Thursday, June 16, 2005

Michael Smith

Washington Post deserves kudos for hosting Sunday Times of London (why does Rupert Murdoch hate America?) reporter Michael Smith:
Michael Smith: Firstly, I think the leaks were regarded as politically motivated. Secondly there was a feeling of well we said that way back when. Then of course as the pressure mounted from the outside, there was a defensive attitude. "We have said this before, if you the reader didn't listen well what can we do", seemed to be the attitude. I dont know if you have this expression over there, but we say someone "wants to have their cake and eat it". That's what that response reeks of. Either it was politically motivated and therefore not true or it was published before by the US newspapers and was true, it cant be both can it?

The attitude they have taken is just flat wrong, to borrow an expression from the White House spokesman on the Downing St Memo.

It is one thing for the New York Times or the Washington Post to say that we were being told that the intelligence was being fixed by sources inside the CIA or Pentagon or the NSC and quite another to have documentary confirmation in the form of the minutes of a key meeting with the Prime Minister's office. Think of it this way, all the key players were there. This was the equivalent of an NSC meeting, with the President, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condi Rice, George Tenet, and Tommy Franks all there. They say the evidence against Saddam Hussein is thin, the Brits think regime change is illegal under international law so we are going to have to go to the UN to get an ultimatum, not as a way of averting war but as an excuse to make the war legal, and oh by the way we arent preparing for what happens after and no-one has the faintest idea what Iraq will be like after a war. Not reportable, are you kidding me?

And, on all the language wankers:

Michael Smith: There are number of people asking about fixed and its meaning. This is a real joke. I do not know anyone in the UK who took it to mean anything other than fixed as in fixed a race, fixed an election, fixed the intelligence. If you fix something, you make it the way you want it. The intelligence was fixed and as for the reports that said this was one British official. Pleeeaaassee! This was the head of MI6. How much authority do you want the man to have? He has just been to Washington, he has just talked to George Tenet. He said the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. That translates in clearer terms as the intelligence was being cooked to match what the administration wanted it to say to justify invading Iraq. Fixed means the same here as it does there. More leaks? I do hope so and the more Blair and Bush lie to try to get themselves off the hook the more likely it is that we will get more leaks.

I'm not all the way through yet, but as the kids say read the whole thing. The entire country should read the whole thing.