Downing Street Followup

DOWNING STREET FOLLOWUP….So James Fallows did ask Richard Dearlove about his famous opinion regarding the Bush administration’s rush to war (“the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”) and apparently Dearlove laughed it off:

?I am less than two years out of government, and I have my pension,? he said, making a joke of it ? but then added that even after two years he would probably not feel free to speak further on this point. ?Check out the archives in Pembroke College, Cambridge in a hundred years!? he said. He recently became master of that college. He did offer this one explanation, which he said he had tried without success to get noted in the U.S. press: ?The version of the memo that is most often quoted was not the final version,? he said. ?I made some important changes? ? although he would not say what these pentimenti might have been.

Hmmm. If he won’t say what the changes were in the final draft, I guess I’m not surprised he hasn’t been able to get the American press to pay much attention to it. But there was also this:

And ? the point he stressed time and again, even in a bonus comment after the official program session had ended ? the Western world, notably the United States, was doomed unless it reclaimed ?the moral high ground.? By the end of the Cold War, he said, there was no dispute world wide about which side held the moral high ground. As a professional spy master, he said that reality made it so much easier for him to recruit operatives ? they would volunteer to come to him, because they believed in the cause. Therefore, as a matter of pure strategic necessity, the United States needed to behave according to its best traditions, not the exigencies of an open-ended wartime emergency. (I?m paraphrasing a little, but not taking too many liberties.)

When American Democrats say things like this ? as some of them occasionally screw up the courage to do ? they are dismissed as pathetic one-worlders. The words are somehow more plausible coming from a man who would have been James Bond?s boss.

Dearlove’s analysis is so obviously compelling that it’s remarkable no Democrat has been able to make this point effectively. Especially since the presidency of the United States might well be the prize for the first person to do so.