The Downing Street Memo has caused an uproar on the Left. They see it as justification for the impeachment of George W. Bush, and they are absolutely stunned that the whole world doesn't agree with their assessment.
As argued by this author before, however, there just isn't anything that we've learned from the DSM that we really didn't know before. Moreover, there is nothing in the DSM that proves that anyone in the Bush or Blair administration "lied", as we so often hear from the Left. That George Bush wanted to remove Saddam Hussein earlier than he has publicly admitted is not new or news, and certainly is not a "high crime or misdemeanor", the constitutional standard for impeachment. In fact, no one anywhere has ever produced a single shred of evidence that anyone in the Bush administration ever "lied" about anything. For sure, the intelligence on Iraq's WMD's was tragically wrong, but as the Duelfer Report made clear in October of last year, the ouster of Saddam was the right thing to do even if we'd known for sure before the invasion that Iraq had no WMD's.
The key passage of the DSM is this:
"Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD."
The Left views this as proving their contention that Bush wanted to oust Saddam all along, and sought evidence to justify it after the fact with phony intelligence.
Their argument rings hollow for a simple and obvious reason: What is wrong with having an opinion or desire, and then seeking evidence to support that opinion? Isn't that exactly what the Left has done here? They have always viewed Bush as an illegitimate president, and have long sought evidence to back up their view of him. There is nothing at all wrong with that, just as there was nothing wrong with the Bush administration's position on Iraq and their opinion that the "conjunction of terrorism and WMD" was justification enough to remove Saddam. Further, there is nothing wrong with seeking evidence to support that position.
Prior to the war, both Bush and Blair made it clear many times (and here, and here, and here, etc., etc.) that they believed that the threat of Iraq supplying WMD's to terrorists was too great a threat to remain unchallenged, and further, that Iraqi people deserve better than the brutal tyranny of Saddam Hussein and his henchmen. That ultimately no WMD's were found is a very good thing, but the threat of Saddam still in place following sanction still clearly justifies his removal.
If this is the best argument the Left has against Bush, it's time to drop it and 'move on'.
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