By David Swanson
Public awareness of the lies that led to the war and the crimes committed during the war helps build public demand for the troops to come home. Not every committee in Congress can work fulltime on simply ending the war: a legislative process that must be pursued but which will be uphill and subject to veto or signing statement. Many committees in the House and Senate, without taking any energy away from ending the war, can finally conduct the investigations that have gone undone for 6 years, exposing evidence that could very well lead to criminal, civil, or political accountability, as well as pressure to end the war and precedent to help prevent the next war.
Ask your Representative and Senators to conduct investigations.
What did Bush and Cheney know about the lack of WMD and ties to 9-11, and when did they know it? The Senate Intelligence Committee committed to doing this investigation years ago and has not done it. Some committee in the House or Senate (probably Intelligence) needs to do it. While much evidence is already public knowledge, we have a right to more, including but not limited to:
• the complete 2002 National Intelligence Estimate;
• the records of National Security Council meetings on Jan. 30, Feb. 1, and March 16, 2001;
• the CIA’s Senior Executive Memorandum of January 12, 2002 on Hussein Kamel;
• the records of Bush’s late July, 2002, budget discussions on Iraq with Nicholas Calio;
• the records of the July 20, 2002, U.S.-U.K. intelligence conference at CIA headquarters;
• the October, 2002, one-page NIE summary described by Murray Waas and discussing aluminum tubes;
• the January, 2003, National Intelligence Council memo on Niger described by the Washington Post;
• the U.S. records of the January 31, 2003, Bush-Blair meeting at the White House
• the British and possible U.S. records of early 2003 conversations between Jack Straw and Colin Powell described by Philippe Sands;
• the complaint filed by a CIA agent in Doe v. Goss claiming he’d been punished for providing unwelcome intelligence;
• the records of the White House Iraq Group’s work of marketing the war to the American public.
During World War II, the Truman Commission investigated war profiteering, activity that Truman characterized as treason but which pales in comparison to what has gone on in Iraq. Waxman or someone else should investigate.
We have yet to obtain information on Cheney’s pre-war energy meetings. The House Energy and Commerce Committee should investigate the influence of the oil industry on U.S. policy. A Congress serious about serving the public would investigate the misuse of information and steps taken and not taken related to the threat of global warming. The Ways and Means Committee should investigate the subsidies given to the oil industry, as well as the misuse of funds to launch the Iraq War prior to Congressional approval. The Veterans Affairs Committee should investigate the treatment of Iraq War veterans, including the effects of depleted uranium.
Levin has said he plans to investigate extraordinary renditions. We need full investigations of detentions, renditions, torture, and murder. The public has a right to see what Bush told the CIA in memos on these practices.
The Armed Services Committees, or some committee, should also investigate violations of the Geneva Conventions found in the targeting by U.S. troops of civilians, journalists, hospitals, and ambulances in Iraq, and the use of illegal weapons, including white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and a new type of napalm.
We also need serious investigations of the numerous illegal warrantless spying programs engaged in by the Bush administration. The gross negligence in failing to assist New Orleans residents after Hurricane Katrina has not yet been seriously investigated. We have not seen the White House Emails from that time. And we’ve not yet seen a proper investigation of Bush’s failure to take steps to protect against an Al Qaeda attack prior to Sept. 11, 2001.
The Bush administration has used paid propaganda and disinformation at home and abroad, selectively and misleadingly leaked classified information, and exposed the identity of a covert CIA operative working on sensitive WMD proliferation. Congress has a responsibility to look into all of these matters.
Conyers has said he plans to investigate election fraud, a crucial matter for our democracy. In addition, someone in some committee needs to investigate the use of “signing statements” to defy hundreds of laws passed by Congress, or it will no longer matter whom we elect.
Find out what committees your representative and senators will serve on in the 110th Congress.
These are some of the more promising and relevant expected chairmanships:
Government Reform: Henry Waxman
Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations: Dennis Kucinich
Judiciary: John Conyers
Subcommittee on the Constitution: Jerrold Nadler
Energy and Commerce: John Dingell
Ways and Means: Charles Rangel
Homeland Security: Bennie Thompson
Veterans Affairs: Bob Filner
International Relations Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: William Delahunt
Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities: Marty Meehan
Intelligence: John Rockefeller
Armed Services: Carl Levin
Energy: Jeff Bingaman
Foreign Relations: Joseph Biden
Judiciary: Patrick Leahy
Veterans Affairs: Daniel Akaka
You can also ask your representative and senators to create a bipartisan select committee to investigate the war.
This guide to needed investigations will be constantly updated at
Research assistance provided by Jonathan Schwartz.