MoveOn.org Team – 2005-06-13 09:25:48
(June 9, 2005) — The “Downing Street Memo” contains smoking gun evidence that the president knowingly lied to the country by “fixing” intelligence on Iraq’s WMD’s to justify a pre-planned rush to war. For weeks President Bush has refused to respond. Now Rep. Conyers is aiming to personally present Bush with 500,000 signatures demanding an explanation. Please sign today:
Last month, the Times of London printed “smoking gun” evidence that long before the invasion of Iraq the Bush administration was determined to go to war, intentionally distorting intelligence, and lying to the American people.
The proof comes from the classified minutes of a British cabinet meeting, referred to as the “Downing Street Memo.” So far President Bush has refused to explain or directly respond to the memo, but pressure is mounting daily from Congress and the public.
This week Tony Blair visited Washington and the press finally started asking the obvious questions — creating a critical opportunity to turn up the heat.
One Congressman, John Conyers of Michigan, has started a citizens petition — demanding that Bush directly respond to the evidence of deception contained in the Downing Street Memo. When half a million Americans sign, Rep. Conyers will personally deliver the signatures to the gates of the White House.
If we can reach 500,000 signatures today we can bring this scandal to light while the story is still hot. Please add your voice today:
The smoking gun memo quotes high level British officials during a July 23rd, 2002 cabinet meeting, discussing recent conversations with the Bush Administration on their decision to invade Iraq and the manipulation of intelligence to back it up. Below are two key excerpts:
Sir Richard Dearlove, Director of the British foreign intelligence service, (MI6) reported on his recent meetings in Washington:
Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. 
Later British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw added:
It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. 
The British government has not disputed the authenticity or accuracy of the smoking gun memo, even in the few crucial days after the story broke before Tony Blair’s re-election.
What the Bush administration told these foreign officials is the exact opposite of what the President repeatedly told Congress and the American people about his decision before the invasion, and what he continues to claim — that he was trying to avoid a war America did not want, and that intelligence about the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was clear and compelling. 
Why is it important to confront the Bush administration now and get this story out?
The Bush administration continues to peddle falsehoods about the rush to war and intelligence manipulation, despite overwhelming evidence from former administration officials, and now our closest allies. Two weeks ago, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told troops stationed in Iraq: “This war came to us, not the other way around.”
And just yesterday Bush avoided a direct question about the Downing Street Memo by simply reiterating his claim that the war was a choice of last resort.
We must make it clear that lying to the people and our representatives about the life and death choices we face must not go unaddressed. Democracy cannot function without truth from our leaders, and it’s time for the deception to end.
With limited news coverage and an administration completely dismissive of any evidence it doesn’t like, exposing the truth can feel like a daunting challenge. But we’ve been here before.
Many of us joined MoveOn at a time when the White House and the press didn’t believe there could be any real opposition to the President’s war, and it took millions of us working together to prove them wrong. That time has come again.
Please help take the first crucial step by helping Representative Conyers directly confront President Bush with signatures and comments from 500,000 Americans demanding a real response to the Downing Street Memo—and the truth about the war.
• For more information about the Downing Street Memo, including the full text, visit http://www.downingstreetmemo.com/
• To read the full text of Representative Conyers’ sign on letter, go to: http://www.moveonpac.org/tellthetruth/conyersletter.html?id=5653-530548-ZBgt2kJnbFMiRTD9RdiU2g&t=5
 The Downing Street Memo, http://www.moveon.org/r?r=741
 The Downing Street Memo, http://www.moveon.org/r?r=741
 CNN, Bush asked to explain UK War Memo May 12, 2005 http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/11/britain.war.memo/
 There are dozens of quotes by Bush and senior administration officials containing false claims about invasion plans and WMD’s compiled by the Center for American Progress, and searchable here: http://www.claimvfact.com/
Here are just a few directly from the President and the White House official statements, made before the war and after the time of the Downing Street Memo:
• “Of course, I haven’t made up my mind we’re going to war with Iraq.” [10/1/02]
• “Hopefully, we can do this peacefully — don’t get me wrong. And if the world were to collectively come together to do so, and to put pressure on Saddam Hussein and convince him to disarm, there’s a chance he may decide to do that. And war is not my first choice, don’t — it’s my last choice.” [11/7/02]
• “This is our attempt to work with the world community to create peace. And the best way for peace is for Mr. Saddam Hussein to disarm. It’s up to him to make his decision.” [12/4/02]
• “The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons… And according to the British government, the Iraqi regime could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes.” [9/26/2002]
• “I expected to find the weapons [because] I based my decision on the best intelligence possible…The evidence I had was the best possible evidence that he had a weapon. [2/8/2004]
 CNN, “Rice makes surprise visit to Iraq” May 15, 2005 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=739
 New York Times, “Bush and Blair Deny ‘Fixed’ Iraq Reports” June 8th 2005 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=740