Thursday, June 30, 2005

Attempt at tearing the veil

June 30 2005
Attempt at tearing the veil

AN INTENSE campaign is under way in cyberspace to support a move by US Congresswoman Barbara Lee (Democrat - California) to force the Bush administration to reveal whether it had decided to invade and occupy Iraq by mid-2002 — months before it sought congressional approval for military action against Saddam Hussein.
Lee has submitted a resolution of inquiry into this effect to the House of Representatives and the motion has been referred to the assembly's Committee on International Relations.
If adopted, the motion will require the White House and the State Department to transmit to the House of Representatives not later than 14 days after the date of its adoption all information relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom between Jan.1, 2002, and Oct.16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq."
The resolution is supported by 26 other members of the House of Representatives.
In formal terms, President George W Bush and Secretary of State Condaleezza Rice would be required to provide "all documents, including telephone and electronic mail records, logs, calendars, minutes, and memos, in the possession" of the president and secretary of state relating to communications with officials of the United Kingdom from Jan.1, 2002, to Oct.6, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq, "including any discussions or communications between the president or other administration officials and officials of the United Kingdom that occurred before the meeting on July 23, 2002, at 10 Downing Street in London, England, between Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom, United Kingdom intelligence officer Richard Dearlove, and other national security officials of the Blair administration."
Proponents of the resolution are asking Americans to support it by pressuring their respective members of congress into not only voting in its favour but also explain in the House of Representatives why if they do not favour it.
"Tell them that you will not vote for anyone that votes against the inquiry," says a comment appearing on
The motion is linked to the minutes of a secret meeting held at the British prime minister's office on July 23, 2002 that have come be known as the "Downing Street memo." It quotes Richard
Dearlove of the MI6 intelligence agency as telling the meeting that he had found in talks with American officials that the Bush administration had already taken a decision to invade Iraq and was intelligence reports to be doctored to justify the decision. It was not until October 2002 that the administration secured congressional approval for military action against Iraq in the pretext that Saddam Hussein had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and posed a direct threat to the national security of the US.
The memo states that by the summer of 2002, President Bush had decided to overthrow Saddam by launching a war which, Dearlove reports, would be "justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD."
Dearlove continues: "But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." Dearlove also told the meeting that "there was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the same meeting that "it seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided." "But," he continues, "the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, and Iran."
The White House and State Department have withheld direct comment on the memo. President Bush evaded a direct answer to a question put to him at a joint press conference with visiting Blair a few weeks ago. He maintained that he had always sought a "peaceful" solution to the Iraq crisis and it was only when all options were exhausted, including UN involvement, that he decided to take military action.
If the Downing Street memo reflects the reality — as its proponents believe it does — then it would be established that the president lied to the US Congress.
The Bush administration would not be able to block the release of all communications in the Iraq context made between Jan.1 2002 and Oct.6, 2002 if the US Congress asks it to do so. And those communications would clearly reveal whether the contention made by Dearlove was accurate, the proponents of the Lee resolution say.
A group of nearly 120 members of Congress has submitted a call on the White House to make a formal comment on the Downing Street memo, but the administration has not responded to it.
A flyer accompanying the text of the Lee resolution appearing on is calling on Americans to their congress members to co-sponsor the motion.
The resolution must be voted on in committee within 14 legislative days of its introduction.
The Republicans, who control the House of Representatives International Relations Committee, may take the matter up right away, hoping to vote it down before Congress takes a recess in August. If they do not, they will be required to take it up by Sept.16. The more congress members in the full House of Representatives who co-sponsor the resolution, the more likely committee members are to vote for it.
The appeal on the web site urges that committee members should be asked not only to vote for it but to discuss it at length and engage in a substantive debate when the committee meets, so that members who oppose it have to explain their reasons.
"This resolution is important because the information in the Downing Street documents so strongly suggests that President Bush intentionally deceived Congress about the reasons for war, " it says. "If that is not the case, then releasing the documents requested here will clear that up — something the president should be eager to do."
If the Republicans in the US Congress somehow manage to vote down the resolution, then it would clearly be established that the Bush administration has something to hide in its communications with the Blair government. Thus, the White House is caught in its own trap. It could not afford to release the sought for documents because it would establish the case against the administration. In the other hand, blocking the congressional motion would signal an affirmation that the allegations that the administration had decided to wage war against Iraq but not only kept the elected representatives of the people in the dark but also lied to them.
But then, that is only the tip of the iceberg, given that other documents have surfaced indicating that the Bush administration was planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure "regime change" even before Bush took power in January 2001.
That document, which calls for the creation of a "global Pax Americana" was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice- president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (formerly Rumsfeld's deputy), George W Bush's younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
The blueprint shows that the Bush camp planned to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. "The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security," it says. "While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.'
If pursued with vigour and determination, the Lee resolution offers the American Congress and people the opportunity to tear the veil away from the real story of the invasion of Iraq. Both sides seem to have realised it, and we could expect to see a bitter battle in the US Congress, both in public and behind--the-scenes, but all bets are off on the outcome.