“The case was thin…”

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Kevin Drum notes that the American media (in this case Knight-Ridder) has finally decided to report on the July 2002 British memo that emerged just in time for British elections. The memo offers concrete evidence that Bush had been shopping around for an excuse to invade Iraq far before he ever started discussing democracy-building. Note:

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…It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force. The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defense, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorization…Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD.

So there was no confusion on WMDs—this makes it obvious that WMDs were a total excuse—and the memo actually notes other countries that we should be worried about. Not only does the memo acknowledge that there are no legal grounds for invading Iraq, but it makes clear that Bush and Blair had every intent of stretching, no, fabricating, a reason to invade. I’m a big fan of this memo: it does a beautiful job of revealing the devious nature of the fabrication of a justification, while at the same time exposing the underlying stupidity. It’s like Pinky and the Brain. Only it’s Blair and Bush. Regime change is not a sufficient legal base for military action? No kidding. And then, my favorite: “Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD.”

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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