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Saturday, December 03, 2005




A second leaked "Downing Street"-type memo has surfaced in the Sunday Times On Line (June 12, 2005) suggesting the Bush administration was contemplating "Running Start"/"Generated Start" military action against Iraq as early as November 2002.


(Article originally published 12 June 2005)

Today, Sunday, June 12, 2005, under the headline "Cabinet Office paper: Conditions for Military Action," The Sunday Times - World online published a partial transcript of a second smoking gun memo.

Titled "Personal Secret UK Eyes Only," this second smoking gun memo, produced by the British Cabinet Office on July 21, 2002, details reaction to the Bush Administration's plans for military provocation of Saddam Hussein. Some speculate that the plan was to bomb Iraq in order to goad the dictator into giving them a rationalization to go to war.

So far, the two memos forecase events that, in fact, have taken place since these documents were composed and released to principles within the British Government.

The paper notes "the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford (Texas) in April (2002)."

It states, "The US Government's military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace. But, as yet, it lacks a political framework. In particular, little thought has been given to creating the political conditions for miliary action, or the aftermath and how to shape it."

A key statement in the memo, under the heading "US Military Planning" suggests the direction the Bush administration is willing to go.

"6. Although no political decisions have been taken, US military planners have drafted options for the US Government to undertake an invasion of Iraq.

"In a 'Running Start,' military action could begin as early as November of this year, with no overt military build-up.

"All strikes and support for opposition groups in Iraq would lead initially to small-scale land operations, with further land forces deploying sequentially, ultimately overwhelming Iraqi forces and leading to the collapse of the Iraqi regime.

"A 'Generated Start' would involve a longer build-up before any military action were taken, as early as January 2003.

"US military plans include non specifics on the strategic context either before or after the campaign. Currently the preference appears to be for the 'Running Start.' CDS will be ready to brief Ministers in more detail.

"7. US plans assume, as a minimum, the use of British bases in Cyprus and Diego Garcia. This means that legal base issues would arise virtually whatever options Ministers choose with regard to UK participation."

Read the memo in its entirety.

It notes that the second memo is a "briefing paper for participants at a meeting of Blair's inner circle on July 23, 2002."

A full interpretation of the Downing Street memoranda and minutes is available here

Among other things, the interpretation points out, "since regime change was illegal it was "necessary to create the conditions" which would make it legal."