Friday, May 20, 2005

Susie Madrak points us to a BBC article about the hidden costs of war that our troops start paying after they come home -- and often never finish paying.

I'm glad next week's forum on media bias being held by a group of House members is going to include discussion about the almost complete blackout on covering the Downing Street memo. Via Think Progress by way of Kevin Drum.

Kevin also asks why, if U.S. interrogators never did flush the Koran down a toilet at Guantanamo, those two Defense Department officials contacted by Newsweek were unwilling to say so.

The news from Iraq is getting worse, like you didn't know that. Number of car bombings in all of 2004: 25. Number of car bombings in the past month: 21.

Juan Cole's article about the Downing Street memo and the history of the Bush administration's plans to invade Iraq is online at Salon. The article, titled "The Lies That Led to War," is very detailed and specific about Pres. Bush's determination to "take out" Saddam Hussein. The most salient points, to my mind, are these: First, Bush made a personal decision to invade Iraq not only long before 9/11, but long before he was president, and even before he was an official candidate for president. Second, in the aftermath of 9/11, Bush wanted to invade Iraq even before Afghanistan, and came very close to doing so. The major reason he did not invade Iraq first was Tony Blair. Blair was terrified that the U.S. was going to abandon England to the threat of an Al Qaeda attack launched from Afghanistan, and essentially made a deal with Bush that if Bush would invade Afghanistan and take care of the Taliban first, Blair would support Bush on a subsequent war against Iraq. Blair also persuaded Bush to go to the United Nations and request a return of the weapons inspectors to Iraq before invading. Bush never wanted to do this, and both Cheney and Rumsfeld were strongly opposed to doing it. But Blair had to worry about legal consequences from the International Criminal Court, of which England is a member, if Blair involved his country in an illegal war of aggression. So when Bush supporters and the Bush administration itself say that the president made every effort to prevent war through diplomatic means, they have it exactly backward: The move to send weapons inspectors back into Iraq was a total ploy, a way of putting a veneer of legitimacy on a war Bush had every intention of going ahead with anyway.

Cole's article is long, and if you don't have Salon Premium you'll have to sit through an ad. Read it anyway. The ad is short; if you get up and stretch, it'll be over. "The Lies That Led to War" will stay with you much longer than that.

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