Downing Street Memo: new question of Iraq war

A Democratic member of Congress is trying to focus new attention on a document known as the Downing Street Memo, in which British officials are quoted as describing the Bush administration as having shaped intelligence findings to justify a pre-determination to go to war against &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Saddam Hussein.

Revealed first in the British press in May, the Downing Street memo describes pages of notes based on meetings between British Prime Minister Tony Blair, cabinet members and other officials in July, 2002.

In it, Britain's head of intelligence is quoted as saying he had concluded war was inevitable because President Bush was determined to remove Saddam Hussein through military action.

In the most controversial quote, the head of British intelligence is quoted as saying, "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" and that war would be, in the words of the memo, "justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD."

The Bush administration and Prime Minister Blair have strongly denied that their intentions were pre-determined, pointing to U.S. efforts to obtain a U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq before military plans moved ahead, tells VOA News.

The eight-page memo, titled, "Iraq: Conditions for military action," was written two days before the July 23, 2002, meeting during which Dearlove told British Prime Minister &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Tony Blair that Bush had made up his mind to go to war and that intelligence was "being fixed" around the policy. Minutes from the July 23 meeting were leaked to British media in early May, with Blair in the final days of a difficult race for re-election, while the July 21 memo, written before the meeting, came to light just last week.

British media also have reported that Blair's advisers warned in 2002 that Blair would have to find a way to make the war look legal under international law. The briefing paper said "that since regime change was illegal it was 'necessary to create the conditions' that would make it legal," the Sunday Times of London reported.

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