Is that a ringing endorsement? Of course not. But in our view, and that of most supporters of the war, a preemptive strike against a recidivist regime like Saddam's is clearly justified where there is reasonable apprehension of danger to our security. And, while it would be nice to have such a strike blessed by the U.N.'s Security Council, where members of the Security Council have been bribed and have promised to veto any resolution authorizing war, it is absurd to argue that such veto power means it is illegal to act in our own defense. Attorney General Goldsmith applied a narrower standard; but it is hardly a shock to learn that the Bush administration's view of what was necessary to legitimize the Iraq war was different from his or from Kofi Annan's.
It comes down to this. If you think the war was necessary you are going to see this memo as reasoned assessment of the options. If you do not think the war was necessary, then anything the administration says is a lie so it doesn't matter what is said.