Monday, June 6


Ken Mehlman on MTP speaking about the Downing Street memo (scroll about halfway down):

MR. RUSSERT:  Let me turn to the now-famous Downing Street memo...This is July of 2002.  We didn't invade until March of 2003.  And the prime minister of Great Britain is being told by the head of his intelligence that he went to Washington and believes that a decision had already been made and that the administration was fixing or manipulating the intelligence to support the policy.

MR. MEHLMAN:  Tim, that report has been discredited by everyone else who's looked at it since then...

MR. RUSSERT:  I don't believe that the authenticity of this report has been discredited.

MR. MEHLMAN:  I believe that the findings of the report, the fact that the intelligence was somehow fixed have been totally discredited by everyone who's looked at it.

MR. RUSSERT:  There--let me go back to another sentence from that report. "There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."  ...This memo seems to suggest that the head of British Intelligence told Prime Minister Blair that there was little discussion in Washington to plan for the aftermath of military action.

MR. MEHLMAN: ...We did plan for the future.  There are some things you can plan for.  There are some things that are harder to plan for, but I believe we're doing a very important mission in Iraq, which is defeating the terrorists, promoting democracy and you've seen throughout this spring what the effects of that democracy have been in other Arab nations.

MR. RUSSERT:  The primary rationale given for the war, however, was the elimination of weapons of mass destruction.  And again I refer you to the memo of the prime minister's meeting.  "It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided.  But the case was thin.  Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than half that of Libya, North Korea and Iran."

MR. MEHLMAN:  Well, the president, I think, was responsible in saying we need to simultaneously prepare for war and also try to avoid that war.  There were simultaneous efforts at the diplomatic stages that were made and yet at the same time it would have been irresponsible for us to say we're going to wait and then plan for war later because we wouldn't have had as effective an effort as we did to remove Saddam Hussein from power, so we needed to do both at the same time.
[Emphasis mine]


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