I sent the following letter to my congressional representatives yesterday. I know with certainty that two of the three recipients will dismiss it out of hand, since they're fiercely aligned with the President (they're both vying for greater power within the Republican party). The third recipient may or may not care, as he's on his last term and already distanced from the administration's Party Line. skippy wrote:
Dear [Congress Person],
I am deeply troubled by the ambiguity surrounding President Bush's motivations for our war against Iraq. As a tax-paying citizen -- and therefore a financial contributor to any war effort -- I demand my elected officials be honest with regards to the real motivations for any military engagement.
I believe that the President has been disingenuous in his public comments before, during, and after the war. The stated motivation for the war has shifted from the elimination of WMD, to the toppling of Saddam Hussein's tyrrany, to the liberation of the Iraqi people. It has recently been revealed that the administration had been planning an invasion of Iraq before the September 11 terrorist attacks.
In an attempt to escape responsibility for the misleading statements that led the nation to war, President Bush has announced plans to form an independent inquiry to look into what went wrong. An inquiry would serve the Bush administration well: it would envelop the issue in a fog of uncertainty, deflect blame onto the intelligence services, and push any political damage into 2005, after the upcoming election.
But the facts need no clarification. Despite repeated warnings from the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency, President Bush and his administration hyped and distorted the threat that Iraq posed. And now that reality is setting in, the President seeks to pin the blame on someone else.
You have the power to censure the President -- to formally reprimand him for his betrayal of the nation's trust. If ever there was a time to use this function, it is now. If you do not act, Congress risks losing its relevance as a check and balance on the Presidency.
I don't really expect anything will happen, here. The Republicans, who were so intent on crucifying Bill Clinton for lying, will likely defend their man's ambiguities and half-truths. I know and accept that Bill Clinton lied, and I'm sure many on the right will discount all future comment from me for what I'm about to say, but here's the deal: I don't really care that Bill Clinton lied. His lie didn't really effect me; nor were the actions he lied about of any significance to me; nor were the actions he lied about in any way a violation of his office.
Bill got a blowjob from an intern. Not the best choice, but it's more an issue between he and his family than he and his constituents. Don't get me wrong: I'm not thrilled that any elected official would lie, but I'm not so foolish as to think it doesn't happen with alarming regularity.
George's lie, though, has led to the actual death of actual human beings, the citizens he is "leading". This does effect me, my sense of safety and well-being, and the nation as a whole. It effects how we are perceived abroad. It makes me seriously question George's integrity and the sincerity with which he took his oath of office.
(Incidentally, most Europeans I spoke with could have cared less about Bill's infidelity. Their elected officials have been doing it for so long that they're pretty accepting of it all.)
I don't argue that the world will be a better place now that Saddam Hussein is deposed. I don't argue that the Iraqi people will have a greater chance at living better lives (eventually).
The means do not justify the ends. I do argue that Saddam Hussein posed an immediate, credible threat to the safety and the welfare of the U.S. I do argue that the invasion of Iraq was a necessary component of George's "war on terrorism". I do argue that unilateral military action to achieve shifting, ephemeral goals is legitimate executive policy.