micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links

Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.

Please send him email at micahth@chartermi.net.

Holmquist's full archives are listed here.

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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)

Aljazeera.Net English
AlterNet (War on Iraq)
Alternative Press Review
Always Low Prices -- Always
Another Irani online
antiwar.com (blog)
Asia Times Online
Axis of Logic
Baghdad Burning (riverbend)
BBC News
blogdex.net ("track this weblog")
The Christian Science Monitor (Daily Update)
Common Dreams
Daily Rotten
Democracy Now
The Drudge Report
Eat the Press (Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post)
Empire Notes (Rahul Mahajan)
frontpagemag.com (HorowitzWatch)
Guardian Unlimited
The Independent
Information Clearing House
Informed Comment (Juan Cole)
Iranians for Peace

Iraq Dispatches (Dahr Jamail)
Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation
Iraq Occupation and Resistance Report (Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice)
Mr. Show and Other Comedy
The Narco News Bulletin (blog)
The New York Times
Occupation Watch
Political Theory Daily Review
Press Action
Project Syndicate
Raed in the Middle (Raed Jarrar)
The Simpsons Archive
Simpsons Collector Sector
Technorati ("search for mth.blogspot.com")
United States Central Command
U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
War Report (Project on Defense Alternatives)
The Washington Post
Wildfire (Jo Wilding)
wood s lot
www.mnftiu.cc (David Rees)

Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)

Thivai Abhor
As'ad AbuKhalil
Ken Adrian
Christopher Allbritton
Douglas Anders
Mark W. Anderson
Aziz Ansari
Atomic Archive
James Benjamin
Elton Beard
Charlie Bertsch
alister black
Blame India Watch
Blog Left: Critical Interventions Warblog / war blog
Igor Boog
Martin Butler
Chris Campbell
James M. Capozzola
Avedon Carol
Elaine Cassel
cats blog
Jeff Chang
Margaret Cho
Citizens Of Upright Moral Character
Louis CK
Les Dabney
Natalie Davis
Scoobie Davis
The Day Job
Jodi Dean
Dominic Duval
Steve Earle
Daniel Ellsberg
Tom Engelhardt
Lisa English
Barbara Flaska
Brian Flemming
Joe Foster
Yoshie Furuhashi
Al Giordano
Rob Goodspeed
Grand Puba
Guardian Unlimited Weblog
Pete Guither
The Hairy Eyeball
Ray Hanania
Mark Hand
Hector Rottweiller Jr's Web Log Jim Henley Arvin Hill Hit & Run (Reason) Hugo Clark Humphrey Indri The Iraqi Agora Dru Oja Jay Jeff Lynne d Johnson Dallas Jones Julia Kane Blues Benjamin Kepple Ken Layne Phil Leggiere Brian Linse Adam Magazine Majority Report Radio Marc Maron Josh Marshall Jeralyn Merritt J.R. Mooneyham Michael Scott Moore Bob Morris Bob Mould Mr. Show and Tell Muslims For Nader/Camejo David Neiwert NewPages Weblog Aimee Nezhukumatathil Sean O'Brien Patton Oswalt The Panda's Thumb Randy Paul Rodger A. Payne Ian Penman politx Neal Pollack Greg Proops Pro-War.com Pure Polemics Seyed Razavi Rayne Simon Reynolds richardpryor.com Clay Richards Mike Rogers Yuval Rubinstein
Steven Rubio
Saragon Noah Shachtman Court Schuett The Simpsons Archive Amardeep Singh Sam Smith Soundbitten Jack Sparks Ian Spiers Morgan Spurlock Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq Aaron Stark Morgaine Swann Tapped (The American Prospect) tex Matthew Tobey Annie Tomlin Tom Tomorrow The University Without Condition Jesse Walker Warblogger Watch Diane Warth The Watchful Babbler The Weblog we have brains Matt Welch
Alex Whalen
Jon Wiener
Lizz Winstead
James Wolcott
Wooster Collective
Mickey Z

Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Downing Street Mania

British Prime Minister Tony Blair gave a clear reason yesterday for the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States, Great Britain and ABskdskghsakaville.

"[T]he fact is we decided to go to the United Nations and went through that process, which resulted in the November 2002 United Nations resolution, to give a final chance to Saddam Hussein to comply with international law. He didn't do so. And that was the reason why we had to take military action," Blair said in a joint White House press conference with U.S. Prez George W. Bush.

Bush didn't say anything to indicate that Blair was wrong on this not exactly trivial manner, so there you have it. The invasion was because international law had to be enforced, which makes perfect sense as international law does not have a long history of being violated and what's good for Nicaragua and the land of the free people who obey the law and court judgments unless they don't like them must be wrong for Iraq.

As you will likely hear, read and/or see far more about, Blair's comment was in response to a question about the Downing Street Memo.

Since I know most of you have the good sense to get your news exclusively from this blog, a bit of context is in order...

the June 1 edition of The Sunday Times printed what was said to be a July 23, 2002 memo containing the minutes of a meeting Blair had with key advisors that day. The memo says that based on recent meeting with U.S. officials it was the opinion of the advisors that:

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...

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 that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

These are not shocking allegations but the memo was, and is, likely evidence that Team Bush was not on the up and up about the reasons for invading Iraq.

Although I have known about this report since about the time it was published, I have not written anything about, other than for the purpose of criticizing John Kerry, for a variety of diverse and different reasons:

1) I did not have anything particularly interesting to say about the document other than it seems to me that when you accept a war against "the terrorists," expecting accurate intelligence is nit picking.

2) I did not expect it to stir much controversy at all, given how nobody seems to care about the other deceptions and manipulations the Bush Administration has gotten away with. I'm happy to be wrong here, but I still do not get why people are inspired by this information.

3) I am of the belief that Bush will get away with everything that he had done. Yes he should be in a cage getting poked by school children on field trips, but I don't think it is going to happen. If people aren't outraged now, part of me doubts there would be much outrage if Bush came out and said, "I have lied to you. I have manipulated your fears, ignorance and lack of critical thinking. You are stupid for not figuring this out on your own.

4) I wanted to protect President Bush because Clinton signed something in 1998 and Kerry voted for the war and because one thing leftists never understand and never will understand is that America is right and not wrong and they are no right so they should just shut their pie holes and let real men and manly women do the hard work of keeping America safe, defeating evil and avenging those who paid with their blood on September 11 just for going to work in the greatest country is the history of the world and not being the lazy people who just sit at home, work a 9 to 5 job, collect a cushy pension and believe whatever the lamestream media tells them about why they should hate President Bush, the Republicans and America without ever once taking the step of going out and being a productive member of society who makes their own way, stands on their own two feet and resents having some big government bureaucrat taking their hard earned money away to go spend it some committee out their in Washington that will criticize American soldiers for defending freedom because this modern day soviet commie apparatchik will not shut their piehole and believe that America is always right due to their leftism. (Thank you Micah! You are a great American who has a wisdom one can't learn in all those fancy colleges where those liberals go.)

So those are my reasons for not commenting on it till know but I can go with the flow...

Moving back to yesterday's press conference:

Q Thank you, sir. On Iraq, the so-called Downing Street memo from July 2002 says intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy of removing Saddam through military action. Is this an accurate reflection of what happened? Could both of you respond?
A decent question, I suppose, although without a follow up that the reporter is willing to ask even after the two gentlemen have made it clear they want to move on, it won't produce anything like an interesting answer.
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, I can respond to that very easily. No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all. And let me remind you that that memorandum was written before we then went to the United Nations. Now, no one knows more intimately the discussions that we were conducting as two countries at the time than me. And the fact is we decided to go to the United Nations and went through that process, which resulted in the November 2002 United Nations resolution, to give a final chance to Saddam Hussein to comply with international law. He didn't do so. And that was the reason why we had to take military action.

But all the way through that period of time, we were trying to look for a way of managing to resolve this without conflict. As it happened, we weren't able to do that because -- as I think was very clear -- there was no way that Saddam Hussein was ever going to change the way that he worked, or the way that he acted.

I've covered the international law argument above. The idea that going to the UN discounts the accuracy of the memo's findings is strange since the memo does say:
We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.
So going to the UN was not inconsistent with the contents of the memo.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I -- you know, I read kind of the characterizations of the memo, particularly when they dropped it out in the middle of his race. I'm not sure who "they dropped it out" is, but -- I'm not suggesting that you all dropped it out there. (Laughter.)
I doubt anybody cares about this except elections and self-absorbed media types. So yes the joke worked in Bush's favor. What a sense of humor he has. Bush must be a great man, if he is indeed a man and not some greater species.
And somebody said, well, you know, we had made up our mind to go to use military force to deal with Saddam. There's nothing farther from the truth.

My conversation with the Prime Minister was, how could we do this peacefully, what could we do. And this meeting, evidently, that took place in London happened before we even went to the United Nations -- or I went to the United Nations. And so it's -- look, both us of didn't want to use our military. Nobody wants to commit military into combat. It's the last option. The consequences of committing the military are -- are very difficult. The hardest things I do as the President is to try to comfort families who've lost a loved one in combat. It's the last option that the President must have -- and it's the last option I know my friend had, as well.

And so we worked hard to see if we could figure out how to do this peacefully, take a -- put a united front up to Saddam Hussein, and say, the world speaks, and he ignored the world. Remember, 1441 passed the Security Council unanimously. He made the decision. And the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.

The implicit premise to what Bush says here is that something terrible would have happened if Saddam had been allowed to stay in power, but what isn't clear. Saddam would be in power? Yes that was really ruining the world and it is good to know the last brutal thug in power no long has power. An attack? Yep Saddam was waiting for just the right moment that it had not shown up over more than the last 12 years. International law being violated? Is that even news?

What this terrible event or series of events would have been is not stated because, in all likelihood, a credible answere did not and does not exist. The fact that virtually nobody will figure this out and say it publicly doesn't speak well for the possibility of government being held accountable.