Jun 12 2005

Media is Grasping at Straws

Published by at 8:24 am under All General Discussions

It can now be firmly declared the media is obssessed to the point of distraction. Today the Washington Post splashes across its headlines that the US had not prepared for the aftermath of war due to a British memo…

A briefing paper prepared for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers eight months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq concluded that the U.S. military was not preparing adequately for what the British memo predicted would be a “protracted and costly” postwar occupation of that country.

Only problem is the memo was written 3/4’s of a year prior to the start of the invasion, prior to congressional approval, prior to the UN address and vote and prior to any troop movements.

The military had 8 months from the time of this memo (which is the BRITISH view of what we had to date, not what was in the US military planner’s hands) to determine force size, rotation and material requirements for the first 6-12 months. And they had an opportunity EVERY month or sooner to update the plan, including during the invasion and during the initial days of occupation. I worked in the planning system and watched these people use it. It can forecast how all the men and material will move and track it as it goes. Suffice it to say it can do a lot quickly. So you can plan, replan, plan options 24×7 and optimize and adjust as needed.

The eight-page memo, written in advance of a July 23, 2002, Downing Street meeting on Iraq, provides new insights into how senior British officials saw a Bush administration decision to go to war as inevitable, and realized more clearly than their American counterparts the potential for the post-invasion instability that continues to plague Iraq.

Or, it showed a hesitant ally (which the UK was prior to any international efforts to gain support) who was more focused on all the things that could go wrong.

Saying that “we need to be sure that the outcome of the military action would match our objective,” the memo’s authors point out, “A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise.” The authors add, “As already made clear, the U.S. military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden.”

The fact we would need to spend time and money in Iraq to stabilize it was known from the beginning. It is pure arrogance that leads the media to think no one but them understood that. The second part is the essence of the comment, the UK was worried they would have to support that part, which is the more costly.

Enough fisking, every paragraph is a lesson in jumping to pre-made conclusions. There are no FACTS to support the conclusions jumped to.

This blatant attempt to paint a memo which covers another country’s impression of our military status 8 months out as some sort of problem is pathetic. All it shows is how deeply ingrained the media’s conspiracy theory/fantasies are. A media that must understand that even our allies do not get to see all our military planning and strategy products. Especially before they have publically declared themselves an ally an in need of detailed military plans.


Michael Kinsley of the LATimes (of all people) finds the memos inimpressive, but he is happy to see conspiracy theories coming out of the liberal fringes – it is a sign they are still alive.

Although it is flattering to be thought personally responsible for allowing a proven war criminal to remain in office, in the end I don’t buy the fuss. Nevertheless, I am enjoying it, as an encouraging sign of the left’s revival.

Todd Linberg at the Weekly Standard also takes on this debate as well:

For smoking-gun enthusiasts, the key to the plot is that word “fixed,” as in, the fix is in. As in, the intelligence and facts weren’t what Bush needed, so he fixed them. The problem with this analysis, if you can call it that, is quite simple: If what is being described is chicanery and wrongdoing in the form of the Bush administration fabricating intelligence, how come nobody in the room with Blair when C drops this bombshell is sufficiently perturbed to do so much as ask a follow-up question? How come Blair’s “sofa cabinet” just goes on earnestly discussing the military options?

One response so far

One Response to “Media is Grasping at Straws”

  1. Decision '08 says:

    A Pair of Must-Reads on the Downing Street Memo

    Michael Kinsley is a quite prominent liberal; he’s also a good writer with a great sense of humor, and not a partisan hack ideologue in the mode of Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd, or Paul Krugman, so don’t expect to see him in the New York Times editorial …