By David Swanson
Remarks prepared for July 4, 2005, anti-war rally in Washington, D.C.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll last week found 52 percent of Americans believe the Bush administration “deliberately misled the public before the war,” and 57 percent say the Bush administration “intentionally exaggerated its evidence that pre-war Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.”
A Zogby poll last week found 42 percent of Americans say that “if it is found that President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should hold him accountable through impeachment.”
That 42 percent is significantly higher than the 27 percent of Americans who favored impeachment of President Clinton before impeachment proceedings began in 1998.
And there is something that can push these numbers higher still: a two-and-a-half page document called the Downing Street Minutes. How many of you have read it?
It’s not a 500-page bill in Congress that you can only decipher by hiring the lobbyists who wrote it to interpret it for you. The Downing Street Minutes, and seven related documents that have been leaked in England, are short and to the point. They’re remarkably frank, and they’re shocking if you haven’t seen them or if you get your news from the US corporate media.
The Downing Street Minutes are the official minutes of a meeting on July 23, 2002, between Prime Minister Tony Blair, his chief of intelligence, his defence secretary, his foreign secretary, and a few others.
The Downing Street Minutes and related documents (all available online at After Downing Street Dot Org) provide new and compelling evidence that President Bush, by the summer of 2002:
1. secretly decided to go to war;
2. decided to deceive and mislead the Congress and the American people with false claims about both weapons of mass destruction and ties between Saddam Hussein and 9-11;
3. secretly diverted $700 million from the War in Afghanistan and started bombing Iraq to provoke a war;
4. agreed to go to the UN only to “legalize” an illegal invasion – and then walked out of the U.N. when inspections worked.
Items 2 and 3 are both impeachable offenses. It is a felony to knowingly make false statements to Congress. And the U.S. Constitution requires that Congress authorize any war.
Why does this matter? The important thing is to end the war, right? Why should we waste time dredging up old stories about how the war was started