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June 28, 2005

What The Washington Post Left Out

The Washington Post published an okay story today about the Downing Street memo and the other leaked UK documents. It took them two months and doesn't break any new ground, but I guess it's nice they've done a long front page piece on the subject.

Still, one part of the article made me laugh:

[Blair's] aides contend that in the days immediately after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Blair saw Saddam Hussein's Iraq as a potential danger that needed to be dealt with. But the prime minister faced an entirely different set of obstacles, political and legal, than Bush did, including much stronger domestic opposition to war.

Here's why that's funny: it's true the UK documents discuss the "obstacles" faced by Blair and that these obstacles included "much stronger domestic opposition to war." But take a look at this excerpt from the March 14, 2002 memo to Blair from his foreign policy advisor David Manning, and see if you can spot one particular obstacle that the Post left out:

[Condoleezza Rice and I] spent a long time at dinner on IRAQ. It is clear that Bush is grateful for your support and has registered that you are getting flak. I said that you would not budge in your support for regime change but you had to manage a press, a Parliament and a public opinion that was very different than anything in the States.

Yup: at the highest levels of the British government, they were concerned about managing a press "that was very different than anything in the States." In fact, Manning listed it first among the obstacles Blair faced.

It's not every day you get confirmation that high government officials see the US media as well-behaved lapdogs. It's a good thing the Washington Post didn't mention that, because if they had their readers might have learned something about reality.

Posted at June 28, 2005 02:30 AM | TrackBack

What an alert and upsetting post, Jonathan. Can't you just let us sit here and be fat and complacent? I would appreciate it.

Posted by: Elayne at June 28, 2005 10:03 AM

This is an awesome post. Zing!

P.S. I am not fat.

Posted by: saurabh at June 28, 2005 10:42 AM

Hark!! Barking up the wrong tree? This op-ed (opposite the editorial) in the CSM seems to think so ...

"It's no secret: Hung up on memos, antiwar lobby has been ineffective"

Posted by: Poker Prowley at June 28, 2005 06:17 PM

Does anyone recall that a few years there was a scandal involving a non-existent movie critic that gave glowing reviews to all films from Sony Pictures named David Manning? Who turned out to be a pseudonym for the publicity unit of Sony?

Posted by: En Ming Hee at June 28, 2005 07:26 PM

"Hear, hear! (Grumble, grumble, mumble, etc.)" [Trans. note: imagine you're in the British Commons.]

Posted by: erquirk at June 29, 2005 04:01 AM