But first . . .


John Padavic: ‘I joined audible.com on your recommendation and would like to recommend one of its latest selections, Freakonomics. Maybe you read the New York Times Magazine article on the connections between Roe v Wade and the decrease in crime in the 90s. Freakonomics is about all kinds of interesting connections.’

☞ Yes! I saw the author with Jon Stewart.


Brent Stapleton: ‘Since the wide-ranging topics on your website have now included hybrid vehicles, why not point your readers to greenhybrid.com? Good objective information not only on the cars themselves, but also how to improve mileage. I particularly recommend this page, which is written for the Honda Civic Hybrid but should improve results on any vehicle.’

☞ One tip from that page: Wind resistance roughly doubles between 55 mph and 70 mph.’ (So I never go more than 55 mph in a 35 mph zone.)

And now . . .


You know MI-6. Mrs. Moneypenny’s outfit. Q’s outfit. James‘s outfit. Shaken, not stirred. Well, it seems the Iraq war was trumped up after all.

Not to say we don’t all hope the Iraqi people will overcome the insurgents and learn to live together in peace. But in case you missed this:

“Intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy.”

Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would see those words in black and white-and beneath a SECRET stamp, no less. For three years now, we in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity have been saying that the CIA and its British counterpart, MI-6, were ordered by their countries’ leaders to “fix facts” to “justify” an unprovoked war on Iraq. More often than not, we have been greeted with stares of incredulity.

It has been a hard learning-that folks tend to believe what they want to believe. As long as our evidence, however abundant and persuasive, remained circumstantial, it could not compel belief. It simply is much easier on the psyche to assent to the White House spin machine blaming the Iraq fiasco on bad intelligence than to entertain the notion that we were sold a bill of goods.

Well, you can forget circumstantial. Thanks to an unauthorized disclosure by a courageous whistleblower, the evidence now leaps from official documents . . . Blair does not dispute the authenticity of the document. . .

The discussion at 10 Downing St. on July 23, 2002 calls to mind the first meeting of George W. Bush’s National Security Council (NSC) on Jan. 30, 2001, at which the president made it clear that toppling Saddam Hussein sat atop his to-do list, according to then-Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil, who was there. O’Neil was taken aback that there was no discussion of why it was necessary to “take out” Saddam. Rather, after CIA Director George Tenet showed a grainy photo of a building in Iraq that he said might be involved in producing chemical or biological agents, the discussion proceeded immediately to which Iraqi targets might be best to bomb. Again, neither O’Neil nor the other participants asked the obvious questions. Another NSC meeting two days later included planning for dividing up Iraq’s oil wealth. . . .

☞ And from the memo itself if you don’t have time to read the whole thing:

C 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.

☞ One wonders two things:

  • How would history be different if then Governor Bush had told the electorate that within days of his Inauguration he would begin planning for war in Iraq? (Instead, his theme was a humble foreign policy.)*
  • Why was there no mention of this memo on last night’s network news?**

* I know, I know – President Gore would have surrendered to Al-Qaeda the way that other Harvard liberal, FDR, surrendered to Hitler or that other Harvard liberal, JFK, surrendered to Khrushchev. But you know what? I don’t buy it. I think President Gore would have taken seriously the CIA threats that Bush ignored – from his very first briefing, January 7, 2001 – and would have killed Bin Laden in time to avert 9/11 . . . or, failing that, would have gone into Afghanistan and killed Bin Laden before diverting 10,000 Special Forces to the Iraqi oil fields.

** I watched both NBC and ABC last night and the night before and neither one mentioned this memo. Much reporting on Paula Abdul, however.


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