Downing Street Memo: 'Twisted intelligence; Distorted facts'
The following was released by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) on the Downing Street Minutes this morning. Kennedy becomes the first senator to raise the issue in the Senate, after earlier reports that Massachusetts ' junior senator, John Kerry, would speak about the minutes in Washington .
“The contents of the Downing Street Minutes confirm that the Bush Administration was determined to go to war in Iraq , regardless of whether there was any credible justification for doing so. The Administration distorted and misrepresented the intelligence in its attempt to link Saddam Hussein with the terrorists of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden, and with weapons of mass destruction that Iraq did not have.
"In addition, the Downing Street Minutes also confirm what has long been obvious – that the timing of the war was linked to the 2002 Congressional elections, and that the Administration’s planning for post-war Iraq was incompetent in all its aspects. The current continuing crisis is a direct result of that incompetence.
"Many of you have worked hard for the American people, the media and those in government to speak out about the Downing Street Minutes and the Iraq war. You can join me in speaking out as well.
"The policy of “shoot first, ask questions later” took us into an unjustified war, and without a clear concept of what “winning the war” actually means.
"President Bush constantly talks about the “progress” that is being made in Iraq against the insurgency, but he’s looking for good news with a microscope. All anyone can see is “ Mission Mis-accomplished” and the continuing losses of American lives, the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis, the torture scandal, and the ominous decline in our nation’s moral authority in the world community.
We know the Administration had been planning to invade Iraq for many months before the invasion actually began. We know the Administration twisted the intelligence to make the facts fit their plan. We know that the Administration never really intended to give the U.N. weapons inspectors a reasonable chance to succeed. The Downing Street Minutes demonstrate that the Administration knew their case for war was paper thin, and that in order to go into war with the support of our allies, we had to demonstrate some willingness to go along with the UN inspection process. But the Administration continued to misuse its intelligence, distort the facts and pay only lip-service to the UN’s role in disarming Iraq .
"We never should have gone to war for ideological reasons driven by politics and based on manipulated intelligence. The Downing Street Minutes provide even more proof that this is exactly what happened on Iraq . The Administration’s dishonesty, lack of candor, and lack of planning have brought us to where we are today, with American soldiers dying, Iraqi civilians living in constant fear, and with no clearer picture of our strategy for victory in Iraq than when we started.”