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Expose a Dishonest War: Prevent the Next One

By David Swanson

Remarks prepared for July 4, 2005, anti-war rally in Washington, D.C.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll last week found 52 percent of Americans believe the Bush administration "deliberately misled the public before the war," and 57 percent say the Bush administration "intentionally exaggerated its evidence that pre-war Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons."

A Zogby poll last week found 42 percent of Americans say that "if it is found that President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should hold him accountable through impeachment."

That 42 percent is significantly higher than the 27 percent of Americans who favored impeachment of President Clinton before impeachment proceedings began in 1998.

And there is something that can push these numbers higher still: a two-and-a-half page document called the Downing Street Minutes. How many of you have read it?

It's not a 500-page bill in Congress that you can only decipher by hiring the lobbyists who wrote it to interpret it for you. The Downing Street Minutes, and seven related documents that have been leaked in England, are short and to the point. They're remarkably frank, and they're shocking if you haven't seen them or if you get your news from the US corporate media.

The Downing Street Minutes are the official minutes of a meeting on July 23, 2002, between Prime Minister Tony Blair, his chief of intelligence, his defence secretary, his foreign secretary, and a few others.

The Downing Street Minutes and related documents (all available online at After Downing Street Dot Org) provide new and compelling evidence that President Bush, by the summer of 2002:

1. secretly decided to go to war;

2. decided to deceive and mislead the Congress and the American people with false claims about both weapons of mass destruction and ties between Saddam Hussein and 9-11;

3. secretly diverted $700 million from the War in Afghanistan and started bombing Iraq to provoke a war;

4. agreed to go to the UN only to "legalize" an illegal invasion - and then walked out of the U.N. when inspections worked.

Items 2 and 3 are both impeachable offenses. It is a felony to knowingly make false statements to Congress. And the U.S. Constitution requires that Congress authorize any war.

Why does this matter? The important thing is to end the war, right? Why should we waste time dredging up old stories about how the war was started – stories that those of us in the know already knew about? Isn't it a bit silly and naïve to think anyone will care about this now? Isn't impeachment hopeless in a Republican Congress anyway?

My reply to these sorts of questions begins with this: Even more important than ending this war is preventing the next dozen wars. And that is the opportunity that has been laid at our feet. Not only did some people know already that Bush lied, but some people knew already that many wars over the decades and centuries have been begun on false pretenses. Yet, when have we ever had a body of evidence this early and this authoritative? This opportunity is unique, and it is our responsibility to seize it.

The evidence accumulated at After Downing Street Dot Org includes statements from the President and top officials, books by former cabinet members and advisors, reports from generals and soldiers. The evidence all points in the same direction. What's new about the Downing Street Minutes is their value as an official document that we were never meant to see.

Now is not the moment to lie back smugly and remark that we knew this all before. Democracy is not a spectator sport. The point now is to get the word out to those of our fellow citizens who did not know this all before. Doing so will move Congress in the direction of an investigation, the Democratic Party in the direction of becoming a true opposition party and a true people's party, and the country in the direction of ending the war.

Because, if Americans no longer believe the official reasons for starting the war (WMDs and ties to 9-11), they are much less likely to believe the official reasons for continuing the war (democracy building and ties to 9-11). And if Americans learn to be suspicious about the stated reasons for beginning wars, the next war will be much harder to pull off.

The Vietnam Syndrome is the name given to Americans' reluctance to tolerate a long war with lots of American deaths. The opportunity we have before us is to make the Iraq Syndrome the name we give to Americans' reluctance to believe a war is truly being launched in order to preempt a threat.

If Presidents who contemplate lying the nation into war know that they could face an investigation and impeachment, wars will virtually come to an end. We might just see less of our tax dollars spent on them. We might just see General Electric (NBC) investing a little less in weapons – and perhaps a little more in journalism.

It's not just snobby liberals who dismiss the Downing Street Minutes as old news. The primary promoters of that idea are media gatekeepers. But, think about what that means. If it's old news that the President deceived the Congress and the American people about the reasons for war, and if it's old news that he launched a secret war, and if we are supposed to sit back and yawn, then what kind of a society are we living in? Is it one with any meaningful checks and balances still in place upon the executive branch? Is it the society that the revolutionaries of 1776 gave their lives for?

The fact is that this is not old news at all. A strong majority of Bush voters last November told exit pollsters that they actually believed that Iraq had WMDs and ties to 9-11. Bush was given 30 primetime commercial-free minutes by the Disney Corporation (ABC) to make the same false claims again last week. He is still saying that the war was a response to 9-11, that it was necessitated by a threat from Iraq, that it is part of a global war on those behind 9-11.

We have a lot of work ahead of us in pressuring both Congress and the media to fulfill their responsibilities. Some Congress Members, including John Conyers and Barbara Lee, are moving this issue ahead, but we have a long way to go. We may get a boost from the latest revelations of Karl Rove's machinations.

But this fight is not about how much we dislike Karl Rove or George W. Bush. This is a fight to create a democracy, to ensure that public accountability has a place in our government.

I encourage everyone to visit After Downing Street Dot Org, and to help organize events on July 23rd, the three-year anniversary of the Downing Street meeting.

Thank you.


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re: are we afraid of Bush and the power he has on American
people.... these are the kinds of people that think THINK
they can get away with murder. The Lone Ranger and Tonto ALWAYS
got their man and George Jesse James Bush can be gotten also.
John Conyers and John Dean's Calvary are bringing in the posse.
We, the posse, will be there to help capture the whole stinking, lying, cheating, murdering lot of them. We cannot for one
moment let this pass without dedicating ourselves to maintain the momentum that is occurring. Afraid of Bush/Cheney? No time like the present to find out. This movie is about to end because the Lone
Ranger, Tonto, AND the Calvary always get their man. God Speed.

David, Thanks for this excellent July 4th statement and for all your hard work to maintain this website--the absolute best source of info on the DSM and related issues. Have you considered sending this statement as an op-ed piece in the NYTimes and WashPost? Please do. Make them read it and print it or explain why they refuse to do so. This is a must read for all Americans on this 4th of July.

Judy Munro-Leighton

It's interesting that 57 percent believe Bush lied about Iraq, but only 42 percent think he should be impeached if he did. Hmmm... 57 minus 42 is 15. So 15 percent think he tricked the nation into going to war and they're o.k. with that.

My guess is that the 15 percent are just people who are too simple-minded to figure out how their answers stacked up. Of the 43 percent who didn't say they believe he lied, most of them probably secretly know he did but just didn't want to admit it because they know it would be impeachable.

What they're all really thinking is "it's better to have a president that destroys the economy and causes thousands of American deaths and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, than to have a Democrat as president."

That's similar to what the Democrats thought about Clinton's impeachment, i.e. that it's better to have a president who sexually harasses women in the workplace, perjures himself and suborns perjury, AND gives a false pretext for war (in Kosovo) than to have a Republican as president.

It's a sad state of affairs. Americans have been conditioned to think that party is more important than country.

Great article David Swanson! Thank you.

What do readers here make of the following: A coup d'etat? Wishful thinking or is the CIA up to something against Bush and Cheney? Here's a few clips from the following:

First Clue: James Pavitt was Valerie Plame's boss. So was George Tenet.


Willing disclosure of the identity of a covert operative is a serious felony under Federal law, punishable by fine and/or imprisonment. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 makes it a crime for anyone with access to classified information to intentionally disclose information identifying a covert operative. The penalties get worse for doing it to a deep cover Direcorate of Operations (DO) case officer (as opposed to an undercover DEA Agent).

After John Ashcroft was forced to recuse himself from the case, Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, was transferred to Washington and appointed special prosecutor in the Plame case.

Robert Novak, rightly standing by the journalistic code of ethics, has steadfastly refused to identify his White House source. We would do the same thing in his shoes. The investigation is nearing a climax with pending issuance of criminal indictments. Press reports citing sources close to the investigation have directly and indirectly pointed fingers at Dick Cheney and his Chief of Staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, as suspects.

Second clue: The criminal investigation of the Plame leak was investigated after a September 2003 formal request from the CIA, approved by George Tenet.

Third clue: Tenet's resignation, which occurred at night, was the first "evening resignation" of a Cabinet-level official since October 1973 when Attorney General Elliott Richardson and his deputy, William Ruckelshaus, resigned in protest of Richard Nixon's firing of Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Many regard this as the watershed moment when the Nixon administration was doomed.

Fourth clue: Bush and Cheney have both hired or consulted private criminal defense attorneys in anticipation of possible indictments of them and/or their top assistants in the Plame investigation. On June 3, just hours before Tenet suddenly resigned, President Bush consulted with and may have retained a criminal defense attorney to represent him in the Plame case.


Now, seemingly all of a sudden, Bush and Cheney are in the crosshairs. Cheney has been questioned by Fitzgerald within the last week.

The CIA Director's job by definition, whether others like it or not, is to be able to go to his President and advise him of the real scientific data on foreign resources (especially oil); to warn him of pending instability in a country closely linked to the US economy; and to tell him what to plan for and what to promise politically in his foreign policy. In light of her position in the CIA's relationship with Saudi Aramco, the outing of Valerie Plame made much of this impossible. In short, the Bush leak threatened National Security.

Former White House Counsel and Watergate figure John Dean, writing for the prestigious legal website on June 4th made some very ominous observations that appear to have gone unnoticed by most.

This action by Bush is a rather stunning and extraordinary development. The President of the United States is potentially hiring a private criminal defense lawyer. Unsurprisingly, the White House is doing all it can to bury the story, providing precious little detail or context for the President's action…

Last and final clue: Under Executive Privilege, a principle intended to protect the constitutional separation of powers, officials in the Executive Branch cannot give testimony in a legal case against a sitting President. The Bush administration has invoked or threatened to invoke the privilege several times. Dick did it over the secret records of his energy task force and George Bush tried to use it to prevent Condoleezza Rice from testifying before the "Independent" Commission investigating September 11th.

...(not surprisingly) Tenet and the CIA were and remain much better at covert operations and planning ahead than the Bush administration ever was. Tenet and Pavitt actually prepared and left a clear, irrefutable and incriminating paper trail which not only proves that they had shunned and refused to endorse the documents, the CIA also did not support the nuke charges and warned Bush not to use them.

Where are those documents now? They're part of the Justice Department Plame investigation - and they're also in the hands of the Congressman who will most likely introduce and manage the articles of impeachment, if that becomes necessary: Henry Waxman (D), of California. If you would like to see how tightly the legal trap has been prepared, and how carefully the evidence has been laid out, I suggest taking a look around Waxman's web site at:

Abu Ghraib and Torture

A former CIA official told Madsen that between the Plame leak and the Abu Ghraib torture affair, the Bush administration is facing something that will be "worse than Watergate."


If both Bush and Cheney are removed or resign, what happens? Madsen reported that lobbyists and political consultants in Washington are dusting off their copies of the Constitution and checking the line of presidential succession.

One lobbyist said he will soon pay a call on Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens, who, as President pro tem of the Senate, is second in line to House Speaker Dennis Hastert to become President in the event Bush and Cheney both go.

It is one of the greatest ironies of the Plame affair that the Bush administration, spawned and nurtured by oil, might have committed suicide by vindictively, cruelly and unthinkingly exacting personal retribution on an intelligence officer who had committed no offense, and who was, quite possibly, providing the administration with critical oil-related intelligence which the President needed to manage our shaky economy and affairs of state for a while longer to squeak through to re-election. In our opinion, nothing better epitomizes the true nature of the Neocons.

That being said, they have to go. FTW wishes that it was as certain that what will come after them will be better.

That article, by Michael Ruppert, speaks of an "imminent" coup d'etat, but it's dated June 8, 2004. And it predicts that the coup will take place before the Republican National Convention last August. So it's safe to say that the likelihood is exaggerated.

A coup d'etat is a covert operation by the US government to take control of another country's government by installing a puppet regime. There would be no reason to do that here -- they already control our government.

If impeachment ever becomes a serious threat, as the article suggests, and as it certainly should, particularly now that Karl Rove has been outed in the Plame case by Time magazine, the administration will probably just set up another 9/11-style bombing and use that as a pretext to declare martial law.

I can't be there, sadly. You people be careful and watch each other's backs. Expect dirty tricks. Have plenty of cameras around.

There's somethinbg we forgot after 1975... We forgot as a people to raise our right hands all together and swear "No more Viet Nams!"

I thought we had learned a lesson as a people...destroying a village to save it is a crime against humanity.

The ones who didn't get it still swear we could have won if "blah had only done blah blah!"

I see the same pomposity in the faces of the architects of this mess that I saw in 1965. If this Iraq thing were an airplane, no one would fly in it.

"Occupy" is not as easy as it seems. Long periods of boredonm and then in an instant, a life and death situation.

When I was an ARMY guy..(1969 - 1972) I went to Basic and AIT at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO... Infantry and Combat Engineers. I liked building bridges out of logs that just happened to be there and fit together. It was like a lifesize Lincoln Logs set. Then, once we built it, we blew it up.

Then I went to OCS at Ft. Sill. The only introduction to the conflict we were about to face were several (maybe 3) walks thru a Viet Nam village.

And, once we looked for booby traps and set off most of them (flash bang) and once in OCS we were ambushed; our training there was to charge the enemy... otherwise yer' pretty much toast.

That was all...

Raise your right hand and repeat after me: " I, state your name, will never nominate or vote for a Texas oil tycoon, no matter what party , religion, race or sexual persuasion he or she may be, especially if he is a rich white man who never served in a war."

I wrote my complaint to the GAO, did you?

By Terry Thurber

Al-Jazeerah, July 4, 2005

Regarding possible embezzlement and fraud by the US Department of Defense and other agencies of the United States of America.

Dear GAO,

I need to remind that the GAO's allegiance is to the Constitution and the Corporate United States of America (of which there are over 200 Million stakeholders), and not elected or appointed officials granted privileges under that charter. I note that recently the GAO, under threat of reduced funding by some officials, has failed to enforce "her" charter. This failure could be grounds for a criminal cause against the GAO. The GAO is funded by, and answerable to, the citizens of the US and not any elected or appointed employee of the government.

There are reports that almost 10 Billion USD from US the treasury (of US taxpayer monies) is unaccounted for in Iraq and elsewhere. There are also reports that the DoD is not able to account for several "TRILLION" dollars of taxpayer funds.

Should the GAO fail to take action IMMEDIATELY to explain this apparent "embezzlement", I will pursue whatever legal remedies are available and sue for an explanation.

Should elected or appointed employees of the US government attempt "extort" the GAO to not abide by its charter and account for these funds, it could be cause for action against those employees and the GAO. In this case any non-disclosures you have with the current US regime would be void and GAO employees would be expected to, and should exercise their duty as citizens and patriots to describe these criminal activities in a public forum.

It's better to loose your job than it is to be a traitor. We expect an announcement of your intentions to account for these discrepancies of our treasury accounts immediately.

Failure to do so would be cause for a criminal complaint against the GAO by the citizens of the United States of America.

Thank you,

Terry Thurber, US Citizen.

The above in in response for my request that the GAO investigate fraudulent use and abuse of citizen/taxpayers funds and property on 7/2/05.

If you dance with the devil,
Then you haven't got a clue.
'Cause you think you'll change the Devil,
But the Devil changes you!


After reading the previous comments I am encouraged by their remarks. I just told our nephew last night that I thought we would not hear any more about the Dowining Street papers and the meeting they had in the basement of the White House. I watched and listened with great interest. Have you noticed that Bush always leads us into a different path of thinking when we have a solid position against him? Now this terrible bombing in London gives him another out it seems to me. So glad to read that their will be a follow up on the Downing Street papers--let`s get him and take Cheney along with him.

Is it really neccessary to impeach George Bush? Is it even proper to address him as President ? The 2000 election was the result of a political coup. Bush and his cronies literally moved themselves into the White House even as a recount was being conducted.Does the fact that the Democratic senate did not stand up for the will of their constituents and demand the recount of the majority black vote in south Florida qualify the legitimacy of his place in the seat of the United States President ? This movement could not possibly taken place without the wealth and political clout of the Bush family.This would be all well and good if we were a dynasty but we are not.This is not a presumption, this is a fact. Put aside the electoral vote, as this would only pertain if a vote by the people of the United States had been conducted. This was not done as even the most devout Republican leader could argue.You cannot argue with facts. One might argue though as to how this travesty of our electorate process was achieved.Obviously , the people of the United States have very little say regarding the decisions and policies of our government. What perplexes me is what happened to our Democratic Senate who could have, at the very least allowed the final count, already in progress, and the recount in south Florida (which was obviously flawed, given the demographics)be conducted according to the undeniable will of the
Given these circumstances, the results of the 2004 elections should be void ,Bush and his accomplices should be imprisoned and tried for
political and war crimes and the offices should be temporarily filled with competent officials. Not empty suits like Giuliani or his ilk ,who were ignored and disliked before 9/11 and simply, because of their presence at the time gained notoriaty as a hero and a leader.He was simply there. He simply did what any mediocre mayor would do. He grabbed a mike and stood for a photo op, as did Bush and almost every other political figure. The real Heros were the men and women risking life and limb to save others, and to compare Giuliani to them is to cast a pall on their honor. In the same respect,not to denegrate the response and heroic measures of those people, being a Hero is NOT a qualification to the office of the President.
We need to get back to square one and decide what does qualify one to that Office. Forget red state/ blue state, Forget Democrat / Republican. We have problems of critical proportion facing our Nation.
ALL of us. The entire working population of this country , the ONE true majority, are facing the same problems.Whether Republican or Democrat. Every one of the problems facing the vast majority of Americans begins with corporate America,telling us that the problems of rising health care, pharmaceuticals, outsourcing jobs cannot be solved without rising prices and major layoffs. Ridiculous !!How about some sacrifices from people at a high corporate level.How about some serious thought as to how to solve rising costs of Health Care. What makes Group Insurance work ? One word; Group. Who has the largest Group work force in the Country ? Why, It's the Country ! Group the work force together and what do you get? Lower costs due to competition.I'm probably wrong,as this seems to simple as to having been ignored for so long but I have a feeling that many of our problems could be fixed quite simply except there may be some financial recriminations for corporate America. That would be a shame ! Imagine having to live on only a couple of million dollars a year or so !!!
We need some MAJOR changes, some extreme actions, actions that take some real guts from the people in this Country who are in the position to instigate some of these changes.NOW !! I believe they may be surprised by the backing they would receive.
We've been torn apart by this red crap /blue crap long enough and I think all people together are beginning to see the light.Politics like this can only exist if they keep the Country divided.

Fight them! This is no longer a democracy. Fight them, any means necessary.

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