The Downing Street memo written by Richard Dearlove then head of MI6 describes a meeting on July 23, 2002 between Bush and British officials in which Bush expressed the view that war with Iraq was inevitable and outlined the case for war. Several of the British officials found the President’s rationale weak. They were assured, non-specifically, that intelligence was being mustered to strengthen this case. The memo was published on May 1, 2005 in the British press and got heavy coverage, appearing just before a general election. In this country, it was virtually ignored by the traditional media until it was pushed by the blogosphere.
The importance of the memo is twofold. First, it showed that 8 months before the commencement of hostilities the decision for war had already been made and that Bush was not interested in a diplomatic solution. Simply put, Bush had lied. Second, the reaction to the memo or lack thereof demonstrated how co-opted and incurious the American news media had become. They hesitated to pick up the story or see its significance. Nor did they use it to launch any thoroughgoing or serious investigation into the justifications for the war. They had become the dog that did not bark.