123 Silent Congress Members

By David Swanson

Over two years ago, the following 123 Democratic Congress Members did something extraordinary.

Abercrombie; Allen; Baird; Baldwin; Becerra; Berkley; Bishop; Blumenauer; Brown, Corrine; Brown, Sherrod; Butterfield; Capps; Capuano; Carson; Christensen; Clay; Cleaver; Clyburn; Conyers; Cooper; Cummings; Davis, Danny; Davis, Susan; DeFazio; DeGette; Delahunt; DeLauro; Dingell; Doggett; Doyle; Eshoo; Farr; Fattah; Filner; Ford; Frank; Green; Grijalva; Gutierrez; Hastings; Hinchey; Holt; Honda; Hooley; Inslee; Jackson; Jackson-Lee; Jefferson; Johnson, Eddie Bernice; Kaptur; Kennedy; Kildee; Kilpatrick; Kucinich; Larsen, Rick; Larson, John; Lee, Barbara; Levin; Lewis; Lofgren; Maloney; Markey; Matsui; McCarthy; McDermott; McGovern; McKinney; McNulty; Meehan; Meek; Meeks; Michaud; Millender-McDonald; Miller, Brad; Miller, George; Moore, Gwen; Moran; Nadler; Napolitano; Neal; Oberstar; Olver; Owens; Pallone; Pascrell; Pastor; Payne; Pelosi; Price, David; Rangel; Rothman; Rush; Sanchez, Linda; Sanders; Schakowsky; Scott, Bobby; Serrano; Sherman; Skelton; Slaughter; Smith, Adam; Solis; Stark; Strickland; Tauscher; Thompson, Bennie; Tierney; Towns; Tubbs Jones; Udall, Mark; Udall, Tom; Van Hollen; Velazquez; Wasserman Schultz; Waters; Watson; Watt; Waxman; Weiner; Wexler; Woolsey; Wu; Wynn.

They delivered a letter, also signed by over half a million other Americans, to the White House. The letter asked the following questions about the Downing Street Minutes:

1) Do you or anyone in your administration dispute the accuracy of the leaked document?
2) Were arrangements being made, including the recruitment of allies, before you sought congressional authorization to go to war?
3) Was there an effort to create an ultimatum about weapons inspectors in order to help with the justification for the war, as the minutes indicate?
4) At what point in time did you and Prime Minster Blair first agree it was necessary to invade Iraq?
5) Was there a coordinated effort with the US intelligence community and/or British officials to “fix” intelligence and facts around the policy, as the leaked document states?

One of the 123 signers of that letter has for the past 10 months been the Speaker of the House of Representatives. She and the other 122 have, for 10 months, gone completely silent on the matter.

Following up on the letter, 84 Congress Members did something else. They signed onto a privileged Resolution of Inquiry sponsored by Congresswoman Barbara Lee “requesting the President and directing the Secretary of State to transmit to the House of Representatives not later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of this resolution all information in the possession of the President and the Secretary of State 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.”

After a huge effort by citizens to drive the issue forward, the resolution came within a vote or two of passing the House International Relations Committee but failed. An identical fate met a second resolution sponsored by Congressman Dennis Kucinich and taken to the House International Relations Committee by Lee. This one had 110 signatures “requesting the President of the United States and directing the Secretary of State to provide to the House of Representatives certain documents in their possession relating to the White House Iraq Group.”

Neither Lee nor Kucinich has reintroduced these resolutions. In their defense, they and a total of 22 congress members have signed onto a bill that cuts to the chase and proposes the impeachment of Dick Cheney. But where are the roughly 100 members of Congress who claimed to want to know the truth when Republicans controlled the House and its committees? What is the House Intelligence Committee doing other than wasting time on destructive bills that are signed into law and decent ones that are vetoed? What is the House International Relations Committee doing? Where is John Conyers? And where in the world is Nancy Pelosi?

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