Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Downing Street Memo -- For Further Review


(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.

So concludes the Downing Street Memo, filed in July 2002. LINK to the London Times' copy.

But nothing the Downing Street memo contains, not the particulars about a 'rolling start' plan or the view that only Powell thought the UN could work, is a surprise. Unlike what some pundits want you to believe, this memo is no "smoking gun." CS Monitor's headline.

Much of these details were available before the presidential election in Bob Woodward's book, "Plan of Attack". Now, these details look troubling, and they need to be reviewed. But, this is no earth shattering indictment.

The Downing Street Memo can teach us a lesson, though. Debate ought to be public and it needs to be extensive. Lengthy does not necessarily qualify as extensive, but what debate occured before the war was obviously insufficient. There were fine points raised, predicting an insurgency and questioning post-invasion plans.

I am going to begin with one assumption. The situation in Iraq is not going well. I'd barely call that an assumption, because it seems so evident. However, our Vice President would beg to differ. We have units on their third rotation. We've seen an upswing in attacks and the effectiveness of IEDs. There are recruiting problems. Political problems in Iraq. A pourous and problematic border with Syria. And, Syria seems to believe it can act with impunity in Lebanon. Also, linked below, things do not look good for the Marine Corps and the Army supply lines.

This is not a logical proof, but this is hardly 'going well.'

At the very least, we need more debate on this matter. To his credit, Senator Joe Biden, Delaware, appears to push for just that. Washington Post story on his June 21 speech.

Biden's assessment is, and always has been, that the matter is far more grave than the administration will let on. Iraq is far too important for rosy optimism. America needs cold hard facts and recruits. If we lose this war, we will suffer for a long time.


Anonymous walt clyde frazier said...

i agree. also ill be using this name from now on.

1:26 AM  

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