- October 16 - Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) addressed the Bush administration's Iraq policy today through a parliamentary device intended to protect the integrity of the Congressional Record.
Noting that many of the claims the President conveyed to Congress in its rush to war are now known to have been wrong, McDermott offered a privileged resolution to correct the Congressional Record for January 28, 2003, the date of President Bush's State of the Union speech, to reflect the inaccuracy of four specific stated claims made by the President to Congress. These statements are:
(1) "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
(2) "Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."
(3) "From intelligence sources, we know, for instance, that thousands of Iraqi security personnel are at work hiding documents and materials from the U.N. inspectors, sanitizing inspection sites, and monitoring the inspectors themselves."
(4) "Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda."
Because Mr. McDermott's resolution addresses the veracity of the Congressional Record, it must be brought to the floor within the next two legislative days.
"Now that the facts are better understood, it is critical for Congress to acknowledge that the President ignored overwhelming evidence that Saddam Hussein did not try to buy uranium from Niger; that seized aluminum tubes were not suitable for the production of nuclear weapons; that there is no evidence that thousands of Iraqis were at work trying to trick U.N inspectors; and finally there is not now, or ever was evidence revealed by the Administration indicating that Saddam Hussein had connections to al Qaeda."
"The President fed us these misrepresentations from the floor of the people's House, and he used them to pave the path to war. Now that we know the facts, I am asking the House to make a note in the record that these statements were inaccurate." McDermott said.
McDermott also forcefully denounced the President's most recent funding request, an additional $87 billion dollars to continue his current policies in Iraq. "This Administration provides no plan, no accountability, and no rationale for its actions," said McDermott, noting that Congress has already provided more than $75 billion for the President's Iraq operation and has just approved the President's request for the largest Department of Defense budget in history, providing funds that the President can reprogram for Iraq if and when the troops need added funding.
In a floor speech announcing he would vote against this spending, McDermott said, "I did not support this war and I have personally seen the soldiers whose lives that have been shattered by the President's failed agenda. However, despite this abuse of the lives and loyalties of our troops, I recognize that we have an unquestionable obligation to support them.
McDermott continued, "This has to stop now. The President wants Congress to give him money without accounting for his failed policies. The premise of this war was wrong, the tactics of this war were wrong, the urgency to go to war was wrong, and the reasons for war that the President said on the floor of the House were wrong. And now he wants the American people to throw good money after bad. Before we give this administration other blank check, they need to be held accountable."