Mothers of American soldiers of killed in President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq joined with a constitutional lawyer before Congress Thursday to demand impeachment of the President for lying to force America into war.
Constitutional lawyer John Bonifaz told a Congressional hearing sufficient grounds exist to impeach the President for lying to Congress about the justification for the war.
“The United States House of Representatives has a constitutional duty to investigate fully and comprehensively the evidence revealed by the Downing Street memo and other related evidence, and to determine whether there are sufficient grounds to impeach George W. Bush, the President of the United States,” Bonifaz said.
The explosive Downing Street memo, named for the Downing Street residence of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, shows Bush was determined to proceed with war in 2002, eight months before the war began, and played fast and loose with intelligence to boost the case before the country and the United Nations. The memo was written by a top British intelligence officer in 2002 and leaked to the British press recently. The memo has been widely reported in the British press but has been largely ignored by mainstream American media.
The hearing into implications of the memo was organized by U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. with about 20 House Democrats attending. No Republicans appeared.
Witnesses included former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and Joseph Wilson, the former U.S. ambassador to several African nation, who said the memo offers more proof that Bush took advantage of a nation and Congress traumatized by the September terrorism attacks.
“The evidence that appears to be building up points to a direction of whether the president deliberately misled Congress,” said Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.
“All we’re asking is to know the truth,” Bonifaz, who is cofounder of AfterDowningStreet.org and a proponent of a House inquiry.
Cindy Sheehan, mother of a soldier killed in Iraq and founder of the Gold Star Families for Peace, said Bush is waging a “needless, senseless” war and “betraying” servicemen like her son, Casey, killed in action in Baghdad in April of 2004.
“I believed before our leaders invaded Iraq in March, 2003, and I am even more convinced now that this aggression on Iraq was based on a lie of historic proportions, and was blatantly unnecessary,” Mrs. Sheehan said. “The so-called Downing Street memo, dated 23 July, 2002, only confirms what I always suspected: The leadership of this country rushed us into an illegal invasion of another sovereign country on prefabricated and cherry-picked intelligence.”
White House spokesman Scott McClellan dismissed Mr. Conyers’s “hearing” as a “publicity stunt.”
“This is simply rehashing old debates that have already been discussed,” said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.
But some on Capitol Hill believe the memo will be Bush’s undoing, like the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal that brought impreachment proceedings against Bill Clinton or the Watergate break-in that brought an end to Richard Nixon’s presidency.
“It reminds me of the little blurb that appeared in the paper that said there was a break-in at the Watergate,” said a mother of a slain U.S. soldier. “I believe Nixon called that a ‘second-rate burglary.'”