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Getting Americans To Spend Minutes On The Minutes

Getting Americans To Spend Some Minutes On The Minutes

By Mark Drolette

I was heartened by the reaction a group of about fifty of us received the other day when, prior to attending a Downing Street Minutes (DSM) House Party, we all stood at a busy Sacramento intersection for an hour or so displaying signs and banners emblazoned with messages about the leaked highly classified British government papers that prove the Bushies cooked the Iraq war books. Honks of support a-sounded, and I personally had only one official bird sighting. It was encouraging, but there’s obviously a very long way to go before the millions of Americans who are still unaware of the documents finally learn of their existence.

It’s a given the American whoreporate media won’t voluntarily spread the word since they’re little more than the primary White House propaganda conduit and have obviously decided/been instructed that lying America into war isn’t really all that newsworthy.

But, hey! How ‘bout that Natalee Holloway tragedy, huh?

Although the New York Times and other members of Pravda West did briefly do some front-page yelping recently about a real story -- something about Karl Rove engaging in unsavory activity, if you can believe such a thing -- it is helpful to remember this all comes, oh, a mere two years after Plamegate first surfaced on the ‘Net, and still even then only after a federal prosecutor torqued the toes of two toadies, er, stenographers, I’m sorry, reporters (Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper). Because such real journalism is an aberration (involving an incident initiated by one), it’s left to the left to get creative to properly air the DSM.

I’ve been thinking of ways to make the documents more marketable in the U.S. How can we best “package” them so our fellow citizens take notice of their importance, whether they want to or not? Mind you, I’m not saying we should actually trick our countrymen and women into reading them.

Oh, what the hell, yes, I am.

To publicize the damning DSM to those stubborn (or unconscious, or dead) Americans who, uncomprehendingly, haven’t yet comprehended that Dubya was lying through his smirking teeth (more than usual) when he continuously swore Iraq was practically begging to be invaded, it only makes sense to use approaches that best appeal to true American sensibilities.

A few ideas:

Slather the minutes in barbecue and chocolate sauce (though not at the same time, except maybe for pregnant women or drunk college students). This can be tricky since it does present the real danger of the documents being eaten rather than read which, given their contents, would be enough to give indigestion even to the strongest of stomachs. Even fast-food-fortified American ones.

Rename them. Call them the Downing Street Sex Minutes. If we want to make doubly sure to catch eyeballs, we could name them the Sex Downing Sex Street Sex Minutes Sex. (Well, caught yours, didn’t it?)

Fill copies of the minutes with pie charts (or just pie) and photos. I think a picture of Dubya prevaricating would be nice, which means any shot of Bush will do. Include a map of Iraq with “WMD” and “9/11” printed on it, superimposed by a circle with a big slash through it. And did I mention pie?

Give them away and make a big deal out of it. Americans love free stuff.

Sell the minutes and tell folks they’re on sale. Americans love bargains.

Call them exclusive and sell them at exorbitant prices. Americans love having stuff no one else has and will pay just about anything for the “privilege.”

Rename them (redux). Call them the Pie Downing Pie Street Pie Minutes Pie. (This is probably why I shouldn’t write when I’m hungry.)

Feature them on the Homeland Shopping Network. Have an expert in phony war justifications -- like, say, Miller (if she’s out of jail) -- occupy the “B” celebrity, or in this case, wannabe reporter, seat. While folks call in on-air, we can all have a grim non-laugh at Miller’s expense (and that of 1700 dead Americans and 100,000 slaughtered Iraqis) as she reprises her role as the war’s number one journalistic cheerleader and tries to somehow convince us the excerpts from the following minutes somehow don’t prove Bush lied us into war.

British Overseas and Defence Secretariat Cabinet Office memo (March 8, 2002):

“A legal justification for invasion would be needed. Subject to Law Officers advice, non [sic] currently exists. This makes moving quickly to invade legally very difficult. We should therefore consider a staged approach…”

March 18, 2002 memo to British Foreign Policy Advisor David Manning from the UK’s ambassador to America, Christopher Meyer, after the latter had met with then U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz:

“I then went through [with Wolfowitz] the need to wrongnfoot [sic] Saddam on the inspectors and the [United Nations Security Council Resolutions] and the critical importance of the [Middle East Peace Process] as an integral part of the anti-Saddam strategy. If all this could be accomplished skilfully (sic), we were fairly confident that a number of countries would come on board.”

March 14, 2002, memo from Manning to British Prime Minister Tony Blair after the former’s meeting with then U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice: “Condi’s enthusiasm for regime change is undimmed.”

March 25, 2002, memo from UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to Blair: “[R]egime change per se is no justification for military action…”

And, of course, the now-infamous July 23, 2002, minutes from a meeting attended by Blair (authored by Manning aide Matthew Rycroft):

“Military action [by the U.S.] 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.”

There’re lots more from whence these few snippets come, but the theme remains constant: Saddam Hussein was never a threat, a complete non-detail for Bush when it came to his unwavering determination to invade Iraq.

Join Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI),, and others in pushing for passage of a Resolution of Inquiry (introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Barbara Lee [D-CA]) that calls for the State Department and White House to “transmit all information [to the House] relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom between January 1, 2002, and October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq.” In the meantime, do what you can to get/keep the DSM talked about.

I just thought of one more way to try to pique Americans’ interest in, and keep a light on, the minutes:

Pass along an article that wheezily, check it, breezily, offers ways of educating Americans about the documents while the column itself attempts to be entertainingly informative about them.

Good luck finding one! (You might wanna throw in some pie.)


Copyright © 2005 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.

Bio: Mark Drolette is a political satirist/commentator who lives in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at and his website address is

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