Does Judith Miller Still Think She Was "Fucking Right"?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Does Judith Miller Still Think She Was "Fucking Right"?

This had better be the biggest news story of the year so far in the U.S. Expect the demonstrators against Dubya's visit here over the weekend to have read the British cabinet memo from July 2002. But will any American reporter have the guts to ask the preznit about it?

Excerpts with my highlighting and comments--most of this speaks for itself:

Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.... [In this paragraph alone, we see the Bushies as: liars; warmongers; arrogant bastards; idiots; and immoral monsters with no consideration of the effect of their actions on millions of people. Pretty pithy, I'd say.]

The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. 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.... [How could we accuse the administration of fomenting fear for partisan gain?]

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that 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. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force. [Note in the first paragraph the US National Security Council's aversion to going through the United Nations or publicly making the intelligence case that Saddam had to go. The Brits apparently felt for legal and political reasons that they couldn't just invade, and needed the pretext of further diplomatic action.]

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change. [Helping the "situation" to change via a new Security Council resolution was apparently precisely what Blair's cabinet aimed to do, thereby creating the justification for a war they had already decided to wage.]

The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush. [In other words, even though Dubya & Co. were gung-ho to attack, Blair had to convince him to go through the diplomatic charade as a sop to U.K. public opinion.]

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