February 03, 2006

The 'Mother of All Downing Street Memos' Nonsense (Updated)

The tin-foil brigades are at it again. This time with a Downing Street memo which is supposedly "bigger, longer, and uncut". In fact, this one is another non-starter for the conspiracists who would like to believe that George Bush and Tony Blair are the modern incarnations of evil.

To the conspiracy theorists all absence of evidence is evidence of kabal and silence is nothing more than cover up. Thus, the conspiracist is left grasping at straws and then calling such straws evidence--or worse, proof.

So, what is in this "mother of all Downing Street memos" which David Corn believes is evidence that Bush and Blair are "conspiring to create a modern-day version of the sinking of the Maine"? Yes, Corn actually uses the word conspiring--you know, as in "to be involved in a conspiracy", Here is the Channel4 'exlusive':

President Bush to Tony Blair: "The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach"
Corn calls this the equivalent of the sinking of the Maine, which is telling since he seems to believe that was a 'conspiracy' as well.

But, what exactly is the big deal here? The fact of the matter is that Saddam Hussein was doing this on a nearly daily basis already! With or without the Bush-Blair conspiracy, Iraqi forces fired on U.S. and British planes patrolling the no-fly zone thousands of times before U.S. troops ever invaded Iraq.

How does one conspire to create an incident that is already happening on nearly a daily basis? Is Corn and the American Left acually so ignorant as to have not read the hundreds of press reports of Iraqi forces firing on Coalition airplanes for years and years before the invasion?

Saddam had been in breach for a dozen years, the majority of which were under the Clinton administration. Was Bill Clinton somehow involved in this conspiracy too?

Corn seems to rest his hopes on that single point. But there is more in what he calls 'the mother of all Downing Street' memos:

Bush: "It was also possible that a defector could be brought out who would give a public presentation about Saddam's WMD, and there was also a small possibility that Saddam would be assassinated."
I'm not sure which part is more not shocking. An Iraqi defector had come forward and presented his case about WMD. It was during the Clinton Administration. It turned out that defector's information was accurate. Despite intelligence that claimed Iraq had no WMD, it turned out that the intelligence was wrong. Iraq did have an active WMD program despite what the CIA was saying. That defector was Saddam Hussein's son-in-law and it was the Clinton Administration's intelligence community that had the WMD prediction wrong. But I'm sure that was part of the conspiracy, right?

So, what is the big deal about wanting an Iraqi to talk publicly about Iraq's WMD program? It had been done before and used as pretext to invade Iraq's sovereignty before.

Assassinate Hussein? File under: mother of all not-shocking ideas.

What else is so 'shocking' in the papers?

Blair: "A second Security Council Resolution resolution would provide an insurance policy against the unexpected and international cover, including with the Arabs. "
That's not a revelation, that's just history. News flash: Bush and Blair wished U.N. would back invasion! Don't want Arabs pissed!
Bush: "The US would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would 'twist arms' and 'even threaten'. But he had to say that if ultimately we failed, military action would follow anyway.''
News Flash: U.S. believes it does not need U.N. backing to use military force to protect its perceived vital national security interests! How shocking is that. I seem to recall that John Kerry had the same position, before he didn't.
Blair responds that he is: "solidly with the President and ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam."
Er, and this is significant because??
Bush told Blair he: "thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups."
Okay, so Bush was wrong. Being wrong doesn't make one part of a conspiracy.

The conspiracy minded doesn't stop there. People like Corn were convinced there was a conpiracy long before the Downing Street Memo. The DSM was used as 'evidence' that their preconceived notions were correct. So this 'evidence' simply corraborates what they already believe. Just like moon landing nuts who believe that a photo which shows a shadow where they don't think it should be is 'proof' of the conspiracy, Corn and the far Left believe any statements from Bush or Blair that they were planning for war before they had publicly stated that they had made up their minds is 'proof' of a neo-Imperialist agenda.

But it gets worse. While rational people will see these statements as ambigious at worst and innocuous and obvious at best, people like Corn think the smoking gun has been found. They are so convinced that they know 'objective reality' as it really is, that any disregard for the memo is simply to deny the obvious. Hence, when the media doesn't pick up on the story Corn and the Left believe the media is part of the conspiracy too! Corn:

Will members of the press corps at 1600 Pennsylvania press the point? This revelation--which is more shocking than anything in the Downing Street Memos--should be major news here. But will it?
Zebra, meet stripes.

Hat tip: payer of bills.


The new smoking gun reveals a flagrant violation of international law. Waging war under such circumstances constitutes a breach of the Nuremberg and Geneva codes and the UN Charter, which legitimize such action only in clear and present danger situations involving self-defense.

The Political Pit Bull has an excellent analysis of this shocking new memo, too.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:08 AM | Comments |