Yet Another Bombshell!

A month after releasing the now-infamous Downing Street Memo, The Sunday Times has just dropped another bombshell: In the newly released briefing paper for the July 23, 2002 meeting whose minutes were recorded in the Memo, the estimable London newspaper now reports that “Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W. Bush three months earlier.”

You read that right: The decision to invade Iraq was made in April of 2002 — not in the winter of 2003 after the Bush Administration told the WMD inspectors to get out or get bombed; not in the fall of 2002 when the Administration presented a pack of lies to the UN, the US Congress, and the American people; no, not even shortly before that July 23rd meeting on Downing Street, in which the head of British intelligence, MI6, said that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” in Washington; but almost a year before we started this neverending bloodbath with “little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after [initial] military action”.

This directly contradicts the statements that the President made to the American public during the April 2002 summit (“I explained to the prime minister that, you know, that the policy of my government is the removal of Saddam, and that all options are on the table”) and continuing through the statements the President made as late as last week: When asked at their joint press conference whether the intelligence had indeed been “fixed” to support a pre-ordained policy of removing Hussein by military force, Blair said, “No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all;” and Bush insisted, “There’s nothing farther from the truth…Look, both of us didn’t want to use our military.”

And Clinton said he didn’t have relations with “that woman”. But he did and got impeached for covering it up.

And Nixon said he was “no crook”. But he was and got articles of impeachment drafted against him for covering it up.

But misleading a nation into war, let alone covering it up, is the gravest malfeasance of office that a president can commit in a democracy, a higher crime and misdemeanor than those that have in recent history prompted impeachment — and precedent is the very foundation of our common-law concept of the rule of law.

A subordinate officer in the military who lied to his superiors with the result that those under his command were killed or wounded and who later lied to hide his original deceit could expect a court martial, with a very unfavorable outcome.

The Commander in Chief — subordinate in all things to the People and answerable in matters of war to the Congress, as prescribed by the Constitution he has sworn to uphold — should expect no less.

We the People should expect no less.

For an authoritative, yet brief and easy-to-comprehend discussion of the consensus among constitutional scholars as to what actually constitutes an impeachable offense — those vaguely defined “high crimes and misdemeanors” — please visit ThatColoredFellasweblog.

To join the rapidly expanding coalition urging the U.S. Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war, visit After Downing Street Dot Org.

To join the hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens who are demanding answers not yet forthcoming, please sign the online petition that will be delivered to the White House on Thursday by the irrepressible Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), who drafted the now-famous letter signed by dozens of his colleagues in Congress, which was unceremoniously ignored by the Bush Administration.

For action in the U.S. Senate, please sign Ted Kennedy’s petition.

And never forget, this story was largely and intentionally ignored by the mainstream media in this country until the nonstop, impassioned blogging across the Internet became too formidable to ignore.

As we learned in Watergate, no one in the United States — not even the President — is above the rule of law.

Doug Drenkow

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