Indpendent Inquiry Needed for Uranium-gate
San-Diego Union Tribune, July 25, 2003
Knight-Ridder/Tribune Information Services - July 21, 2003
Daily Press (Newport News, VA) - July 25, 2003
Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI) - July 27, 2003
Idaho Sunday Statesman (Boise, ID) - July 27, 2003
Sun Herald (Charlotte Harbor, FL) - July 27, 2003
Sunday Sun (North Port, FL) - July 27, 2003
Honolulu Sunday Advertiser - July 27, 2003
Wichita Eagle - July 29, 2003
Youngstown Vindicator - July 29, 2003
Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, FL) - July 30, 2003
Kansas City Star
Does it matter if a president and his administration lie and deceive the nation into waging a war on the other side of the world? A war in which American soldiers are still getting killed every week, nearly three months after victory was declared? We will soon find out.
But Watergate was not built in a day, and the scandal that has erupted over those 16 words in President Bush's January State of the Union speech -- "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" -- is growing.
And despite President Bush's claim that "We found the weapons of mass destruction" upon the discovery of two trailers in Iraq in May, no such weapons have yet been found. The trailers appear to have been used for other purposes.
Another major justification for the war, Saddam Hussein's alleged links to Al-Qaeda, also appears now to be extremely doubtful.
These lies and misrepresentations of fact are the foundation of the White House's argument that we had to wage war immediately against Iraq -- a country that not even its previously invaded neighbors, Iran and Kuwait, considered a serious threat. These falsehoods were deployed to intimidate Congress into authorizing the war, even when large majorities of a skeptical American public favored letting the UN inspections continue.
The cynics point out that this Administration has managed to dodge other potentially fatal scandals and blow-ups with relative ease. There was Enron and the slew of other corporate crimes that took place on their watch -- including malfeasance at Harken Energy Corporation and Halliburton, in which the President and the Vice-President were personally implicated.
Republican cries of partisanship are beside the point. What is the purpose of a multi-party system, if not to have an opposition that can hold the party in power accountable when they lie and abuse their power on matters of life and death? If ever there was a time when the public needs to find out, "What did they know and when did they know it?", this is it.
Last week the Republican-controlled Senate voted 51-45 not to create an independent commission that would investigate some of the various justifications offered by the Bush administration for the war in Iraq. When our Senators and members of Congress return home for recess next week, they need to hear many loud voices from their constituents. They need to know that they can't let this scandal get swept under the rug and still expect to be re-elected.
Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C. and president of Just Foreign Policy. He is also the author of the forthcoming book Failed: What the "Experts" Got Wrong About the Global Economy (Oxford University Press, 2015).