|The 'I' word
By Ralph Nader and Kevin Zeese
05/31/05 " New York Times" -- THE IMPEACHMENT of President Bush and
Vice President Cheney, under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution,
should be part of mainstream political discourse.
Minutes from a summer 2002 meeting involving British Prime Minister
Tony Blair reveal that the Bush administration was "fixing" the
intelligence to justify invading Iraq. US intelligence used to justify
the war demonstrates repeatedly the truth of the meeting minutes --
evidence was thin and needed fixing.
President Clinton was impeached for perjury about his sexual
relationships. Comparing Clinton's misbehavior to a destructive and
costly war occupation launched in March 2003 under false pretenses in
violation of domestic and international law certainly merits
introduction of an impeachment resolution.
Eighty-nine members of Congress have asked the president whether
intelligence was manipulated to lead the United States to war. The
letter points to British meeting minutes that raise "troubling new
questions regarding the legal justifications for the war." Those
minutes describe the case for war as "thin" and Saddam as
"nonthreatening to his neighbors," and "Britain and America had to
create conditions to justify a war." Finally, military action was
"seen as inevitable ... But the intelligence and facts were being
fixed around the policy."
Indeed, there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, nor any
imminent threat to the United States:
The International Atomic Energy Agency Iraq inspection team reported in
1998, "there were no indications of Iraq having achieved its program
goals of producing a nuclear weapon; nor were there any indications
that there remained in Iraq any physical capability for production of
amounts of weapon-usable material." A 2003 update by the IAEA reached
the same conclusions.
The CIA told the White House in February 2001: "We do not have any
direct evidence that Iraq has ... reconstitute[d] its weapons of mass
Colin Powell said in February 2001 that Saddam Hussein "has not
developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass
The CIA told the White House in two Fall 2002 memos not to make claims
of Iraq uranium purchases. CIA Director George Tenet personally called
top national security officials imploring them not to use that claim as
proof of an Iraq nuclear threat.
Regarding unmanned bombers highlighted by Bush, the Air Force's
National Air and Space Intelligence Center concluded they could not
carry weapons spray devices. The Defense Intelligence Agency told the
president in June 2002 that the unmanned aerial bombers were unproven.
Further, there was no reliable information showing Iraq was producing
or stockpiling chemical weapons or whether it had established chemical
agent production facilities.
When discussing WMD the CIA used words like "might" and "could." The
case was always circumstantial with equivocations, unlike the president
and vice president, e.g., Cheney said on Aug. 26, 2002: "Simply
stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass
The State Department in 2003 said: "The activities we have detected do
not ... add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing .
. . an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear
The National Intelligence Estimate issued in October 2002 said "We
have no specific intelligence information that Saddam's regime has
directed attacks against US territory."
The UN, IAEA, the State and Energy departments, the Air Force's
National Air and Space Intelligence Center, US inspectors, and even the
CIA concluded there was no basis for the Bush-Cheney public assertions.
Yet, President Bush told the public in September 2002 that Iraq "could
launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after
the order is given." And, just before the invasion, President Bush
said: "Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final
proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom
The president and vice president have artfully dodged the central
question: "Did the administration mislead us into war by manipulating
and misstating intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction and
alleged ties to Al Qaeda, suppressing contrary intelligence, and
deliberately exaggerating the danger a contained, weakened Iraq posed
to the United States and its neighbors?"
If this is answered affirmatively Bush and Cheney have committed "high
crimes and misdemeanors." It is time for Congress to investigate the
illegal Iraq war as we move toward the third year of the endless
quagmire that many security experts believe jeopardizes US safety by
recruiting and training more terrorists. A Resolution of Impeachment
would be a first step. Based on the mountains of fabrications,
deceptions, and lies, it is time to debate the "I" word.
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate. Kevin Zeese is director of
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