"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 (VIPS) 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—this time authentic, not forged. Whether prompted by the open appeal of the international Truth-Telling Coalition or not, some brave soul has made the most explosive "patriotic leak" of the war by giving London’s Sunday Times the official minutes of a briefing by Richard Dearlove, then head of Britain’s CIA equivalent, MI-6. Fresh back in London from consultations in Washington, Dearlove briefed Prime Minister Blair and his top national security officials on July 23, 2002, on the Bush administration’s plans to make war on Iraq.
Blair does not dispute the authenticity of the document, which immortalizes a discussion that is chillingly amoral. Apparently no one felt free to ask the obvious questions. Or, worse still, the obvious questions did not occur."
And from the memo itself for people who are pressed for time:
"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."
I know this isn’t properly a library-centric topic—or, now that I think on it, mayhap it is. You’ve got all the ingedients of a heavy-duty information drama: blustering politicians, dishonest (or, at best, ignorant and lazy) media types, secret (or "lost") documents, CIA types who talk to each in back-channel conversations who know The Truth and are reluctant to speak out for fear of reprisal. Fellow librarians, this thing reads like a Tom Clancy novel.
Part of the reason that I’m inclined to believe ex-spook Ray McGovern (whence this article came, by way of Tompaine.com and Andrew Tobias’ web site (both of which I read religiously) is because of all the research I’ve done over the years on how the world of spies and spying operates (there’s a lot of great material out there if you are the tiniest bit persistent and know where the better used book stores and their web sites are) shows that most of the the old-timers–real old school Cold Warriors who believed in God, Constitution and country–were prepared to do anything (I mean that literally, as in any thing) to preserve the safety of United States of America, the country and the ideals it was built on (or most of those ideals, there’s some argument about which of them are best, but anyway.) You simply don’t see many of those guys out there working for us like they did back then. Many are retired, and some are just too into their own careers and personal rewards to buck the system. Some honestly don’t know any better. But in the end, those types of folks in that business are now few and far between, and I think their inavailability to us is the entire country’s loss.
Tobias wondered why no mention of this little revelation was found anywhere on the news last night (or this morning, as I scan the headlines). It’s a good thing to wonder.
Remember this, folks: we’re not the Good Guys because of where we were born; we’re the Good Guy because of what we do. And there’s no rule that says the good guys win because they’re good guys. When they win, it’s because they’re better informed, better motivated, better trained, better armed–or just because they’re luckier. We’ve been really lucky for a number of decades–it’s time to wonder whether our luck has started to run out. And time to remember that luck favors those who are properly prepared.
At any rate, as the man on the television says from time to time: are there any more questions?