Hon. John Conyers / US Congress – 2005-05-29 14:15:12
(May 27, 2005) — I have written to you in this space on a number of occasions about my profound concern about the implications of the “Downing Street Memo,” which actually consists of the minutes of a July 2002 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers. During this meeting, Blair and his advisers reveal details about conversations with their American counterparts.
These details cast substantial doubt on the honesty of contemporaneous claims made by the Administration to Congress and to the American people about the Iraq war.
First, the memo appears to directly contradict the Administration’s assertions to Congress and the American people that it would exhaust all options before going to war. According to the minutes, in July 2002, the Administration had already decided to go to war against Iraq.
Second, a debate has raged in the United States over the last year and one half about whether the obviously flawed intelligence that falsely stated that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction was a mere “failure” or the result of intentional manipulation to reach foreordained conclusions supporting the case for war.
The memo appears to close the case on that issue stating that in the United States the intelligence and facts were being “fixed” around the decision to go to war.
These are not routine questions within a partisan give and take. Under the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 8), the Congress has the sole power to declare war. If the Executive Branch deceives the Congress in this duty, it represents an attack of our democracy of the most serious nature.
These Constitutional questions are not going away and must be answered forthrightly and completely by this Administration.
I and 88 of my colleagues (that number is growing — more on that soon) asked the Administration to come clean about these troubling allegations. Our inquiries have been met with silence.
The press has also been negligent in giving this matter the attention it deserves.
I am committed to seeing this through until we get the answers we deserve. But I need your help.
The conventional wisdom, which unfortunately governs Washington’s political discourse, hold that the American people have long ago made peace with the mistakes or deceptions which led us into war. Help me prove them all wrong. I want to show the White House, the Press and my congressional colleagues that nothing could be further from the truth.
That is why today I am giving you the opportunity to sign on to a letter asking the same questions of the President that now nearly 100 Members of Congress have asked. If I get at least 100,000 signatures on this, I will personally deliver the letter to the White House.
• If you want to sign on to this letter, go to my website:
• Or click here.
I also want you to know that I am exploring many, many avenues to get to the truth about this matter.
Thank you in advance for your help and assistance.
LETTER TO PRES BUSH CONCERNING “DOWNING STREET MEMO”
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Dear Mr. President:
We the undersigned write to you because of our concern regarding recent disclosures of a “Downing Street Memo” in the London Times, comprising the minutes of a meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers.
These minutes indicate that the United States and Great Britain agreed to by the summer of 2002 to attack Iraq, well before the invasion and before you even sought Congressional authority to engage in military action, and that US officials were deliberately manipulating intelligence to justify the war.
Among other things, the British government document quotes a high-ranking British official as stating that by July, 2002, “Bush had made up his mind to take military action.” Yet, a month later, the you stated you were still willing to “look at all options” and that there was “no timetable” for war.
Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, flatly stated that “[t]he president has made no such determination that we should go to war with Iraq.”
In addition, the origins of the false contention that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction remains a serious and lingering question about the lead up to the war. There is an ongoing debate about whether this was the result of a “massive intelligence failure,” in other words a mistake, or the result of intentional and deliberate manipulation of intelligence to justify the case for war. The memo appears to resolve that debate as well, quoting the head of British intelligence as indicating that in the United States “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”
As a result of these concerns, we would ask that you respond to the following questions:
1) Do you or anyone in your administration dispute the accuracy of the leaked document?
2) Were arrangements being made, including the recruitment of allies, before you sought Congressional authorization to go to war? Did you or anyone in your Administration obtain Britain’s commitment to invade prior to this time?
3) Was there an effort to create an ultimatum about weapons inspectors in order to help with the justification for the war as the minutes indicate?
4) At what point in time did you and Prime Minister Blair first agree it was necessary to invade Iraq?
5) Was there a coordinated effort with the U.S. intelligence community and/or British officials to “fix” the intelligence and facts around the policy as the leaked document states?
These are the same questions 89 Members of Congress, led by Rep. John Conyers, Jr., submitted to you on May 5, 2005. As citizens and taxpayers, we believe it is imperative that our people be able to trust our government and our commander in chief when you make representations and statements regarding our nation engaging in war. As a result, we would ask that you publicly respond to these questions as promptly as possible.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
>b>PREVIOUS NHNE NEWS LIST ARTICLES:
• IRAQ BOMBSHELL GOES MOSTLY UNREPORTED IN US MEDIA (5/11/2005):
• 88 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS SEEK IRAQ WAR ANSWERS FROM BUSH (5/8/2005):