The paper in question.
How the Times of London headlines it:
“Ministers were told of need for Gulf war ‘excuse’”
How the New York Times headlines it:
“Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn’t Made”
Justification for the headline:
“A memorandum written by Prime Minister Tony Blair’s cabinet office in late July 2002 explicitly states that the Bush administration had made “no political decisions” to invade Iraq, but that American military planning for the possibility was advanced. The memo also said American planning, in the eyes of Mr. Blair’s aides, was “virtually silent” on the problems of a postwar occupation.”
Read the paper. It makes it clear that the Bush Administration is planning a war, and has not yet made all the “political” decisions about exactly how that war is going to occur. But no doubt is left that the war will happen, and Britain is just concerned with finding some pretext for making it vaguely legal:
US views of international law vary from that of the UK and the international community. Regime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law. But regime change could result from action that is otherwise lawful.
The NYT reading of the memo is incredibly… generous. Let’s put it that way. Generous. That’s the way it looks to me anyway. Read the papers yourself and form your own conclusions.
Would have been nice if the NYT had reprinted the papers and let people form their own conclusions too.