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Congress must investigate lies, leaks

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
By Congressman Adam Smith

Did the Bush White House, in a deliberate and organized manner, misrepresent the truth to Congress, the American people and the world in making its case for the military invasion of Iraq? This is a critical question that demands a clear answer. To this point, Congress has abdicated its responsibility to investigate all the facts. That must change.

Last week, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was indicted in the ongoing investigation by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald into the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. The alleged actions of Libby, and perhaps Bush senior adviser Karl Rove and others in the White House, to leak classified information in this case appear to have been aimed at discrediting, or threatening, Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson. By CIA request, Wilson had gone to Niger to examine the Bush administration's charge that Saddam Hussein had tried to acquire uranium for a nuclear weapon. Convinced this was not true, Wilson had written an Op-Ed in The New York Times debunking the claim.

Congress has a clear role to play in this issue, because Fitzgerald's investigation seeks only to punish criminal action and does not deal with the much broader issue of whether the White House deliberately misled the American people. Congress, both in its responsibility to exercise oversight of federal government action and because we received much of the potentially incorrect information being put out by the administration on Iraq, has the duty of ensuring open and honest communication between the White House and Congress.

And yet this Congress has not looked into the matter at all. The same Congress that launched investigations into the suicide of Clinton aide Vince Foster and the hiring actions of the Clinton White House with regard to their travel office, among countless other investigations, has sat silent on the critical issue of whether the White House deliberately put out false information in an effort to push our nation into war.

In an effort to get Congress to investigate this important issue, I have co-sponsored a resolution of inquiry calling for the White House to turn over to Congress all information involving the White House Iraq Group. The WHIG was comprised of key White House leaders including Libby, Rove and Condoleezza Rice. They were tasked to make the case for going to war in Iraq in an effort to convince Congress and the American public to support that policy.

White House assertions that aluminum tubes purchased by Iraq had to be part of a nuclear weapons program, that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from Niger and that we could not afford to let "the smoking gun be a mushroom cloud" all appear to have come from the WHIG. We need to know how they got that information -- which we now know to be false -- and whether they deliberately misrepresented the facts. The administration and its supporters often have dismissed the need for an investigation by arguing that everybody thought Saddam had WMD. They seem to mistakenly believe that this assertion makes it irrelevant whether the administration lied.

A legitimate case existed for threatening force against Saddam if he did not allow international inspectors back into Iraq, perhaps even for the ultimate use of that force. Saddam had sought nuclear as well as chemical and biological weapons in the past. In fact, the world discovered after the first Gulf War that Iraq was much further along in the development of a nuclear weapon than we previously thought. Saddam had kicked international inspectors out in 1998, and had shown clear hostile intentions toward other nations in his region and to the United States. By late 2002, we did not know what WMD Iraq had or was trying to develop. Arguably, we could not afford not to know. The inspectors had to go back in and the only way to do that was to threaten military force.

But this is not the case the administration made. The holes that have appeared in the case they made have done deep and lasting damage to our standing in the world and have undermined the confidence the American people have in their government. Congress can begin to repair this damage by getting to the bottom of the administration's actions during the build up to the Iraq war. Anything less does not fulfill our responsibility to the American people.

Democrat Adam Smith represents Washington's 9th Congressional District.



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"We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they are directed toward that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was ten years ago when we began it. And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq, and these are policies that we are going to keep in place." - Colin Powell, FEB 2001

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld should be impeached and then arrested.

ATTENTION CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS. We know you know in your heart that what Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have done with Iraq far exceeds the moral AND legal test for impeachment and shows them to be a clear and present danger to the United States of America. You must stand up and say so.

You have a duty to the American people, yourself and humanity to GO TO THE MAT for bi-partisan, well funded and transparent congressional investigations leading to impeachment. Shut down the governments business if that's what you have to do to move this forward and pound it into the American mind. Use whatever guerilla parliamentary procedure available to you. Say and do nothing else until the GOP agrees to investigate what any sane and just mind considers horrific crimes. No legislation, no issue, no job, nothing you can personally gain or lose is more important (or potentially politically effective) than this effort. Nothing is more important than cutting this cancer from our government. Our safety, perhaps even our very survival depends on it.

Mountains of evidence make clear these people have behaved in ways that make them war criminals and traitors. You must stop them before they take us to war again, before they sell out our national security again, before they destabilize the world to the point of no return. It is your right and your duty. Only you and your fellow elected congressional Democrats can get this done. This is why the people elected you.

Stand shoulder to shoulder, stand tall. Walk down the hall, grab your fellow elected Democrats by the collar, walk out onto the steps, and start saying what you believe. Say it loud, say it together and say it all the time, and you will drag the media and the American mind along. They have committed impeachable offences, they are destroying our national security and our good name, and they are profiting greatly from it. They must be held to account before we follow ancient Rome into the ashes of history.

I PROMISE YOU, in the end, not only will you know you've done the right thing, but you'll come out on top POLITICALLY as well. The American people will come to know traitors and criminals in their midst if you show them often enough what they look like. And in the end, they will be grateful. America needs leaders again. America needs heroes. Will you step up?

Remember this: Americans want leaders who will boldly defend their interests. They have been fooled into thinking the GOP will do so. But the GOP only destroys their interests. If you fight for what is right regarding how the administration lied us into war Americans will see that YOU ARE OUT for their best interests and that you are willing to put it on the line to ensure they are protected.

Senator Rockefeller, if you let Pat Roberts go back on his word to investigate the administrations use of intelligence, history will hunt you down and punish you in the same breath as those who have committed these despicable acts. Where are you? What could be more important than ensuring our leaders don’t twist intelligence to make fraudulent cases for war? As a member of the United States Senate you have the power to make sure this goes forward. You will have to put it on the line to be sure, but this is the right thing to do. Senator, we beg you, live up to your name. Stand tall in important ways.

Congressmen Waxman, Conyers, Lee, Rangel, thank you for all your letters, requests, complaints to the administration and the GOP leadership. You have done far more than most. You have shown you know right from wrong, that you have a heart, and you retain most of your humanity. But all that and a buck will buy America a cup of coffee. You have said many words that needed to be spoken. But it is clear we need different words now. We need words like IMPEACHEMENT and ARREST. Words like TREASON and HIGH CRIMES. Words like WAR PROFITEERING, CORRUPTION and CONSPIRACY.

We, the American people, need to hear from you how the conservatives SOLD OUT THE SECURITY OF OUR COUNTRY, OF OUR CHILDREN AND OUR LOVED ONES in order to try and COVER UP THEIR FRAUDLENT CASE FOR WAR. They LIED to bring this nation to war. We need to hear these words from you and your fellow congressional Democrats EVERY DAY.

These are simple concepts and the evidence is clear. Once you push these words and ideas into the American mind the game will be over. In fact, you have the chance to crush the Republican Party. With this war and the way in which we were driven to it you have the great weight of the truth. Avail yourselves of it often enough and you will crush the conservative movement.

It is clear the intransigence of this administration and the GOP leadership knows no bounds. They won’t budge until the American people demand it. The way to make that happen is for you and your fellow Democrats to shut-it-all-down, by whatever means necessary, until the evidence and consequences of their crimes are detailed in congressional investigations and front and center in our media culture. Your action will force Joe Sixpack to come to a conclusion about what you are saying. The cold, hard reality of the evidence and a few GOP rats fleeing the ship to avoid the rising water will take care of the rest.

You owe your constituents and humanity a course of action that is effective. Time is short. The situation is dire. Our rate of decay is exponential. We’re losing entire cities at a time. Impeachment was designed to save the nation from just this kind of leadership. It’s time for you to get out there and speak truth to power.

Now is your time. Write a chapter of great American history or forever be damned to the footnotes in another tale of empire gone by. America as we know it depends on your actions in the next weeks and months. History has an especially keen eye on these days. May it hold you in high regard. God speed…

This is an admirable goal.

To achieve it, the solution is to show why, in the absense of Congressional fact finding, the RNC interests are at risk.

Then, you will have your answer of, "how to win the disaffected RNC members."

Aim to first win the election, not just talk about what Congress should do.

Remind the RNC that it is in their interests to know what really happened, and that "failing to find out" will only allow the White House to further embarrass the RNC membership.

Without a leadership correction, all that the RNC has fought for will soon come undone. When the truth surfaces, Americans will vote their memories, not as easily swayed to believe the RNC non-sense.

The RNC runs the risk of tainting their party for more than an election, but generations; and not just within the DNC, but their own party.

It remains to be seen whether the leaders in the RNC see what is at stake, and that it is best to remove themselves from the stage; or whether they wish to continue to assert this non-sense, and ask the stage manager to ban them from the theater.

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