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Conyers Issues Statement in Advance of Hearing; 122 Dems Onboard

06/16/2005 @ 12:31 pm

Filed by RAW STORY

Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) issued this statement in advance of his hearing on the Downing Street documents:

Few issues are more important under our constitutional form of government than the decision to go to war and place our soldiers lives at risk.

It is no insignificant matter when in the fall of 2002 President Bush told us that war would be his last resort. It is not unimportant when on March 6, 2003, the president promised us, "I've not made up [my] mind about military action."

Over the last two months, the veracity of those statements has - to put it mildly -- come into question:

         On May 1, the London Times released the now infamous Downing Street Minutes, in which the head of Britain 's intelligence agency reported "military action [by the U.S. ] was now seen as inevitable ... and "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." A former senior U.S. official subsequently told Knight Ridder that the minutes were "an absolutely accurate description of what transpired."

         On May 29, further documents were released revealing that in the summer of 2002, British and U.S. aircraft had doubled their rates of bombing in Iraq , in an apparent attempt to provoke an excuse for war.

         Last Sunday, the London Times released six new British documents corroborating the Downing Street Minutes and indicating that as early as March of 2002, our government had decided it would be "necessary to create the conditions" to justify war.

         Today Newsweek is reporting that two high ranking British Officials confirmed that by 2002, Iraq 's nuclear weapons program was "effectively frozen" and there was "no recent evidence" tying Iraq to international terrorism.

If these disclosures are true - and so far no one from the Bush Administration has bothered to respond to our letters -- they establish a prima facie case of going to war under false pretenses. This means that more than 1,600 brave Americans and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis would have lost their lives for a lie.

That is why we are here today. That is why 122 Members of Congress -- which as of today includes the Minority Leader -- have asked the president to explain his actions. That is why more than 550,000 Americans are joining with us in demanding answers from the Administration.

We are here because many of us find it unacceptable for any Administration - be it Democratic or Republican - to put our troops in harms way based on false information. The fact that our intelligence turned out to be flawed in no way absolves those who would intentionally mislead our nation or its allies.

We can't do anything in this hearing to change the facts on the ground in Iraq today, but we can pledge today to do everything within our power to find out how we got here and make sure it never happens again.