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Panel Discusses White House Case for War on 3rd Anniversary of Downing Street Meeting
By Political Desk
Congresswoman Barbara Lee hosted a Town Hall meeting at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland on Saturday to address the manipulation of pre-war intelligence, the unclassified minutes of the Downing Street meeting, and the war in Iraq.
"There is no more solemn or important decision that a President or a nation can make than that of putting troops in harm's way and going to war," said Lee. "The Downing Street memo and other classified documents have raised grave and serious questions about the circumstances under which our troops were sent to war, and the American people deserve to know the truth."
Lee was joined by panelists, including Daniel Ellsberg, author and lecturer; Steve Cobble, of AfterDowningStreet.org; Bill Mitchell, of Gold Star Families for Peace, and representatives of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
On Thursday, Congresswoman Lee introduced a Resolution of Inquiry to require the President and Secretary of State to give Congress all information relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom relating to U.S. policy in Iraq between January 1, 2002 and October 16, 2002, the date Congress authorized the President to use force in Iraq. Lee's bill, which has 26 co-sponsors, is a privileged resolution, which means that if it is not acted on in 14 legislative days, Lee will be entitled to request that it be brought to the House floor for a vote.
The Town Hall was held on the third anniversary of the secret meeting between U.S. and British officials in 2002 whose minutes have come to be known as the "Downing Street Memo." Over the past two months, 131 Members of Congress have written the President and more than 575,000 people have signed petitions demanding answers from the White House. All of these inquiries have gone unanswered.
"This Town Hall meeting is about exposing the truth, it is about asking the difficult questions, and it is about demonstrating that the American public will demand accountability," said Lee. "We will proceed with the Resolution of Inquiry and whatever other measures are necessary. We will demand answers, we will demand accountability and we won't stop until we get them."
Eight other members of Congress are also holding town hall meetings to discuss the case for war and call for answers to the serious questions that have come to light about the Bush administration's case for invading Iraq.