Conservatives are loathe to accept the information contained within the Downing Street Memo's brief contents and I don't blame them. It would change things and they would no longer be good conservatives. It's right there in the word, see.
But I am entertained.
Cries of a hoax didn't take and the ho-hum response -- standard in more sophisticated circles -- that "everybody already knew this stuff," was quickly abandoned by all but the frontal lobe challenged.
Two things happened Wednesday, both concerning Tony Blair.
After weeks of question-dodging worthy of The Matrix or a McClellan press conference, Blair finally confirmed the authenticity of the Memo.
In an interview with the Associated Press, also yesterday, Blair whipped out his most indignant tone to tell Americans that we are silly for seeing what we saw and drawing the conclusions that we have. In fact, he's "a bit astonished" that it's received as much attention as it has. (Well there's his first mistake. Go and use a fancy word like "astonished" in public discourse and see where it gets you.)
Blair went on to claim that these infamous words...
"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,"...were the victims of context:
"The trouble with having a political discussion on the basis of things that are leaked is that they are always taken right out of context. Everything else is omitted from the discussion and you end up focusing on a specific document."
Fair enough. I mean, it's easy to see how a little context could change those words. Sure.
Of course, some other context might be that another leaked memo dated March 14, 2002 (a full year before the war began), this time from Blair's Foreign Affairs Adviser noted that: "It is clear that Bush is grateful for your support... I said that you would not budge in your support for Regime Change."
More context? How about Bush's little yippy-ki-yay a little over a week later (still a year before the war started) reported by Time magazine. While meeting with three senators and Condi, Bush offered this restrained policy analysis: "Fuck Saddam...WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re taking him out."
Regardless, many will seek comfort in their shrink-wrapped ideology. I intend to help. Below, I've provided a couple of context suggestions for those interested in not believing their eyes (by all means please leave your own):
- Blair: "I'm bloody hungry. Be a lamb and grab me a Powerbar before I'm totally knackered. Hey, wouldn't it be funny if 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? WHOA! Who's silly without their afternoon snack? Not me, that's for sure."
- Blair: "Last night I had a crazy dream -- hey, I loved that song! [turns to minute-taker, Matthew Rycroft] Be a mensch and put that onto my iPod old boy. Anyway, in my dream 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. A bit looper, eh? I mean, considering the fact that Bush is approaching this grave decision with complete openness and all. Now let's get on with this completely hypothetical meeting, yeah?"