Friday, February 03, 2006

Apparently it's big news that Bush and Blair decided to go to war months before the invasion

I don't really get why this is such a big deal...

There are reports out of Britain today about another memo that purportedly shows British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush decided to go to war with Iraq earlier than they've admitted. The topic is the No. 1 news search on Technorati. The buzz is reminiscent of last summer's frenzy over the "Downing Street memo."

Here's what's happening:

Late Thursday, The Guardian and Britain's Channel 4 broke the news:

- The Guardian said "Tony Blair told President George Bush that he was 'solidly' behind U.S. plans to invade Iraq before he sought advice about the invasion's legality and despite the absence of a second UN resolution, according to a new account of the build-up to the war."

The newspaper's source: "a new edition of Lawless World, by Phillipe Sands, a QC and professor of international law at University College, London. Professor Sands last year exposed the doubts shared by Foreign Office lawyers about the legality of the invasion in disclosures which eventually forced the prime minister to publish the full legal advice given to him by the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith."

Sands, The Guardian reported, had obtained "a memo of a two-hour meeting between the two leaders at the White House on January 31 2003 - nearly two months before the invasion." According to Sands, the newspaper wrote, the memo "reveals that Mr. Bush made it clear the U.S. intended to invade whether or not there was a second U.N. resolution and even if U.N. inspectors found no evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons programme."

So what? The US intended to invade whether or not there was a second UN resolution. What's that point out? It points out that there was a first resolution. What was done about the first resolution? Nothing. In fact Saddam was in violation of 17 different UN resolutions since the end of hostilities from the first gulf war. After 9/11 and after the extremely successful war to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan, the US and the "Cowboy President" were done with the "all talk, no action" crowd.

So what do we do? Have the UN send in more inspectors, while Saddam plays a dangerous shell game with them, let that go on for months, maybe years, and would be perhaps inconclusive in the end? We were done with that game. Clinton had played it his entire presidency with Saddam... no fly violation here, shot at plane there, single missile strike here... What did that yield? Nothing.

So Bush decided to get the UN support but had the back up plan just in case the UN decided to drag their feet... again. And with more evidence coming forward that Saddam moved his weapons to Syria before the war makes you ask what would we have found if we didn't waste all that time with the UN? Saddam knew we were going to come for him this time. He knew Bush wasn't bluffing action, as Clinton and the UN had bluffed action for eight years. Why else would he ship out weapons? He knew we were going to come after them. I actually find it comforting to know thatBush and Blair were committed to justice regardless of what the UN said.