14 June 2005

the secret way to predeployment

The Secret Way to War
In the United States, on the other hand, the Downing Street memorandum has attracted little attention. As I write, no American newspaper has published it and few writers have bothered to comment on it. The war continues, and Americans have grown weary of it; few seem much interested now in discussing how it began, and why their country came to fight a war in the cause of destroying weapons that turned out not to exist. For those who want answers, the Bush administration has followed a simple and heretofore largely successful policy: blame the intelligence agencies. Since 'the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy' as early as July 2002 (as 'C,' the head of British intelligence, reported upon his return from Washington), it seems a matter of remarkable hubris, even for this administration, that its officials now explain their misjudgments in going to war by blaming them on 'intelligence failures' — that is, on the intelligence that they themselves politicized. Still, for the most part, Congress has cooperated. Though the Senate Intelligence Committee investigated the failures of the CIA and other agencies before the war, a promised second report that was to take up the administration's political use of intelligence — which is, after all, the critical issue — was postponed until after the 2004 elections, then quietly abandoned.

Meanwhile, the Downng Street memo has led in Australia to zero, zip, nada questions to the prime minister about the point at which Australia joined this charade or was made aware that the intelligence had been fixed. The Man of Steel did go to all the trouble of inventing the word predeploy to explain why Australian forces were all placed in Iraq ready to go as soon as London and Washington declared that the inspections we now know they hadn't wanted and wouldn't accept had failed.

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