The Downing Street Memo

Ken AshfordIraq1 Comment

Since the press isn’t going to report it, it is a good thing that bloggers are doing the analysis. Here’s a nice summary table from

Facts of the Memo:
July 23, 2002
Words of the
Bush Administration
leading up to War in Iraq
“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

“No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.”

We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force”

– George W. Bush,
Radio Address Mar. 8, 2003

“I think that that presumes there’s some kind of imminent war plan. As I said, I have no timetable.”

– George W. Bush,
Aug. 10, 2002 while golfing

“But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy

[and don’t forget…]

“Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD

“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq’s neighbors and against Iraq’s people.

The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.”

– George W. Bush,
Mar. 17, 2003, the War begins

"I want you to keep focused on what you are doing here," […] "This war came to us, not the other way around."

– Condoleeza Rice
May 15, 2005,
Rice makes surprise visit to Iraq

“The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record” "America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe in the mission of the United Nations."

– George W. Bush,
Mar. 17, 2003, the War begins

“There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.”

1,600+ US Soldiers Dead
12,300+ Wounded
Iraqi casualties 20,000 – ?????

– CBC,
May 9, 2005, Casualties in Iraq War

"Any military presence, should it be necessary, will be temporary and intended to promote security and elimination of weapons of mass destruction; the delivery of humanitarian aid; and the conditions for the reconstruction of Iraq."

– The White House,
March 16, 2003, Statement
of the Atlantic Summit

"Liberated people don’t misbehave."

– Former Secretary of Army
Thomas White,
( on Cheney and Rumsfeld’s
post-war views
leading up to the war)

July 7, 2003, War in Iraq’s
aftermath hits troops hard

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 that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.” "The President has made no decisions about what the next step will be. Clearly, we will continue to talk to the United Nations about the inspection process."

– Ari Fleischer,
Oct. 12, 2002, White House
press briefing

"This is about disarmament and this is a final opportunity for Saddam Hussein to disarm. If he chooses not to do so peacefully, then the United States is prepared to act, with our friends, to do so by force. And we will do so forcefully and swiftly and decisively, as the President has outlined. But the President continues to seek a peaceful resolution. War is a last resort."

– Scott McClellan,
Nov. 12, 2002, White House
press briefing

"The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region…"

– George W. Bush,
Jul. 14, 2003, White House
press briefing

"He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route." "And now they must demonstrate that commitment to peace and security is the only effective way, by supporting the immediate and unconditional disarmament of Saddam Hussein.

The dictator of Iraq and his weapons of mass destruction are a threat to the security of free nations. He is a danger to his neighbors. He’s a sponsor of terrorism. He’s an obstacle to progress in the Middle East."

– George W. Bush,
Mar. 16, 2003, in the Azores