportions".The fact is that the Downing Street Memo is just confirmation of all the above. It's amazing the not one member of the MSM has managed to write a story - or even ask a pointed question of the Bush Administration that connects all the above dots, but then again - fear is a powerful force.
Even with all this in mind, I believe Democrats simply have to keep focused. The short-term goal isn't to "Get Bush" now -- the short-term goal is to be able to use all these facts to hammer the Republicans during the 06 elections and regain control of Congress. Once that's done, and a serious investigation can be done using subpeona power, I'm certain many more "smoking gun" documents will turn up-- and with luck, lead to either an indictment and/or impeachment of the current Liar in Chief. Bush himself isn't truly the enemy, Far Right-Wing ideology is - and that is what needs to be crushed from existence.
First things first people - first things first.