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United for Peace of Pierce County - Statement on the Downing Street Memorandum, with a further call for impeachment
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UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."

Statement on the Downing Street Memorandum, with a further call for the impeachment of the president and vice president

May 19, 2005

The publication of the Downing Street Memorandum leads us to reaffirm our call for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

On April 21, 2005, United for Peace of Pierce County, called for the impeachment of President George W. Bush, together with the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney. It was not because we have been unwilling to criticize the president and vice president that we waited so long before calling for impeachment. We did so only when indisputable evidence emerged, in the form of three U.S. intelligence documents, making a prima facie case that the president could not have been asserting his true beliefs when he announced his intention to make war on Iraq. On March 18, 2003, in writing to Congress in compliance with Public Law 107-243 (the Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq Resolution of 2002, passed by Congress on October 16, 2002), President George W. Bush affirmed that “(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and (2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.” But the documentary evidence to which we referred in our April 21 statement establishes a prima facie case that propositions 1A, 1B, and 2 of that solemn declaration were known to the president, or should have been known to him, to be false at the time that he made them. Therefore we called for his impeachment, together with the impeachment of his chief advisor in the matter of Iraq, Vice President Dick Cheney.

In taking this position, we little imagined that ten days later an even more probative document would be published, this time in the context of the British general elections of May 5. On May 1, the Sunday Times of London published what has come to be known as the “Downing Street memorandum.” Dated July 23, 2002, the authenticity of this document has been denied neither by the British nor by the American governments. It is the record of a secret meeting of some of the highest officials of the British government: Tony Blair, the prime minister; Geoffrey Hoon, the defense secretary; Jack Straw, the foreign secretary; Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general; John Scarlett, head of the Joint Intelligence Committee; Sir Richard Dearlove, called “C” in the memo, the head of MI-6 (the British equivalent of the CIA); David Manning, the equivalent of the U.S. national security adviser; Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, the equivalent of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs; Jonathan Powell, the prime minister’s chief of staff; Alastair Campbell, the prime minister’s political adviser; Sally Morgan, director of government relations, and Matthew Rycroft, a Downing Street foreign policy aide who took notes on the meeting and wrote up the memo.

Incredibly, though it has been widely published in Britain and on the internet, the memo has been printed in its entirety by no U.S. daily newspaper. Its first appearance in print in the United States will be in the June 9 number of the New York Review of Books.

1)Much of what the 1,100-word memo states is already known from Bob Woodward’s book on the planning of the war on Iraq, Plan of Attack (Simon and Schuster, 2004). The reason it is so important in the context of the need to impeach President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, however, is that it presents contemporaneous evidence showing that the Bush administration had made it clear to its closest ally that the decision to make war on Iraq had already been made, and that the decision to falsify intelligence to justify the war had also been made. In the words of the memo:

2)“C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

Throughout the run-up to the war, the American people were assured by the president that war was not inevitable, that Saddam Hussein had only to comply with the reasonable demands of the U.N. Security Council in order to avert an attack. In fact, we now know that, as Mark Danner put it in his commentary on the memo in the New York Review of Books, “the idea of UN inspectors was introduced not as a means to avoid war, as President Bush repeatedly assured Americans, but as a means to make war possible,” because it had been decided to use the U.N. inspectors as “a means to create the missing casus belli [an act or situation provoking or justifying war].” No justification for war existed. The British attorney general made this clear at the July 23, 2002, meeting:

“The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defense, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorization. The first and second could not be the base in this case.”

Thus the memo indicates not only that the president and his administration fixed “facts and intelligence” in order to justify a pre-ordained policy of aggression, but lied constantly during the seven months before the war began.

As Paul Craig Roberts, a former U.S. assistant secretary of the Treasury in the first Reagan administration, commented: “This memo is the mother of all smoking guns.” On May 17, Roberts wrote: “At this point the only way to restore America's reputation would be to impeach and convict President Bush for intentionally deceiving Congress and the American people in order to start a war of aggression against a country that posed no threat to the U.S. America can redeem itself only by holding Bush accountable. . . . Abundant evidence now exists in the public domain to convict George W. Bush of the crime of the century. . . . Why isn't Bush in the dock? . . . Has American democracy failed at home?”

On May 5, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI 14), the ranking minority member of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to the White House calling on president to answer questions raised by the Downing Street Memorandum. Eighty-nine members of the House of Representatives (which is empowered by the Constitution to impeach the president) have signed the letter. On May 16, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said the claims in the memo were “flat out wrong” -- but then said he had not seen the “specific memo,” only reports of what it contained. Can any American citizen feel that this is an adequate response to such serious charges in such a document of undisputed authenticity?

The information is now in the hands of the public. Members of Congress have begun to react. The moribund American press is at last beginning to write articles on the subject. (See, for example, Stephen J. Hedges and Mark Silva, “British Memo Reopens War Claim,” Chicago Tribune, May 17, 2005.) Now the matter is up to the American people and its representatives in the House of Representatives. There is only one path for the United States to take to redeem itself in its present situation, and that path must pass by way of the impeachment of the president and vice president.

We will be told -- have been told, in fact, by a local Congressional representative -- that partisanship in Congress makes this an impossibility. We refuse to accept that this is impossible. To accept this means despairing of democracy in America.

The war in Iraq is the culmination of a long history of overreaching on the part of the leaders of the U.S. national security state. Historian Chalmers Johnson concluded his recent volume, entitled The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, with these words:

“There is one development that could conceivably stop this process of overreaching: the people could retake control of Congress, reform it along with the corrupted elections laws that have made it into a forum for special interests, turn it into a genuine assembly of democratic representatives, and cut off the supply of money to the Pentagon and the secret intelligence agencies. We have a strong civil society that could, in theory, overcome the entrenched interests of the armed forces and the military-industrial complex. At this late date, however, it is difficult to imagine how Congress, much like the Roman senate in the last days of the republic, could be brought back to life and cleansed of its endemic corruption. Failing such a reform, Nemesis, the goddess of retribution and vengeance, the punisher of pride and hubris, waits impatiently for her meeting with us.”

UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY, therefore, calls for the impeachment of the president and the vice president of the United States by the House of Representatives, which is entrusted with "the sole Power of Impeachment" under the Constitution, and for their trial by the Senate, to be removed, if convicted, from their offices, as provided for by Article I, Sections 2 and 3, Article II, Section 4, and Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States.

UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."