Remarks at United for Peace and Justice Pre-Lobby Day Event on Jan. 28, 2007
By David Swanson
It’s an honor to be part of this obviously growing movement for peace and justice. Our president took us into war before Congress gave its so-called authorization. He did so without telling Congress or the American people and without Congress appropriating any funds for the purpose. In the summer of 2002, Bush took $2.5 billion – according to the Congressional Research Service – away from other projects, including Afghanistan, and used it to build airfields in Qatar and to begin bombing Iraq in preparation for the full-scale invasion.
That is a crime.
In fact, it’s what the founders of this country would have called a high crime and misdemeanor.
And what do we do about high crimes and misdemeanors?
Our Department of so-called Defense has this kind of money lying around. And this is about the same amount of money that would be needed to bring our troops home in a safe and orderly manner. And if we persuade Congress to cut off funding to extend the war, it may be that Bush will bring our troops home without us having to impeach him. But when Congress found the nerve to cut off the funds for the Vietnam War, it was the pressure of impeachment that persuaded Nixon not to veto, and it was the pressure of the peace movement that drove impeachment forward. Impeachment helps end the war even if we never get all the way to impeachment.
The reason that we need an investigation, accountability, a truth commission for this war is in order to prevent another one. If investigations alone can accomplish that, terrific. If it takes impeachment, then we’ll impeach. If it requires removal from office, then we’ll remove Bush and Cheney from office. But we must begin the investigations. And the investigations must be fearless and must assert the authority of the first branch of our government – the Congress.
Congressman John Conyers will hold hearings on Wednesday into Bush’s use of signing statements, but hearings without a single subpoena. That’s progress, but it’s not the reason we voted the Democrats a majority. We must thank Conyers and demand more: John.Conyers@mail.house.gov
It is an insult to the world that four years after we were lied into an illegal war, the U.S. Congress has not investigated the Bush Administration’s misuse of pre-war intelligence. Congress has not investigated the role of oil companies in planning this war, the waste and fraud of the war contracting, including in the use of mercenaries, the decision to build permanent bases and the ongoing construction of those bases in violation of the law. Congress has not investigated the detentions, the torture, the targeting of civilians, journalists, and hospitals, or the use of illegal weapons, or their effects on the people of Iraq and on U.S. service men and women and private contractors.
In your packets this afternoon will be information on which Senators and Congress Members are on which committees, and which committees to ask for which investigations. Much of the evidence is already known to those of us who search it out, but it needs to be put on our televisions, and more evidence needs to be brought out with the use of subpoenas – a tool that will lead Congress into a conflict with the White House – exactly what is needed to restore democracy to this country and to end the occupation of Iraq, giving the people of that country the chance at long last to begin their struggle forward out from under the shadow of our killing machine.
If in the end we have to impeach Bush and Cheney, it will not be because we feel any animosity toward them. We are the peace movement. They are the makers of war. We will impeach so that future presidents understand that they are not permitted to lie us into illegal wars, to misappropriate funds, to spy without warrants, detain without charges, torture, murder, rewrite laws, hide the workings of our government, and exact retribution against courageous whistleblowers. It’s time for us to get tough on crime. If your Congress Member and Senators won’t demand the truth, then they are covering for criminals, and that’s what we will tell the world about them and the way history will remember them if they fail to act.
We’re sending impeachment to the U.S. House from city and state legislatures as well. Get involved at http://www.afterdowningstreet.org
Demand the truth. Bring em home. Bring em home.