By David Swanson
Cindy Sheehan has raised the right question: For what noble cause did her son die?
Were the reasons Bush gave Congress for why the war was necessary truthful ones? What did Bush tell Tony Blair three and a half years ago when he invited him, unlike Cindy, in out of the Texas sun?
If anyone can force Bush to answer these questions, or to concede that there are no respectable answers and that the war must end, it is Cindy. She is a remarkable woman. She’s been accused of being used by leftwing groups, but she is driving them. Tonight’s vigils (over 50,000 people have signed up to attend 1,627 events) is the biggest thing to ever hit MoveOn.org. The organizations are following Cindy’s lead, not the other way around.
But I’m not betting any money on Bush choosing to end the war. Clearly it is to Congress that we need to look for elected officials over whom the people of this country may have some power. There is a Resolution of Inquiry sitting in the House International Relations Committee. It’s called H Res 375, and if it passes, it will require the White House and the State Department to “transmit all information relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom between January 1, 2002, and October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq.”
If Casey Sheehan died for a noble cause, Bush can volunteer the documents that this resolution will require him to produce. Not only has he not done so, but he has illegally refused to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from 52 members of Congress asking for similar information.
The National Security Archive today made available recently declassified documents obtained through a FOIA request that show that the Bush Administration was planning to remove Saddam Hussein as early as October 2001. I added this to the huge pile of evidence listed down the left side of the www.afterdowningstreet.org website. I know what Cindy’s reaction will be when she reads it — anger. That was her reaction to the Downing Street Memos and the other evidence that presents so powerful a case that Bush took this nation to war, and cost Casey Sheehan his life, on the basis of lies.
How many Americans can correctly name the two reasons Bush gave Congress for the war? And how many know that both were known by the Bush Administration to be false? How many know that lying to Congress is a felony and a high crime? Here is the formal letter Bush gave Congress on March 18, 2003:
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/611 and here are the Downing Street Minutes:
But that is a British document. We should not have to turn to foreign whistleblowers to find out what our democratic government has been up to. We should be able to see similar documents from this side of the ocean. And we can demand to do so by asking our congress members to co-sponsor H Res 375. The more who co-sponsor (44 so far), the more likely some members of the committee are to vote for it.
If this Resolution does not pass, there will be another Resolution coming. But if it gains significant support, Bush’s credibility will be even more strongly called into question, and the Democrats (all of the co-sponsors thus far are Democrats) will have taken a step toward becoming an opposition party.
It is not too late to schedule a meeting with your congress member while they’re home for August. Everything you need to do so is here:
Demand that Bush meet with Cindy. But demand also that your Congress Member step up to the plate and ask Bush for answers in a way that can force him to reply. He may fly off in a couple of weeks and leave Cindy standing in his jet pollution, but Congress has the power of subpoena and can compel the President to appear.
In the words of Sean Hannity, Fox News, April 6, 1999, Bush must be made to “explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life.”
David Swanson is creator of MeetWithCindy.org, co-founder of the AfterDowningStreet.org coalition, a writer and activist, and the Washington Director of Democrats.com. He is a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, and serves on the Executive Council of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including Press Secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, Media Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as Communications Coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson obtained a Master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1997. His website is www.davidswanson.org
Link to this article: