Talk:New pre-Iraq war memo leaked

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"Treason" aspect to the story[edit]

This is getting to the point where I am wondering whether Bush and Blair broke treason laws? I suppose even if they did, that info does not fit into this story? Neutralizer 03:00, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

I guess people are calling for investigations of this sort in Britain right now. Step 1 is to officially verify the existence and content of the memo (which will be difficult). Last time Sands published a secret memo, everything he claimed turned out to be true. We will have to wait what happens this time... --vonbergm 03:14, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
What happened to the Downing Street info box? Neutralizer 13:12, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
  • It was misused by a few users who (inadvertently, probably) misused it to include articles not about the ordeal, so it was deleted (I think?). Check WN:DR, it was up for vote a few months ago. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 16:31, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks MrM. I will try to track it down. Neutralizer 18:15, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

War "engineering" a separate story?[edit]

The idea of the Iraq war having been engineered has gone from conspiracy theory to public denial. Is this part of this article enough for a separate story on that aspect?

"During their discussion at the White House, Bush is alleged to have said that the United States thought of "flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq painted in UN colours", explaining that "if Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach".According to a high-ranking UN source cited on condition of anonymity by Channel 4 News, it was however perfectly possible to fly planes out of range of Iraqi missiles."Talks of Saddam firing on them suggest to some that the US was almost willing Saddam to strike out on the plane," he added." I suppose it's all too unproven to be news at the moment?Neutralizer 13:48, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Not really "news"[edit]

Bob Woodward said as much in his book, Plan of Attack, though the administration consistently denied or downplayed many of his claims.

I think the real story is somewhere in the middle: the memo doesn't indicate that anyone was "decieved" about Bush and Blair's war aims, but only that they were committed to a military option while still trying their best to pull a diplomatic rabbit out of a hat. Military operations can be turned off in seconds, but turning one on takes months (the critics already claim that we didn't plan and prepare enough for this war).

This story should not be likened to the pre-war intelligence issues (also highlighted in Woodward's book). Full disclosure to Congress and the people on the true threat posed by Saddam's regime from WMD and terrorist support (whether the intel was driving policy, or whether analysis was focused on justifying a predetermined COA) is essential for the checks and balances to function in our democratic process. The fact that two commanders-in-chief committed to execution of a military option far in advance of the trigger date, and without informing the rest of the world, was just good military generalship. --klandtroop 14:49, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Bob Woodward did not report on this memo. The memo does in fact suggest that in particular the British people were "deceived", as Blair has publicly denied that the war was decided on on several ocasions after the meeting. --vonbergm 17:31, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Whether or not Woodward reported on, or knew of, the "memo" is irrelevant. The point is that it was obvious long ago that the Pentagon's war plans were executed in early January. The policy was there. Preliminary steps violative of another country's soveriegnty always precede major combat operations. When a country takes those preliminary steps, they have committed to a military option. The Iraq war started long before the Third Infantry Division crossed into Iraq from Kuwait in April. However, at any time up to that day, the President could easily stop the war machine. The fact that Blair and Bush denied any commitment to a military option until that day permitted, rather than stifled, last-ditch diplomatic solutions. (Would negotiations have been taken seriously had Blair announced a commitment to invade?) Do we forget that diplomatic discourse continued into April? Did they produce any results? (Of course not--we'd been trying for 13 years). Recall the President's state of the union of January 03: if I recall correctly, he changed his theme from "disarmament" to "regime change" about that time. Open your eyes. Say what you will about the post-conflict plan, but the initiation of the Iraq invasion was pretty textbook. The leadership committed themselves to a plan, but gave themselves an out. When it became clear that war was the only option, they were able to act nearly instantaneously because they had already committed to the use of force. --klandtroop 19:53, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

"editorial cleanup"[edit]

MrM, please be more specific about the "heavy bias in the tone of article". To your other point, the article is quite clear that neither the White House nor Downing street have confirmed the authenticity. The sentence you re-entered is unnecessarily redundant, and you gave no explanation why it is needed. I will remove it again. Also, please explain why the contextual information that you edited out is not needed, in the meantime I will reinsert it. --vonbergm 17:38, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

This is the last time I will do this again. If users cannot start detecting bias in articles by now, I do believe we have a large problem on our hands. The article is asserting that the transcript is true. Now, if someone could explain the significance of having this in the article:

The memo from the sources also states that Bush suggested "flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft planes with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours", so that "if Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach [of UN resolutions]".

that does not spur into a political point, then include it here, now. Also, this one as well:

According to the memo, President Bush said he "thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups".

These items should not be included as quotes as they are; because they're not confirmed. The notation of the memo stating this as well is not NPOV, as the memo itself hasn't even been proven as authentic, or even verified of its existance.
These articles need to take extreme caution. We do not report on rumors; we never have, we never will. How can we possibly uphold our level of factuality in reporting if we report on what others simply say, yet provide no proof that it ever happened? That is unacceptable. I could just as easily say that North Korea sold nuclear technology to Cuba, according to a memo I obtained from Castro's office, yet hold it from the public and say only portions of it at a time, all the meanwhile it was fake. There's no difference than these instances here. We need to stop making articles on these things, ditto the "not-newsworthy" comment above. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 17:46, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
  • To me it is no different than reporting that President Bush alleges that "U.S. intelligence indicates Iran has nuclear ambitions". Both are reporting alleged situations and if we can report the accusations derived from anonymous US intelligence, we can report the acccusations derived from unproven memos, I think. I agree with vonbergm's opinion here and will remove the flag. If MrM still feels it's warranted he may reinsert it; but I really can't see the need of an editorial cleanup flag so late after publishing. Neutralizer 18:12, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
MrM, how do the quotes *not* relate to the article? They provide important context to the meeting, as it undermines the point that the decision for war was made regardless of what happens on the ground, and that (1st quote) illegal and deceitful methods to sway world opinion were contemplated and that (2nd quote) there was insufficient long-term planning. This is of course, assuming that the memo is authentic. And are there political implications if it turnes out that the memo is authentic? Probably, but that does not mean we should not report the fact! But I agree with you that we should not start speculating about these political ramifications at this point, but we aren't. In summary, I see no problem at all with the quotes you gave. --vonbergm 22:25, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Better Examples[edit]

MrM. If we headlined the unproven allegations contained in these 2 stories which you even participated in, surely the insertions in this article which you refer to above are permissable, at least it seems to me.

Al Qaeda bomb maker reportedly killed in U.S. airstrike in Pakistan

Pakistani Official claims 'foreign terrorists' among civilians killed in U.S. airstrike

Neutralizer 18:25, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

  • There was proof of them, however. The airstrike happened, both recognize that. DNA tests confirmed the bodies. These documents are speculation, though. There is no proof for them to be based on. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 22:12, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Another example showing that your post regarding this article are purely based on your own personal bias, and not on trying to improve wikinews as you are trying to claim. Try and give me a *single* news source that reported on the *results* of any DNA tests on the bodies. Or just *any* news source that said *who* performed the tests. Get a grip! (To save you some time, TIME reported on the 22nd of January "The US is still uncertain if DNA was recovered from the scene ...") --vonbergm 23:27, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
He's right MrM. Our 2 story headlines above were based upon unproven allegations and were totally bogus as you can see here from the words of our DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER after we ran those 2 stories;

"CNN's "Situation Room" Jan.19th. 7pm [1]


BLITZER: What about last Friday's attack on that building along the Pakistan-Afghan border? Have you confirmed definitively who died, who was killed in that attack?

CROUCH: I don't think there's any confirmation on that. Obviously, I know there have been things that have come out of Pakistan. But all I know at this point is what you have seen, you know, in the press.

BLITZER: But do we know one way or another whether Ayman al- Zawahiri, the number two to Osama bin Laden, whether or not he was killed?

CROUCH: Like I said, I don't think there's any -- there's a full understanding of that at this point.

BLITZER: But there -- but you do -- can you confirm that other senior al Qaeda operatives were killed?

CROUCH: Not at this point, no."

And arguing that "the airstrike happened" as justification for those headlines is like arguing that "the meeting between Bush and Blair happened" as justification for including the references in question.

I'm kind of tired of this too because the only time we seem to have a big debate over the very mention of alleged/unproven remarks or events (even when we identify them as such) is when those remarks or events reflect badly upon our governments; at least that's my impression. Neutralizer 23:47, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

"opinionated statement"[edit]

MrM, which part of the statement "At the time of the meeting, world opinion was leaning toward giving inspectors more time and holding off any military intervention." is opinionated? This is a simple facutal statement, backed by the sources, by reporting at the time and it is the reason that the US and Britain did not even ask the Security Council to vote on a second reslution (as it was clear that the vote would fail). If you have a problem with that statement, find a reason that is valid. --vonbergm 22:14, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

  • You're kidding, right? That's not a fact - there are no facts when it comes to opinion. It may be YOUR opinion, but it wasn't everyone's. And for you to not even back the claim up with sources is really striking to me, since you are the one asking why I deleted it. Please, let's get some common sense. I'm getting really tired of this. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 22:20, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Tell me which of the following statements are wrong:

1) The US did not seek for a a vote on the second security council resolution. 2) The reason for this is that they did not believe it would get the support needed to pass. 3) The majority of the countries in the world were against an invasion at that time. 4) The majority of the world population was against the invasion at that time. --vonbergm 22:29, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Governments' positions pre-2003 invasion of Iraq, Popular Opposition to the 2003 Iraq War, "More inspections enjoy broad U.N. support" — cnn, February 14, 2003 "Africans back France on Iraq" — cnn, February 21, 2003 and "Copenhagen European Council Presidency Conclusions" — EU, 29 January 2003 Greg LaMotte. "Arab League Rejects Military Strike Against Iraq" — Voice of America, 01 Mar 2003 support the claim that world opinion (government and popular) was largely against going to war and that most countries (EU, Russia, China, African Union, Arab League, to begin with) called for continuing inspections rather than going to war. In addition, India, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia among others opposed the war and no doubt tried justifying it with a "let's do some more inspections" routine. i'll dig up thier exact poitions too, if required. Doldrums 09:47, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

  • So? It was not everyone in the world's opinion. You cannot state what is not fact -- and that statement was not factual. Please stop disregarding the NPOV policy; opinion is never fact -- no matter how much you may want it to be. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 16:43, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
mrm, who said it was "everyone in the world's opinion"? u keep up accusations of policy violations when there aren't any and i'll take it as an attempt to intimidate editors into towing ur pov. Doldrums 04:28, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Compromise? "At the time of the meeting, many nations were leaning toward giving inspectors more time and holding off any military intervention." Would this be agreeable? Neutralizer 17:31, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

I can live with the compromize, but I am getting sick and tired of MrM's inability to ditinguish facts from his bias and impose it on everyone! On top of that he can't even parse a simple sentence as he is saying that "world opinion was leaning toward" means "everyone in the world's opinion". And he still has the nerve to talk about NPOV, wikinews policy and facts! --vonbergm 20:20, 5 February 2006 (UTC)