It's not exactly a news flash that the Bush Administration lied to the public before the invasion of Iraq. What should be on front pages, though, is new proof of the Bush Administration's lies brought to light by the previously unknown Downing Street Minutes, recently obtained and printed in the Times of London. (The Downing Street Memo is a transcript of minutes of a secret meeting chaired by Tomy Blair in Britain in July of 2002 to discuss preparations and propaganda before going to war. It was marked "Secret and strictly personal--UK eyes only.")
The Downing Street Minutes are deserving, in the words of constitutional lawyer John Bonifaz, of an official "Resolution of Inquiry directing the House Judiciary Committee to launch a formal investigation into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach George W. Bush, President of the United States."
Bonifaz, who two years ago took the Bush Administration to court on behalf of a coalition of US soldiers, parents of soldiers and twelve Members of Congress (including John Conyers Jr., Dennis Kucinich, Jesse Jackson Jr., Jim McDermott, José Serrano, Sheila Jackson Lee) to challenge the constitutionality of the Iraq war, adds:
"The question must now be asked, with the release of the Downing Street Memo, whether the President has committed impeachable offenses. Is it a High Crime to engage in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people about the basis for taking the nation into a war? Is it a High Crime to manipulate intelligence so as to allege falsely a national security threat posed to the United States as a means of trying to justify a war against another nation based on 'preemptive' purposes? Is it a High Crime to commit a felony via the submission of an official report to the United States Congress falsifying the reasons for launching military action?"
As in previous investigations of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors," such a "Resolution of Inquiry is the appropriate first step in launching this investigation."
Bonifaz's memorandum making the case for launching a Resolution of Inquiry is posted at www.afterdowningstreet.org/ , a new website founded by David Swanson, Bob Fertik, Bonifaz and others (including this writer), together with a broad array of public interest groups that is posted on the web site.
Our memo is written to Representative Conyers, both because he is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee and because he has been a brave truth-seeker on this issue and so many others. We support his letter demanding answers from the Bush Administration, signed originally by eighty-eight of his House colleagues; his call for 100,000 signatures to back up that letter; and his plan to go to London to seek more answers.
We have also made contact with several other members of Congress, and we believe that it will not be long before a group in Congress officially calls for an ROI.
Unfortunately, as most Nation readers know, the Downing Street Minutes have only been a story in the rest of the world, especially in Britain. In the United States it is taking much longer for the mainstream to pick up on it, and the issue is still being treated far less seriously than the seriousness of the charges warrant.
Fortunately, the blogosphere has found this new proof of George W. Bush's "misleadership" much more compelling than the mainstream press has; writers like Apian have posted incisive diaries on www.dailykos.com/ , which regularly covers the story, as has Georgia10 and her friends, who founded the wonderful site www.downingstreetmemo.com/ .
Despite a slow start, the Downing Street Minutes may have a long life expectancy, and the Misleader of the Pack may yet have to confront the truth.