The Downing Street Memo

Since there seems to be a belief that the Downing Street Memo is a “smoking gun” indicating a conspiracy to manufacture evidence of WMDs in Iraq, I figured I'd give it a read. It all revolves around this paragraph, and in particular one word (which I have highlighted below):

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. 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. 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.

Taking the memo as legitimate, which is always doubtful when presented by a journalist, I wonder what the big deal is. It's pretty clear to me that the term “fixed” is being used in the sense of focused energy. Even so, prominent Democrats (eager to remind everyone that at least they whine about important things and to help others forget that they seldom offer solutions to the problems they whine about) continue to hype the secret memo.

The rest of the memo points out the difficulty of removing Saddam from power, and the political realities of the situation.

Even so, this is hardly the smoking gun people think it is.

A sentence on the second page of the article doesn't say Saddam has no WMDs, only that he had less than others:

Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.


Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD.


For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.

Nowhere in the memo or its conclusions does it say that Iraq had no WMD. Nowhere in the memo or its conclusions does it say intelligence was being fabricated to indicate that Iraq had WMD. Where's the smoking gun?

Josh Poulson

Posted Sunday, Jun 26 2005 12:10 PM

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Come on now. You should know that you can discard 99.9 percent of the DSM and focus on one line if you want to. Heh.

What is very strange is that this memo supposedly is proof of intelligence twisting around politics, but there have already been two investigations into this process and both found no such connection existed. This is simply a case of those who want to cry, complain and attack will do it even if it is fixed around falsehoods (the correct English meaning of fixed).

Chad Evans

Posted Monday, Jun 27 2005 01:04 AM

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