From this evening’s Nelson Report …
[There is] an increased press and Congressional focus on the so-called âDowning Street Memoâ, from the then-head of Britianâs secret service to Prime Minister Blair, stating flatly that President Bush and his top advisors had determined to go to war with Iraq well in advance of playing out the UN process.
Such an interpretation is, of course, arguable, as per the Bush/Blair press conference last week, about which you will have read, and will read more tomorrow, given a suddenly large push by more than 100 Hill Democrats. Our point for tonight is that this memo, really a series of memos, has had a strange life…but after a delayed reaction in this country, it seems to be leading somewhere…where, exactly, is the question.
We can report, not as a partisan, but as an observer who happened to be working for a Congressman deeply involved in the Pentagon Papers fight of 1971, that old hands note eerie similarities to the start-up process of questions raised, and the potential for Congress to become more seriously involved.
Two examples of related concerns to the âDowning Steetâ memos: DOD Secretary Rumsfeldâs pre-positioning of thousands of troops and large stores of equipment, months before the final decision was made; the top-level White House involvement in the âtorture memoâ process that led directly to the international humiliation of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, despite internal warnings from then-Secretary of State Powell and Deputy Secretary Armitage.
Add those up, add your own examples, and you will know why you hear conversations in the past couple of days using the âimpeachmentâ word…not as a prediction, this is way too soon and/or extreme for now…but as part of an attempt to measure historic parallels, and to think aloud on how far this process might go. Maybe nowhere? Or, maybe weâre just seeing the beginning of something. We mention it tonight because the conversation is being held less quietly than before, and politics in Washington may be about to get even worse, if you can imagine anything worse.
Passed on without <$NoAd$> comment.