A memo published earlier this month by the British press has revealed that President Bush firmly decided to invade Iraq as early as July of 2002. The memo, consisting of the minutes of a meeting in British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office on July 23, 2002, reveals the attitudes of both the British and United States governments. A portion of the memo recounts meetings with the United States during which “it seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action” and that such action was “inevitable.” Moreover, the memo states that intelligence was to be “fixed” around policy.
Interestingly, Tony Blair and his advisors realized that there was no legal justification for the war, hence the reason to go to the United Nations despite the opposition of the Bush administration. For Britain, United Nations approval was needed and it was Tony Blair who suggested that an inspection regime be created and an ultimatum to disarm be given to Saddam Hussein. The idea was that once Hussein failed to meet it, the United States and Britain would have legal justification for the war. Subsequent articles from independent sources have revealed that the invasion of Iraq was illegal under international law, despite Britain’s efforts to secure a legal justification.
Mark Danner of The New York Review of Books has put together a lengthy article chronicling the “secret way to war” in light of the new information in the Downing Street memo. Despite the importance of this memo, it has received little attention in the corporate press, as documented by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. Although the Washington Post has now published an article about the memo, it was buried within its front-page section on page A18. Regrettably, it is not surprising that the corporate press has failed to cover the memo. The corporate press was complicit in the administration’s effort to “sell” the war to the people of the United States, generally reporting the claims of the Bush administration without questioning them.