There are tantalising hints in the BBC reporting on an Official Secrets Act prosecution of just how crazy things were behind the scenes as the Iraq catastrophe unfolded in early 2004. The two men charged are civil servant David Keogh and MP's researcher Leo O'Connor; the former leaked notes from a Bush-Blair summit to the latter, who forwarded it to his MP, who raised the alarm about having received classified material.
One revelation from the notes has effectively been confirmed by its non-denials -- that George Bush (likely egged on by Dick Cheney) wanted to bomb al-Jazeera headquarters in Qatar. But consider other issues that have popped up in testimony, presumably right before the court goes into closed session to protect the evidence:
Sir Nigel Sheinwald [PM's foreign policy adviser] said: "It was a difficult period (in the Iraq war). Those of us who were involved believed at the time that it was the most difficult period facing the coalition since the original conflict in 2003, and for a variety of reasons.
"The security situation had deteriorated during the course of March and April ." There were "particular concerns" about violence in Fallujah [note: events that began with this] and the rest of the "Sunni triangle" as well as the militias led by Moqtada al-Sadr, he said.
"The level of violence in Iraq went up considerably over that period. There was international controversy about the violence and the performance of the coalition forces at the time." There was also concern about the kidnapping of Western contractors and the decision by the Spanish to pull out.
Since none of these issues has actually been resolved, it would be nice to know what proposals were being discussed at the time to deal with them. Anyway, little of these doubts surfaced in public speeches of Bush or Cheney from that time. In fact it's interesting that the 2004 campaign was already in full swing at that point, because this apparently figured into the goals of the alleged leaker -
On Monday a statement by Mr O'Connor to police was read out in court, in which he said that the memo was a powerful document. He said Mr Keogh wanted to get it into the public domain to influence elections about to take place in the United States.
Mr O'Connor told detectives Mr Keogh did not like President Bush. The court heard that Mr O'Connor told police: "Something along the lines of 'The man's a madman' was said (by Mr Keogh).
"At the time it was the run-up to the American elections. I think his view was to get this document into this domain."
While his effort was worthy, he perhaps didn't realize what he was up against: the propaganda machine that is the US presidency under Bush, with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth still to come.