By Ron Stouffer and Rosie Skomitz, CommonSense2
We first encountered David Swanson, co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, when he broke the news of the ‘Downing Street Memo’, a document that many considered a smoking gun proving that George W. Bush lied to make a case for invading Iraq. The memo, from a 2002 British intelligence briefing, indicated that Bush was intent on invading Iraq despite his claims to the contrary. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair lied in order to promote the invasion, ostensibly to remove Saddam Hussein based on alleged links to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Swanson told us that “the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy.” We did not doubt Swanson’s claim then, and the accuracy of his assertion is even more evident in hindsight.
In his latest book, Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, Swanson revisits the crimes and abuses of the Bush-Cheney administration, focuses on the spectrum of shared responsibility, offers suggestions and solutions for a more democratic future, and challenges us to become active citizens and agents of change for the better.
Though the sins of Bush-Cheney were not unique to their administration, they took abuse of power to a new level of brazenness and arrogance and in the process made a mockery of the Constitution. Either we are a nation of laws or we are not. Either we enforce the Constitution or we do not. Failure to hold leaders accountable makes it more likely that future presidents will continue illegal behavior. (Note that Pres. Obama continues the practice of missile strikes in foreign countries, detaining people without charge, renditions, signing statements.)