Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Downing Street Memo: should we wait for the fire?

Shakespeare's Sister who's gone through the rather arduous task of setting up the Big Brass Alliance (bloggers supporting After Downing Street) posed the question last night asking why bloggers feel the Downing Street Memo is (or isn't) important and worthy of focus. For me, it's simple even though smoke isn't always indicative of fire, smoke can still do a whole lot of damage.

I remember being swept up in an Saddam Hussein Protest march in London in August 1990 (not intentionally, I was just meandering on the street one Sunday and the next thing I knew I was surrounded by ex-pat Iraqis and placards). I'd heard bits on the news but to be honest, I was focused on things in the lab and didn't pay too much attention to foreign affairs. Walking in the midst of the protest, I asked what was going on and the kind folks gave me an overall history as well as their own specific experiences - needless to say, I started paying more attention. Make no bones about it, I think Saddam Hussein was among the most evil of tyrants and his loss of power is no bad thing for the world. This being said, the circumstances that lead to the invasion of Iraq and his loss of power have been questioned from the getgo (more accurately, before the getgo). It is not only American Liberals who hate having Bush as President who suggest this war was a dubious endeavor based on WMD that were not discovered or believed to be a near-term threat, faulty intel that other countries refrained from acting on and now the Downing Street debacle.

In certain instances it is not enough to avoid impropriety, one must also avoid the appearance of impropriety. Disquieting bits of information about what was always a hotly contested action keep coming to light. Summarily disregarding the information without investigation leaves a cloud of unwarranted suspicion at best or, at worst, rewards subterfuge (and invites more).

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