Tuesday, June 07, 2005

WHAT WITH "DEEP THROAT" revealing his identity at the same moment that John Conyers and a network of bloggers and activist groups are ratcheting up the pressure on Congress to investigate the possibility that Pres. Bush committed impeachable offenses by lying about his decision to invade Iraq and about the intelligence to support that decision, the last thing Republicans want is reminders of Watergate.

It may be a sign of their growing nervousness that some at Big Brass Alliance and After Downing Street have been starting to hear rumors that the Republican leadership is planning to do damage control by claiming that the "Iraq Liberation Act of 1998" (HR 4655) gave Pres. Bush all the authorization he needed to invade Iraq. This claim would supposedly invalidate the British intelligence director's assertion, in the Downing Street minutes, that Bush had made up his mind to invade Iraq by July of 2003, and that he had instructed his staff to prepare the intelligence in accordance with the already firm decision.

That claim is bogus, here is why (via Smintheus):

The bill does not authorize the President to invade Iraq. It authorizes him to work with those in Iraq who want to replace the dictatorship with a democracy. Furthermore, if Bush actually believed that HR 4655 authorized him to invade Iraq, why did he not say so and let it stand at that? Why did he ask Congress for authority to invade Iraq in October 2002? Why did he seek a UN resolution to authorize an invasion? Above all (and here's the kicker), why did he deceive the nation during the year before the invasion about his plans and his grounds for taking action? Why did he allow the facts and the intelligence on alleged WMDs and links to terrorism to be fixed around his policy of overthrowing Hussein?

Furthermore--and this is extremely important, folks--whatever Bush actually thought about HR 4655 (which is now virtually unproveable), it did not give him authority to misappropriate funds that Congress had appropriated for the war in Afghanistan. We've heard that at least 700 million dollars were shifted out of Iraq to the Gulf to support the secret shift of troops and materiel there. According to Senator Graham's book, Tommy Franks told him in Feb. 2002 that large numbers of forces were being shifted out of Afghanistan already, and that the war was now in Iraq. Did Bush ask Congress for permission to use funds appropriated for Afghanistan for the new war he was creating in Iraq? Graham was shocked by the revelation from Franks, so on the face of it the answer appears to be that he did not. Therefore it looks to be a clear case of misappropriation of funds on a massive scale. That is a crime, whether done by a President or by any other federal official. As they used to say in Watergate days, 'Follow the money.'

There is no way that Republican jibber jabber about HR 4655 will eliminate this most glaring of all questions about the rush to war. We must not lose sight of it.

The After Downing Street movement is truly exploding in size and influence. The Big Brass Alliance now has 327 blogger members; 145,000 people have signed the letter to Pres. Bush; and 89 members of Congress have signed on. But the mainstream media still is more interested in the beautiful, blonde, white, missing teenager in Aruba than it is in the possibility that the president of the United States lied to the American people and to Congress.

We have to make them care, by not going away and by not shutting up.

Here are some resources for research, self-education, and talking points when contacting the media and government officials:

  • One of the diarists at Daily Kos has put up a huge list of links to resource material that supports the revelations in the Downing Street minutes.
  • Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has a very useful media contact list.
  • Steve J. at Radamisto put up names and contact information for the House Judiciary Committee back in May. (John Conyers is on this committee.)

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. " -- Frederick Douglass

No comments: