Opinions on Shape of Earth Differ
Notes: URAP Project 3: Fall 2005: Analyzing the Cyclical State of the Labor Market

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Ostrich Edition)

The Downing Street Memo say:

The secret Downing Street memo - Sunday Times - Times Online: [Britain's equivalent of the CIA Director] reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. 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. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action....

In spite of this there are many who claim that we don't *know* that Bush had decided on war with Iraq in the summer of 2002. For example, Michael Kinsley says that when Britain's intelligence head holds "talks" in Washington he does not talk to "actual administration decision makers," but instead merely learns the conventional wisdom of the chattering classes:

TomDispatch - Tomgram: Kinsley: ...the document... basically says that the conventional wisdom in Washington in July 2002 was that Bush had made up his mind and war was certain. "What," Danner asks, "could be said to establish 'truth' -- to 'prove it'?" I suggested in the column that it would have been nice if the memo had made clear that the people saying facts were fixed and war was certain were actual administration decision-makers...

Well, how about then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott? Is he an "actual decision maker"? He certainly believes that George W. Bush had decided to use military force to overthrow Saddam Hussein as of the fall of 2001:

Trent Lott: [B]eginning in August [2001] and into the fall--in fact, beginning not too long after 9/11--as we had leadership meetings at breakfast with the president... it was clear to me that he thought Iraq was a destabilizing force, was a danger and a growing danger, and that we were going to have to deal with that problem... he felt like we were going to have to deal with the problem before some of the diplomatic efforts occurred, and I don't mean that critically...