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Downsizing the Downing Street Memo

In all of the reactions to the “Downing Street Memo,” the one by Michael Kinsley in the June 12 Los Angeles Times (where he’s the editorial page editor) was surely the most irksome and disingenuous. Even as Kinsley dismisses the memo as evidence of something everybody already knows, he claims to be “enjoying it, as an encouraging sign of the left’s revival”. He then classifies the furor over the memo as a paranoid conspiracy theory being advanced by the left. The inference is that there’s no substance to the memo itself, but the organization the left has built over the last couple of years is starting to make progress. As if Air America talk-radio network is progress!

But what does the memo confirm? It is true that it confirms something we have known for a long time. What’s interesting is that Kinsley, like so many of his mainstream colleagues, has brandished the fact that everybody already “knows” that intelligence was manipulated to claim that the memo itself is no big deal. But in fact the memo did exactly what it should have done. It has made the manipulation of intelligence to start an illegal war common knowledge, and has forced the pundit class to admit to this.

But still, the reasoning goes that since we really already “knew” that, it’s okay that the President of the United States and his closest advisors have lied to the American public and Congress to start an illegal war that has resulted in the deaths and disfigurement of thousands of people. So the proof of guilt becomes a reason to dismiss. And fixing intelligence and deliberately deceiving the American public is merely a “governing style”, (where ghe’s the editorial page editor) not an impeachable offense that should be taken up immediately by the U.S. Congress.

So even as he is “enjoying” the memo and the left’s revival, he is doing his best to make sure the revelation does not change the status quo. Why doesn’t Kinsley write a column about the memo along with other evidence that Bush deceived the nation, and do something serious, such as calling for Bush’s impeachment? Instead of writing in his usual smart-boy lingo about how cute the left is with their little conspiracy theory, why doesn’t he acknowledge finally what needs to done with the common knowledge that our President is a liar and a war criminal?

JEFFREY KOLAKOWSKI can be reached at Jeffrey.Kolakowski@bbdodetroit.com