Morning Report 5/28/05
Downing Street Memo: Coverup Then, Coverup Now
April showers in Britain produced bloomin' nothin' over here
Almost as scandalous as the searing evidence that the Cheney and Blair regimes decided in early 2002 to invade Iraq without justification and then cook up the justification later is the U.S. press's reaction.
Don't blame the government this time for the press's coverup.
Considering the global, electronic reach of the media, there's no excuse. And I have to say that I told you so.
Sparking my frustration is an e-mail that reader Richard Agler sent me on May 18, as news of the "Downing Street Memo"—and lamentations about why it was ignored over here—finally started circulating in the U.S. press.
More has been written in the U.S. about whether the memo should have been written about than about the contents and implications of the friggin' memo itself.
Anyway, Agler wrote me:
- So where is your coverage of the Downing Street memo???
Thanks for writing, Richard, and bless your heart for reading, but don't blame me. I first wrote about it on April 30 in this Bush Beat item: "Bush, Blair Decided in '02 to Invade Iraq and Worry About Justification Later, Say Brit Papers":
A British government memo from '02 indicates that the Bush regime got Tony Blair to go along in July of that year with a plan to invade Iraq and then build the "intelligence and facts" to justify the decision, British newspapers are reporting tonight.
The bombshell memo, leaked to The Sunday Times (U.K.), was written a few weeks after Prime Minister Tony Blair traveled to George W. Bush's Crawford ranch for what the papers described as basically a "council of war" between the dumbass POTUS and the bright Brit who should have known better.
And why should Blair have known better? The Independent (U.K.) is also reporting tonight [April 30] that the Foreign Office told Blair even earlier, in March '02, that it had grave reservations about invading Iraq.
If what the papers are saying is true, we're not exactly shocked. But we're in awe of their gall.
That same night, I posted a follow-up piece, "Phony War, Real Deaths: More About the Blockbuster British Memos About Bush-Blair Pre-Invasion Plotting."
The next day, May 1, I wrote another piece, "Runaway Betrayal: How The Bush Regime Cooked Up Its Justifications For War. Read About It In The British Press."
Hey, I'm not taking credit for prying the memos out of 10 Downing. Michael Smith of the Times of London deserves all that credit. And other British reporters worked hard on the story, too. There's far more than just the "Downing Street Memo" in this tale of lying by Cheney and Blair and their minions.
In fact, my colleague Jarrett Murphy, who sits six feet from me in our Lower East Side rabbit warren, didn't ignore the Brits' work. He wrote about a related aspect of pre-war scheming and lying in an April 29 piece, "Blair and Dubya: War and Words," that's well worth reading.
Murphy's clever, but here's something else that's darkly funny: On the weekend that British news people were feverishly writing about these scandalous memos—a case of presidential abuse and lies far worse, and of course far more deadly, than Watergate—Laura Bush strapped it on and gave the Washington press corps a reacharound at the 91st annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner. I wrote about that absurdity at the time, in a May 1 piece, "That Bush is a Real Comedian." ABC News "reported" at the time: "Mrs. Bush Steals Show at Reporters' Dinner".
Good job, ABC and the rest of you. Now what about those stolen lives of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians? Take off your fucking tuxes, celebrity journalists, and get to work.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.