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Consortium Editor’s Note: Even into the sixth year of war in Iraq – even as ex-White House press secretary Scott McClellan admits the deceptions used to justify the invasion – the U.S. news media still averts its eyes from the full ugliness of what happened in 2002-03.
In this story, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes the far greater candor occurring in Australia -- and cites the earlier whistle-blowing by members of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), which he helped found:
Matilda is walzing home from Iraq, and the Australians are lucky but chastened.
Lucky for having lost not one soldier in combat of the 2,000 sent to join the "coalition of the willing" attack on Iraq in March 2003.
Chastened because Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is now pulling no punches in decrying the subservience of his predecessor, John Howard, to Washington.
Announcing the withdrawal of the 550 Australian troops still in Iraq on Monday, Rudd echoed recent charges by former White House spokesman Scott McClellan about the Bush administration’s "shading" of intelligence to "justify" an unnecessary war.
Rudd told Parliament he was most concerned by "the manner in which the decision to go to war was made; the abuse of intelligence information, a failure to disclose to the Australian people the qualified nature of that intelligence"; and the government’s silence on "the pre-war warning that an attack on Iraq would increase the terrorist threat, not decrease it."
"This government does not believe that our alliance with the United States mandates automatic compliance with every element of the United States’ foreign policy."
Stung by Rudd’s candor, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino fell back on the canard that "the entire world" agreed on the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. As President Lyndon Johnson would have put it, That dog won’t hunt.
If all agreed, why then was President George W. Bush unable to secure the approval of the U.N. Security Council, without which an armed attack on another country is illegal under international and U.S. law?
Among "coalition of the willing" leaders not named Bush, only the faith-based former British Prime Minister Tony Blair hangs on pathetically to the notion that "everyone" believed Saddam Hussein had WMD.
This is particularly odd since Blair acknowledges the authenticity of the (in)famous Downing Street Memos. Perhaps his conversion to Catholicism will prompt him to confess that he lied – a reality long beyond dispute.
The Downing Street Truth
As some will recall, Blair sent his intelligence chief off to Washington in summer 2002 to confer with his opposite number, and Bush intimate, CIA Director George Tenet.
In the spring of 2005, a patriotic truth-teller leaked to British media the minutes of a summit meeting of UK national security officials convened on July 23, 2002 at 10 Downing Street. (The minutes, which became known as the Downing Street Memos, were composed that same day by one of those officials and sent to the other participants.)