The Real News in the Downing Memos

Michael (London) Smith tries to "clarify" his take on the DoWnInG MeMoS.

Smith tries to draw our attention to the "real" bomb-shell that the memos reveal:


"But another part of the memo is arguably more important. It quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the U.S. had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." This we now realize was Plan B.

Put simply, U.S. aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone were dropping a lot more bombs in the hope of provoking a reaction that would give the allies an excuse to carry out a full-scale bombing campaign, an air war, the first stage of the conflict.

British government figures for the number of bombs dropped on southern Iraq in 2002 show that although virtually none were used in March and April, an average of 10 tons a month were dropped between May and August.

But these initial "spikes of activity" didn't have the desired effect. The Iraqis didn't retaliate. They didn't provide the excuse Bush and Blair needed. So at the end of August, the allies dramatically intensified the bombing into what was effectively the initial air war.

The number of bombs dropped on southern Iraq by allied aircraft shot up to 54.6 tons in September alone, with the increased rates continuing into 2003.

In other words, Bush and Blair began their war not in March 2003, as everyone believed, but at the end of August 2002, six weeks before Congress approved military action against Iraq.

The way in which the intelligence was "fixed" to justify war is old news.

The real news is the shady April 2002 deal to go to war, the cynical use of the U.N. to provide an excuse, and the secret, illegal air war without the backing of Congress."

Ok, how should I put this .....Yeah that's the word - "Bullshit!"

Mr. Smith makes it sound like Bush and Blair "cooked" the whole "Get Saddam" thing on their own. But that is patently false and misleading. Mr. Smith is injecting his bias here without properly researching his facts.

To help him out, let's little truth going here:

LISA HOFFMAN in Trajectory of a crisis writes:

"Was there a devious White House decision, even before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, to concoct a rationale for ousting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who had bedeviled America since the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War and who had plotted to assassinate President George H.W. Bush?

If there was, it was hardly necessary. While it was the first for the George W. Bush administration, the 2002 military buildup was at least the fifth time the United States had massed fighting forces and materiel to confront Iraq since the end of Operation Desert Storm. Each time, the use of force was under full contemplation and, in several cases, used.

In President Bill Clinton's two terms alone, there were three such major mobilizations. Two came in response to Saddam's obstruction of international weapons inspectors. Hoisting a 5-pound bag of sugar to dramatize the amount of anthrax Saddam's regime was believed to have, then-Defense Secretary William Cohen traveled to Capitol Hill and TV news studios warning Saddam to relent - or else possibly face pre-emptive attack.

The last buildup - which in January 1999 brought U.S. forces in the Gulf to seven times their normal level and cost taxpayers more than $1 billion - was the Clinton administration's response to escalating Iraqi military provocations against American warplanes patrolling the "no-fly" zones over northern and southern Iraq.

It didn't work. In the first seven months of 1999 alone, U.S. pilots reported they had faced Iraqi antiaircraft artillery fire from Iraqi ground forces 91 times, had been targeted by enemy radar in preparation for attack another 54 times and had been shot at by surface-to-air missiles 24 times.

Saddam's response to U.S. demands that he cease? The strongman merely upped the reward he was offering to any Iraqi soldier who could bag a U.S. warplane and pilot."

Unless Congress was asleep for the last eleven years, it is doubtful they didn't have a clue what was coming. You didn't need memos to see that Saddam's days were numbered.

For eleven years Saddam continually spit in the face of any efforts at diplomacy all while taking pop-shots at our planes. The effort to get him to "jump" didn't start with George W. Bush, but he damn sure finished the job.

It is doubtful that Congress was in the dark about anything.

More and more I seeing the "seething hate" in Mr. Smith's and it tells me volumns about the motives behind his reporting.


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