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August 08, 2005

Michael Kinsley Strikes Out

From the Downing Street Memo:

The secret Downing Street memo - Sunday Times - Times Online: [Britain's equivalent of the CIA Director] reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action....

In the New York Review of Books, Michael Kinsley continues to pretend that when Britain's intelligence head holds "talks" in Washington he does not talk to "actual administration decision makers," but instead merely learns the conventional wisdom of the chattering classes:

TomDispatch - Tomgram: Kinsley: ...the document... basically says that the conventional wisdom in Washington in July 2002 was that Bush had made up his mind and war was certain. "What," Danner asks, "could be said to establish 'truth' -- to 'prove it'?" I suggested in the column that it would have been nice if the memo had made clear that the people saying facts were fixed and war was certain were actual administration decision-makers. Danner asks, Who else could the head of British intelligence, reporting on the mood and gossip of "Washington," be talking about if not "actual decision-makers"? He has got to be kidding. In short, the DSM will not persuade anyone who is not already persuaded. That doesn't make it wrong. But that does make the memo fairly worthless...

Why Kinsley is maintaining this extremely implausible position--one that the people who have been in government who I have talked to find laughable by a count of 27-3--is not at all clear.

Posted by DeLong at August 8, 2005 11:25 PM