Thank you for responding to this very important matter. The issue here isn't so much the "article" that appeared in the Times of London to which you referred. The issue is the document that was revealed in that article. That document is a memo, a memo that was distributed through the halls of Downing Street. The memo that's in question is the minutes from a meeting that took place on July 23, 2002.[V - Technically speaking the opinion of the NSC, is not exactly the same thing as the opinion of the President and Administration. Clearly different views may concurrently exist as policy is beinging developed and this memo does document many of these differences as viewed through the eyes of Mr. Blair's staff, therefore it could be fairly argued that this was not a lie on Bush's behalf.]
While I understand and appreciate the fact that you weren't in attendance at the meeting in question, citizens of this nation (and that includes you) are lucky enough to now have the minutes from that meeting to reflect upon. This sir, as I'm sure you're well aware, is one of the very reasons minutes are taken during meetings, so that those who are not in attendance can understand what was discussed and stay on top of the issues at hand. I have no doubt that you can appreciate the magnitude of the issues discussed at that meeting, though I'm utterly stunned by the audacity of supporters of this administration, and the denial that is continually shown in the face of evidence.
Now then, let's discuss the facts, as we know them of course.
President Bush told us (the people of America) in a radio address to the nation on March 8, 2003 that "We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force". The minutes from the July 23rd 2002 meeting on Downing Street clearly states "There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD". If military action was seen as inevitable on 7/23/2002 then how can the President tell us that we were doing everything we could to avoid war eight months later? Clearly the President was lying to us.
The minutes from the July 23rd 2002 meeting on Downing Street clearly states "No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections". Eighteen days later, on August 10th the President told us "I think that that presumes there's some kind of imminent war plan. As I said, I have no timetable" . Clearly there WAS a timetable in place at that time.
The minutes from the July 23rd 2002 meeting on Downing Street clearly states "But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy". All along the people of this nation were being told there was "no doubt" that Saddam had weapons in question. On March 17th 2003 as the war was beginning the President told us "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people. The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda". In light of what we now know it's perfectly reasonable to conclude that this entire statement is a complete fabrication.
Also at the beginning of the war (3/17/2003) the President told us "America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe in the mission of the United Nations". The minutes from the July 23rd 2002 meeting on Downing Street clearly dispute this claim as well with the statement "The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record" . Now, how is that trying to work with the U.N.? Clearly we DON'T believe in the mission of the United Nations. So again, this is a clear example of the President LYING to us.
The minutes from the July 23rd 2002 meeting on Downing Street clearly states "Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran". That statement is particularly alarming considering that on October 10th 2002 Ari Fleischer said, "The President has made no decisions about what the next step will be" . In addition, on November 12th 2002 Scott McClellan told us "But the President continues to seek a peaceful resolution. War is a last resort". President Bush himself told us "The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely". Can there honestly be any doubt that these statements, statements made to the American people, were simply bold face lies?[V - Again, to be fair - there was some level of dispute as too the current status of Saddams weapons programs. As it turned out following the Dulfer Report, his programs were essentially destroyed - with the exceptions of a few missles. It's clear following the work of UN weapons inspection team up until their pull-out in 1998, that the subsequent bombing campaign against all potential WMD targets by the Clinton Administration pretty much did the job. Much of the remaining confusion seems to have been generated by expatriate Iraqi's such as "Curveball" and Chalabi who wished use the U.S. and other nations to remove Saddam from power. These individuals told us - lied to us and Britain- saying exactly what we wanted to hear!! It's not entirely fair to say that most nations and most intelligence agencies, except for analysts in the U.S. State Dept, didn't feel that Iraq probably still possessed some WMD capability - they did. "Curveball" helped clear up the doubt.]
Just this week, Condoleeza Rice, while in Iraq said, "This war came to us, not the other way around". With everything we now know this is CLEARLY a lie.
Senator Talent, as more and more information has become available to the American people over the last couple of years, it's become completely obvious that the only people on the face of the earth who (and now I'm quoting you) "believed that Saddam possessed large stockpiles of these weapons…" were the American people, and the ONLY reason we believed that is because we were lied to by our own government. The intelligence didn't fail, the intelligence was dead on accurate, and despite what we knew at that time, this intelligence was fixed around the policy…and the entire world knows this for a fact.
David Kay's testimony that Saddam had "weapons programs" has been disputed since the moment he uttered the words. However, even if it were true, the people of this nation would have never committed our brave men and women to war over "weapons programs" that weren't an immediate threat to the security of this nation. You and I both know that for a fact.Although I think this is an excellent letter, I also think it's crucial that when we demand truth and accuracy from our government, that we set the same high standard to ourselves when criticizing them.
You alluded to the fact that you served in the House throughout the 1990's, that being the case please allow me to remind you of something. As YOU may recall, YOU voted to impeach President Clinton for lying about a blowjob. How much damage did that silly investigation and trial do to our nation? How many taxpayer dollars were wasted digging up that dress? How many members of our intelligence personnel weren't getting us "information from the ground" because they were investigating our President's sex life? More importantly, how many people died, how dangerous was this lie? Mr. Talent, tens of thousands of human beings have lost their lives in this war, a war based on complete and total fabrications. In the build up to this war the Bush administration spent almost a year lying to the world, lying to the American people, and lying to the House to get our last resort voluntary military into a war of choice. Now, two years later…you are still lying to your constituency on this very matter. Are you honestly suggesting to me that this what we've become? How noble.
The acts of this administration are criminal; tens of thousands are dead as a result of lies and manipulated intelligence. Now that we (the citizens of this country, which as I said, includes YOU), and the rest of the world now know this to be true and I implore you to do something about it. Please do something to somehow attempt to restore this nations credibilty and respect in the world by removing this corrupt administration from power. This is not a matter of party affiliation; it's not a question of loyalty to your colleagues. This is a question of loyalty to your countrymen! This entire ordeal, from beginning to end (which is yet to be seen) is an atrocity, a black eye on this nation that may never heal.