Hey, look! A story about Downing Street

The Washington Post fronts a Glenn Frankel article on British views of the run-up to the Iraq war.

By Tim Grieve
Published June 28, 2005 2:27PM (EDT)

We've had plenty to say about the way the national press has downplayed -- when it wasn't busy ignoring -- the Downing Street Memo. So we'd be remiss this morning if we didn't note Glenn Frankel's long Downing Street piece on the front page of today's Washington Post.

Frankel's report deals mostly with the British half of the equation and thus does little in the way of investigating the core allegations set forth in the minutes from the July 2002 meeting between Tony Blair and his top advisors. But given the barren journalistic landscape so far, the Post piece is still a must-read.

Frankel writes:

"Critics of the Bush administration contend the documents -- including the now-famous Downing Street Memo of July 23, 2002 -- constitute proof that Bush made the decision to go to war at least eight months before it began, and that the subsequent diplomatic campaign at the United Nations was a charade, designed to convince the public that war was necessary, rather than an attempt to resolve the crisis peacefully. They contend the documents have not received the attention they deserve.

"Supporters of the administration contend, by contrast, that the memos add little or nothing to what is already publicly known about the run-up to the war and even help show that the British officials genuinely believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. They say that opponents of Bush and Blair are distorting the documents' meaning in order to attack both men politically.

"But beyond the question of whether they constitute a so-called smoking gun of evidence against the White House, the memos offer an intriguing look at what the top officials of the United States' chief ally were thinking, doing and fearing in the months before the war. "

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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