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News :: Education
House Judiciary Report on bush crimes since election theft
18 Jan 2006
---------
House Judiciary Report on bush crimes since election theft

http://www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/iraqrept.html

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Re: House Judiciary Report on bush crimes since election theft
18 Jan 2006
The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception,
Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War
Chapter 1. Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Chapter 2. Chronology: Last Throes of Credibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Chapter 3. Detailed Factual Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
A. Determination to go to War Before Congressional Authorization . . . . . . . . . . . 17
1. Avenging the Father and Working With the Neo-Cons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
2. September 11 and its Aftermath: Beating the Drums for War . . . . . . . . 20
3. The Downing Street Minutes and Documentary Evidence of an Agreement
to go to War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
a. Description and Analysis of Various Downing Street Minutes
Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
b. Confirmation and Corroboration of Downing Street Minutes
Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
4. Manipulating Public Opinion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
5. Using the United Nations as a Pretext for War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
B. Misstating and Manipulating the Intelligence to Justify Pre-emptive War . . . . . 53
1. Links to September 11 and al Qaeda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
2. Resumed Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Weapons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
3. Aluminum Tubes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
4. Acquisition of Uranium from Niger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
5. Chemical and Biological Weapons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
C. Encouraging and Countenancing Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading
Treatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
1. Documented Instances of Torture and Other Legal Violations . . . . . . . . 97
2. Bush Administration Responsibility for Torture and Other Legal
Violations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
a. Department of Justice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
b. Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency . . 107
D. Cover-ups and Retribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
1. The Niger Forgeries and the “Sliming” of Ambassador Wilson and his
Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
a. Disclosure and Panic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
b. Retribution and Damage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
c. Delays, Conflicts, and More Lies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
2. Other Instances of Bush Administration Retribution Against its Critics
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
a. Former General Eric Shinseki and Others in the Military . . . . . 122
b. Former Secretary of Treasury Paul O’Neill and Economic Adviser
Lawrence Lindsey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
c. Richard Clarke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
d. Cindy Sheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
e. Jeffrey Kofman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
f. International Organizations–the Organization for the Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons and the IAEA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
g. Bunnatine Greenhouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
h. The Central Intelligence Agency and its Employees . . . . . . . . . 131
3. Ongoing Lies, Deceptions and Manipulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
E. Thwarting Congress and the American Public: The Death of Accountability under
the Bush Administration and the Republican-Controlled Congress . . . . . . . . . 145
Chapter 4. Legal Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Chapter 5. Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
Endnotes
Exhibits
A. Relevant Law and Standards
B. Analysis of Secretary Powell’s February 5, 2003 Statements Before the United Nations
C. House Government Reform Committee, Minority Report; “Iraq on the Record”
D. List of Key Documents
Chapter I
Executive Summary

Chapter 1: Executive Summary
3
The Constitution in Crisis
Executive Summary
This Minority Report has been produced at the request of Representative John
Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee. He made this
request in the wake of the President=s failure to respond to a letter submitted by 122
Members of Congress and more than 500,000 Americans in July of this year asking him
whether the assertions set forth in the Downing Street Minutes were accurate. Mr.
Conyers asked staff, by year end 2005, to review the available information concerning
possible misconduct by the Bush Administration in the run up to the Iraq War and
post-invasion statements and actions, and to develop legal conclusions and make
legislative and other recommendations to him.
In brief, we have found that there is substantial evidence the President, the
Vice President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled
Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war with Iraq;
misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for
such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and
other legal violations in Iraq; and permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of
their Administration.
There is a prima facie case that these actions by the President, Vice-President
and other members of the Bush Administration violated a number of federal laws,
including (1) Committing a Fraud against the United States; (2) Making False
Statements to Congress; (3) The War Powers Resolution; (4) Misuse of Government
Funds; (5) federal laws and international treaties prohibiting torture and cruel,
inhuman, and degrading treatment; (6) federal laws concerning retaliating against
witnesses and other individuals; and (7) federal laws and regulations concerning
leaking and other misuse of intelligence.
While these charges clearly rise to the level of impeachable misconduct,
because the Bush Administration and the Republican-controlled Congress have blocked
the ability of Members to obtain information directly from the Administration
concerning these matters, more investigatory authority is needed before
recommendations can be made regarding specific Articles of Impeachment. As a
result, we recommend that Congress establish a select committee with subpoena
authority to investigate the misconduct of the Bush Administration with regard to the
Iraq war detailed in this Report and report to the Committee on the Judiciary on
possible impeachable offenses.
In addition, we believe the failure of the President, Vice President and others
in the Bush Administration to respond to myriad requests for information concerning
these charges, or to otherwise account for explain a number of specific misstatements
they have made in the run up to War and other actions warrants, at minimum, the
introduction and Congress= approval of Resolutions of Censure against Mr. Bush and
Chapter 1: Executive Summary
3
The Constitution in Crisis
Executive Summary
This Minority Report has been produced at the request of Representative John
Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee. He made this
request in the wake of the President=s failure to respond to a letter submitted by 122
Members of Congress and more than 500,000 Americans in July of this year asking him
whether the assertions set forth in the Downing Street Minutes were accurate. Mr.
Conyers asked staff, by year end 2005, to review the available information concerning
possible misconduct by the Bush Administration in the run up to the Iraq War and
post-invasion statements and actions, and to develop legal conclusions and make
legislative and other recommendations to him.
In brief, we have found that there is substantial evidence the President, the
Vice President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled
Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war with Iraq;
misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for
such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and
other legal violations in Iraq; and permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of
their Administration.
There is a prima facie case that these actions by the President, Vice-President
and other members of the Bush Administration violated a number of federal laws,
including (1) Committing a Fraud against the United States; (2) Making False
Statements to Congress; (3) The War Powers Resolution; (4) Misuse of Government
Funds; (5) federal laws and international treaties prohibiting torture and cruel,
inhuman, and degrading treatment; (6) federal laws concerning retaliating against
witnesses and other individuals; and (7) federal laws and regulations concerning
leaking and other misuse of intelligence.
While these charges clearly rise to the level of impeachable misconduct,
because the Bush Administration and the Republican-controlled Congress have blocked
the ability of Members to obtain information directly from the Administration
concerning these matters, more investigatory authority is needed before
recommendations can be made regarding specific Articles of Impeachment. As a
result, we recommend that Congress establish a select committee with subpoena
authority to investigate the misconduct of the Bush Administration with regard to the
Iraq war detailed in this Report and report to the Committee on the Judiciary on
possible impeachable offenses.
In addition, we believe the failure of the President, Vice President and others
in the Bush Administration to respond to myriad requests for information concerning
these charges, or to otherwise account for explain a number of specific misstatements
they have made in the run up to War and other actions warrants, at minimum, the
introduction and Congress= approval of Resolutions of Censure against Mr. Bush and
Chapter 1
4
House Democratic Committee Staff
Mr. Cheney. Further, we recommend that Ranking Member Conyers and others
consider referring the potential violations of federal criminal law detailed in this
Report to the Department of Justice for investigation; Congress should pass legislation
to limit government secrecy, enhance oversight of the Executive Branch, request
notification and justification of presidential pardons of Administration officials, ban
abusive treatment of detainees, ban the use of chemical weapons, and ban the
practice of paying foreign media outlets to publish news stories prepared by or for the
Pentagon; and the House should amend its Rules to permit Ranking Members of
Committees to schedule official Committee hearings and call witnesses to investigate
Executive Branch misconduct.
The Report rejects the frequent contention by the Bush Administration that
their pre-war conduct has been reviewed and they have been exonerated. No entity
has ever considered whether the Administration misled Americans about the decision
to go to war. The Senate Intelligence Committee has not yet conducted a review of
pre-war intelligence distortion and manipulation, while the Silberman-Robb report
specifically cautioned that intelligence manipulation Awas not part of our inquiry.@
There has also not been any independent inquiry concerning torture and other legal
violations in Iraq; nor has there been an independent review of the pattern of coverups
and political retribution by the Bush Administration against its critics, other than
the very narrow and still ongoing inquiry of Special Counsel Fitzgerald.
While the scope of this Report is largely limited to Iraq, it also holds lessons for
our Nation at a time of entrenched one-party rule and abuse of power in Washington.
If the present Administration is willing to misstate the facts in order to achieve its
political objectives in Iraq, and Congress is unwilling to confront or challenge their
hegemony, many of our cherished democratic principles are in jeopardy. This is true
not only with respect to the Iraq War, but also in regard to other areas of foreign
policy, privacy and civil liberties, and matters of economic and social justice. Indeed
as this Report is being finalized, we have just learned of another potential significant
abuse of executive power by the President, ordering the National Security Agency to
engage in domestic spying and wiretapping without obtaining court approval in
possible violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
It is tragic that our Nation has invaded another sovereign nation because Athe
intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy,@ as stated in the Downing
Street Minutes. It is equally tragic that the Bush Administration and the Republican
Congress have been unwilling to examine these facts or take action to prevent this
scenario from occurring again. Since they appear unwilling to act, it is incumbent on
individual Members of Congress as well as the American public to act to protect our
constitutional form of government.
Executive Summary
3
The Constitution in Crisis
Chapter 2: Chronology
7
The Constitution in Crisis
Chronology: Last Throes of Credibility
The 2000 Presidential election focused on many issues relating to domestic and
foreign policy.2 However, the topic of Iraq was virtually unmentioned in the
campaign. In a presidential debate with then-Vice President Al Gore, thenpresidential
candidate George W. Bush
emphasized that he would be careful about
using troops for Anation building@ purposes and
that he would not launch a pre-emptive war
because he believed the role of the military
was to Aprevent war from happening in the first
place.@3 At the same time, some future
members of the Bush Administration, dubbed
the neoconservatives, were waiting for war
with Iraq. High-ranking officials such as Dick
Cheney, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz were
part of this group.4
In the aftermath of the September 11
attacks, the Bush Administration began to hint
at the coming attack on Iraq. In his January 29, 2002 State of the Union Address, the
President remarked that countries like Iraq, Iran and North Korea Aconstitute an axis
of evil. . . . These regimes pose a grave and growing danger. . . . I will not wait on
events, while dangers gather.@5 On June 1, 2002, during a speech at West Point,
President Bush formally enunciated his doctrine of preemption that would be used
against Iraq.6 It was also around this time that Vice President Cheney and his Chief of
Staff, Scooter Libby, began making a series of unusual trips to the Central Intelligence
Agency (CIA) to discuss Iraq intelligence.7
At the same time, the President=s public statements indicated a reluctance to
use military force in Iraq. He assured the public that he had not made up his mind to
go to war with Iraq and that war was a last resort.8 However, contrary to these
public statements, the Bush Administration formed the White House Iraq Group
(WHIG) in August 2002 in an apparent effort to bolster public support for war with
Iraq.9
Shortly thereafter, the Administration began making more alarming and
sensational claims about the danger posed to the United States by Iraq including in a
September 12, 2002 address to the United Nations, and began to press forward
publicly with preparations for war.10 In the days following the President=s speech to
the United Nations, Iraq delivered a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stating
that it would allow the return of UN weapons inspectors Awithout conditions.@11 But
ABut I think the level of
activity that we see today,
from a military standpoint, I
think will clearly decline. I
think they're in the last
throes, if you will, of the
insurgency.@
-----May 30, 2005, Vice
President Dick Cheney=s
Remarks on the Iraqi
insurgency, Larry King Live1
Chapter 2
8
House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff
on September 18, President Bush discredited Hussein=s offer to let UN inspectors back
into Iraq as Ahis latest ploy.@12
As the Congressional vote to authorize force against Iraq approached, the
President and Administration officials raised the specter of a nuclear attack by Iraq.13
The President subsequently received from Congress on October 11, 2002, a joint
resolution for the use of force in Iraq.14 Based on the intelligence findings in the
National Intelligence Estimate provided to Congress by the Administration, the
resolution stated that Iraq posed a Acontinuing threat@ to the United States by, among
other things, Aactively seeking a nuclear weapons capability.@15
The President=s focus then moved on to the United Nations in an effort to
persuade the UN to approve renewed weapons inspections in Iraq and sanctions for
noncompliance. Once again, the President asserted his
reluctance to take military action. Upon signing the
resolution, the President stated: AI have not ordered the use
of force. I hope the use of force will not become
necessary.@16 On November 8, 2002, the United Nations
Security Council adopted UN Resolution 1441, which
stipulated that Iraq was required to readmit UN weapons
inspectors under more stringent terms than required by
previous UN Resolutions.17
On January 27, 2003, the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) indicated that the Bush Administration=s claim
that aluminum tubes being delivered to Iraq were part of an
Iraqi nuclear weapons program likely was false.18 In the wake
of this claim being discredited President Bush introduced a
new piece of evidence to the public in his State of the Union
address on January 28, 2003, to demonstrate that Iraq was
developing a nuclear arms program: AThe British government
has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant
quantities of uranium from Africa.@19
On February 5, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell took the Bush
Administration=s case to the United Nations Security Council. In a presentation to the
United Nations, Secretary Powell charged, among other things, that Iraq had Amobile
production facilities@ for biological weapons.20 With its case to the United Nations
delivered, for the first time and contrary to earlier claims that the Administration was
reluctant to use force, the Administration publicly indicated its readiness and
enthusiasm for going to war. The question was no longer whether force would be
used, but what - if any - difficulties would accompany the use of force. Vice
Pres. Bush, State of the Union,
January 28, 2003: AThe British
government has learned that
Saddam Hussein recently sought
significant quantities of uranium
from Africa.”
Chronology
9
The Constitution in Crisis
President Dick Cheney made an appearance on Meet the Press and stated that the war
was not going to be long, costly or bloody because Awe will, in fact, be greeted as
liberators.@21
On March 18, 2003, the President submitted a letter to the Speaker of the
House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate informing the
Congress of his determination that diplomatic and peaceful means alone would not
protect the Nation or lead to Iraqi compliance
with United Nations demands22 and on March 20,
the President launched the preemptive invasion.
A little more than a month into the
invasion, President Bush landed aboard the USS
Abraham Lincoln and, standing beneath a massive
banner reading "Mission Accomplished,@ he stated,
AMajor combat operations in Iraq have ended.@23
Immediately thereafter, it was self-evident that -
despite the premature declaration of victory -
numerous problems persisted with regard to the
occupation. This was not the only post-war
mischaracterization of the truth by the Bush
Administration. Since then, they have been
dogged by misstatements concerning the size and
strength of the insurgency; the preparedness of Iraqi troops; the cost of the war; the
existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD); and the war=s impact on terrorism,
among other things.24
Another significant problem for the Bush Administration was its failure to find
any of the WMD that it had used to justify the invasion. On July 6, 2003, Ambassador
Joseph Wilson, who was sent to Niger at the behest of the CIA to investigate the
uranium claim, wrote in an op-ed piece that the intelligence concerning Niger=s
alleged sale of uranium to Iraq was Atwisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.@25 The
following day, the White House issued a rare retraction of the uranium allegations
from the President=s State of the Union Address.26 Shortly thereafter, the identity of
Wilson=s wife, a covert CIA agent, was revealed in the press through a Robert Novak
column sourced to two officials in the Administration.27 Later in the year, Colin
Powell also conceded that the information given in his February 5, 2003 speech before
the UN Aappear[ed] not to be . . . that solid.@28 Capping these retractions were the
findings of David Kay, the U.S. official responsible for the WMD search as the head of
Iraq Survey Group, who concluded that Athere were not large stockpiles of newly
produced weapons of mass destruction. We don't find the people, the documents or
the physical plants that you would expect to find if the production was going on.@29
AMajor combat operations in Iraq have ended.”
---- President Bush, May 1, 2003
Chapter 2
10
House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff
Amid these admissions that the case for war was, generously speaking, faulty,
the Administration and Congressional Republicans sought to pre-empt inquiries into
the White House use or manipulation of intelligence by launching more limited
investigations. On February 6, 2004, President Bush created the Robb-Silberman
Commission, which later found that the intelligence community was Adead wrong in
almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq=s weapons of mass destruction.@30
However, this Commission was specifically prohibited from examining the use or
manipulation of intelligence by policymakers.31
On March 16, 2004, the Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Government
Reform submitted a report to Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman.32 This report,
entitled AIraq on the Record: the Bush Administration=s Public Statements on Iraq,@
details public statements made by senior Bush Administration officials regarding
policy toward Iraq. The report, which is attached as Exhibit C, indicates that Afive
officials made misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq in 125 public
appearances. The report and an accompanying database identify 237 specific
misleading statements by the five officials.”33
On July 7, 2004, the Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence reported that it had found numerous failures
in the intelligence-gathering and analysis process.34
However, that review also was explicitly not intended to
look into the Administration=s use of that wrong
intelligence in selling the war.35 To date, there has never
been a truly independent, comprehensive non-partisan or
bipartisan review of the Administration=s false claims
regarding WMD or any other aspect of the war.36
On April 28, 2004, 60 Minutes II made public a series
of photos taken at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq
documenting apparent torture and other cruel, inhuman,
and degrading treatment by U.S. military and other
personnel.37 Since then, reports of other alleged
violations of international law involving Iraqi prisoners
have been reported by the media and human rights
organizations.38
As the war continued into 2005, with U.S. casualties approaching 1,500, Iraq
held elections on January 30. The Administration heralded the elections as a symbol
of freedom and as an event which validated the initial invasion. By that point,
however, the reason for attacking Iraq had shifted from an imminent threat of
weapons of mass destruction; to combating terrorism after the September 11,
Abu Ghraib prison detainee abuses.
Chronology
11
The Constitution in Crisis
attacks; to regime change; and eventually to promoting democracy, and to ensure
that those lives lost were not lost in vain.39
While evidence and accounts of Administration insiders strongly suggested a
predetermination to go to war and a manipulation of intelligence to justify it, that
evidence and those accounts were attacked by Administration officials as inaccurate
or biased. Then, on May 1,
2005, the Sunday London
Times published the first of a
series of important
documents known as the
ADowning Street Minutes.@40
The Downing Street Minutes
(DSM) are a collection of
classified documents, written
by senior British officials
during the spring and
summer of 2002, which
recounted meetings and
discussions of such officials
with their American
counterparts. The focus of
these meetings and
discussions was the U.S. plan
to invade Iraq. The DSM
appear to document a predetermination
to go war with
Iraq on the part of U.S.
officials, and a manipulation of intelligence by such officials in order to justify the
war.
The DSM generated significant media coverage in Great Britain in the lead up to
the British elections, but initially received very little initial media attention in the
United States. However, a concerted effort to call attention to them by Congressman
John Conyers, Jr., and a number of Members of Congress, grassroots groups, and
Internet activists was ultimately successful. On May 5, 2005, Congressman Conyers,
the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, along with 87 other Members
of Congress (eventually 121), wrote to the President demanding answers to the
allegations presented in the Minutes.41 In his letter, Representative Conyers
questioned the President on whether there Awas there a coordinated effort with the
U.S. intelligence community and/or British officials to >fix= the intelligence and facts
around the policy.@42
Congressman John Conyers leads Members of Congress bringing over 500,000
letters to the White House from citizens demanding the President answer
questions raised by the Downing Street Minutes.
Chapter 2
12
House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff
On June 16, 2005, Congressman Conyers and 32 Members of Congress convened
an historic hearing on the Downing Street Minutes, covered by numerous press outlets.
The hearing was forced to a cramped room in the basement of the Capitol since
Democrats were denied ordinary hearing room space by the Republican leadership.
The Republicans tried to disrupt the hearings further by holding 12 consecutive floor
votes during the hearing, an unprecedented number.43 After the hearing,
Congressman Conyers led a congressional delegation to the White House to personally
deliver a letter signed by over 500,000 citizens, demanding answers from the
President.44 To date, the White House has declined to respond to these questions that
were posed by these citizens and their elected representatives in Congress.
In the meantime, after some initial false starts, delays, and denials concerning
possible misconduct in the Bush Administration=s Aouting@ of Valerie Plame Wilson,45
then-Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself from the investigation due to
conflicts of interest and, on December 30, 2003, U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald
was appointed to conduct the investigation of the Plame leak.46 By July 2005, it
became apparent that Karl Rove, a senior aide to the President, was involved in the
leak; a Time reporter=s notes revealed that he had spoken to Karl Rove about the
case.47 Then, on July 18, 2005, President Bush conspicuously changed the standard
for White House ethics from stating that he would fire
anyone who leaked the information to only firing someone
if he or she Acommitted a crime.@48 With a lack of response
from the Administration or from congressional Republicans,
on July 22, 2005, Congressman Henry Waxman and Senator
Byron Dorgan conducted a joint Democratic hearing on the
ANational Security Consequences of Disclosing the Identity
of a Covert Intelligence Officer.@49
Ambassador Wilson was not the only individual facing
apparent retribution from the Bush Administration for
criticizing its conduct. For example, on August 27, 2005,
Bunnatine Greenhouse, the Chief Contracting officer at the
Army Corps of Engineers, was demoted in apparent
retaliation for exposing Pentagon favoritism toward a
Halliburton subsidiary in awarding no-bid contracts in Iraq.50 As discussed later in this
Report, a long line of individuals were subject to other forms of sanctions and
retribution by the Administration for exposing Administration wrongdoing concerning
Iraq.
On October 28, 2005, Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Scooter Libby resigned
after a federal grand jury indicted him on five charges, totaling a maximum 30-year
sentence, related to the leak probe.51 Patrick Fitzgerald has yet to indict other
After indicting Scooter Libby,
Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald
has announced his intention to
continue the investigation and has
empaneled a second grand jury.
Chronology
13
The Constitution in Crisis
individuals but has publicly stated that his investigation would remain open to
consider other matters.52 On November 1, 2005, after numerous attempts to open an
investigation on the issue, Democrats demanded answers to the Administration=s use
of pre-war intelligence and led the Senate into a rare closed-door session, finally
receiving a promise from the Republican majority to speed up the process.53
Since that time, numerous additional disclosures have come out calling into
question the Bush Administration=s pre-war veracity concerning WMD intelligence. On
November 6, Senator Levin disclosed a classified Defense Department document
showing that an al Qaeda prisoner, Iba al Shaykh al-Libi had been identified as a
fabricator months before the Bush Administration used his claims to allege that Iraq
had trained al Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons.54 On
November 20, the Los Angeles Times revealed that German intelligence officials had
informed the Administration that the Iraqi defector known as ACurveball@ was not a
reliable source for their mobile biological weapons charges.55
Today, more than half of all Americans believe the Administration Adeliberately
misled@ the public on the reasons for going to war.56 The invasion appears to have
increased and emboldened the terrorist movement.57 As of the date of this report,
United States casualties are 2,138 and the Iraq war costs approximately $6 billion a
month and by some estimates the eventual cost could approach a trillion dollars.58

Chapter III
Detailed Factual Findings

Chapter 3: Detailed Factual Findings
17
The Constitution in Crisis
Determination to go to War before Congressional
Authorization
There are numerous, documented facts now in the public record that indicate
the Bush Administration had made a decision to go to war before it sought
Congressional authorization or informed the American people of that decision.
Our investigation shows that while the roots of this decision existed even before
George W. Bush was first elected president, it became a foregone conclusion in the
aftermath of the September 11 tragedy. Due to the release of the so-called ADowning
Street Minutes@ materials, we are now able to confirm that there were agreements
between the Bush and Blair governments in the spring and summer of 2002 to go to
war in Iraq. Further evidence of that agreement to go to war exists by virtue of the
Bush Administration=s marketing campaign to sell the war to the American people
commencing in the fall of 2002, and the efforts to use the United Nations as a pretext
to go to war later in 2002 and early in 2003.
Even though the Administration had begun planning an invasion of Iraq, the
President and senior Administration officials continued to issue public denials
regarding this effort, including misleading statements made before Congress:
$ September 8, 2002: Vice President Dick Cheney insists that
Afirst of all, no decision's been made yet to launch a
military operation.@59
$ September 16, 2002: US Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld states "The President hasn't made a decision with
respect to Iraq. Didn't I say that earlier? I thought I said
that."60
$ September 19, 2002: Secretary of State Colin Powell states,
AOf course, the President has not decided on a military
option . . . nobody wants war as a first resort . . . [n]obody
is looking for a war if it can be avoided.@61
$ October 1, 2002: The President made the first in a series of
statements, AOf course, I haven=t made up my mind we=re
going to war with Iraq.@62
$ November 7, 2002: AHopefully, we can do this peacefully C
don=t get me wrong. And if the world were to collectively
come together to do so, and to put pressure on Saddam
Hussein and convince him to disarm, there=s a chance he
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18
House Democratic Committee Staff
may decide to do that. And war is not my first choice, don=t
C it=s my last choice.@63
$ December 4, 2002: AThis is our attempt to work with the
world community to create peace. And the best way for
peace is for Mr. Saddam Hussein to disarm. It=s up to him to
make his decision.@64
$ December 31, 2002: AYou said we=re headed to war in Iraq
C I don=t know why you say that. I hope we=re not headed
to war in Iraq. I=m the person who gets to decide, not
you.@65
$ January 2, 2003: AFirst of all, you know, I=m hopeful we
won=t have to go war, and let=s leave it at that.@66
$ March 6, 2003: AI've not made up our mind about military
action.@67
$ March 8, 2003: AWe are doing everything we can to avoid
war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm
peacefully, he will be disarmed by force.@68
$ March 17, 2003: AShould Saddam Hussein choose
confrontation, the American people can know that every
measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure
will be taken to win it.@69
Avenging the Father and Working with the Neo-Cons
Our investigation has found, in
retrospect, there were indications even before
September 11, 2001 that President Bush and key
members of his Administration were fixated on
the military invasion of Iraq, regardless of the
provocation. A key piece of the puzzle was
revealed in a series of interviews between then-
Governor Bush and writer and long-time family
friend Mickey Herskowitz when, according to
Herskowitz, Mr. Bush stated:
A>One of the keys to being seen as a great
leader is to be seen as a commander-inchief.
. . . My father had all this political
AFrom the very beginning,
there was a conviction that
Saddam Hussein was a bad
person and that he needed to
go. It was all about finding a
way to do it. That was the
tone of it. The president
saying, >Go find me a way to
do this.=@
-----January 11, 2004, Paul
O=Neill, A60 Minutes@70
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The Constitution in Crisis
capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.
. . . If I have a chance to invade . . . if I had that much capital, I=m not
going to waste it.=@71
According to Mr. Herskowitz, George W. Bush=s beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a
notion ascribed to now-Vice President Dick Cheney: AStart a small war. Pick a
country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade.@72
In addition to Mr. Bush=s apparent belief that a successful military invasion
could cause him to be seen as a great leader, additional possible motivations include
responding to those right-wing critics who blamed his father for not entering Baghdad
during the first Gulf War,73 and achieving revenge for Saddam Hussein=s reported plot
to assassinate his father. Discussing Saddam Hussein, on September 26, 2002, Bush
declared: AAfter all, this is the guy that tried to kill my dad at one time.@74
It is also significant that key members of the Bush Administration were part of
a group of so-called Aneo-conservatives@ or Aneo-cons@ who were dedicated to
removing Saddam Hussein by military force. The notion of toppling
Saddam Hussein and his regime dates as far back as the 1990s, when
it had been a priority of a circle of neo-conservative intellectuals,
led by Richard Perle, a former Assistant Secretary of Defense under
President Reagan, and Paul Wolfowitz, an Undersecretary of
Defense for Policy under President George H.W. Bush.75 The
neocons did not have the power to effectuate their goals during the
Clinton Administration, but they remained tied to one another and
to Dick Cheney through a number of right-wing think tanks and
institutes, including the Project for the New American Century.
On January 26, 1998, the Project for the New American
Century issued a letter to President Bill Clinton explicitly calling for
Athe removal of Saddam Hussein=s regime from power.@76 Foretelling
of subsequent events, the letter calls for the United States to go to
war alone and attack the United Nations, and instructs that the
United States should not be Acrippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the
UN Security Council.@77 The letter was signed by 18 individuals; ten of them,
including Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, became members of the current
Bush Administration. Other documentary evidence of the neocon vision for an
invasion is manifested by the December 1, 1997 issue of the Weekly Standard, a
conservative magazine, which was headlined by a bold directive: ASaddam Must Go: A
How-to Guide.@ Two of the articles were written by current Administration officials,
including Paul Wolfowitz.78
In September 2000, a strategy document commissioned from the Project for a
New American Century by Dick Cheney, argued that A[t]he United States has for
decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the
Richard Perle: Former
Chair, Defense Policy Board
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House Democratic Committee Staff
unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a
substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime
of Saddam Hussein.@79
There is other evidence from within the highest levels of Bush=s cabinet of an
early fixation on invading Iraq. On 60 Minutes, former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul
O=Neill reported that as early as January 30, 2001, members of the Bush
Administration were discussing plans for Saddam Hussein=s removal from power:
AFrom the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad
person and that he needed to go. It was all about finding a way to do it. That was
the tone of it. The president saying, >Go find me a way to do this.=@80
This fixation on war with Iraq would seem to explain why, from the very
beginning of the Bush Administration, key officials were consulting with outsiders on
possible replacements for Saddam Hussein and contemplating possible means of
exploiting Iraqi oil fields. For example, in February 2001, White House officials
discussed a memo titled APlan for post-Saddam Iraq,@ which talks about troop
requirements, establishing war crimes tribunals, and divvying up Iraq's oil wealth.81
During this time, Iraqi-born oil industry consultant Falah Aljibury was asked to
interview would-be replacements for a new US-installed dictator. As Mr. Aljibury
stated, AIt is an invasion, but it will act like a coup. The original plan was to liberate
Iraq from the Saddamists and from the regime, to stabilize the country.@82 In March of
2001, a Pentagon document titled, AForeign Suitors For Iraqi Oilfield Contracts@ was
circulated.83 The document outlines areas of oil exploration and includes a table
listing 30 countries that have interests in Iraq's oil industry. The memorandum also
includes the names of companies that have interests and the oil fields with which
those interests are associated.84
September 11 and its Aftermath: Beating the Drums for War
It was the September 11 tragedy that gave the President and members of his
Administration the political opportunity to invade Iraq without provocation. It was
also in the immediate aftermath of September
11 that it became clear that the President had
made up his mind to invade. We know this now
for several reasons B we have first-hand evidence
concerning President Bush=s intentions; we have
direct evidence concerning the intent of other
senior members of his Administration; we have
information provided through high-level
Administration sources; and we have
documentary and other evidence concerning
specific actions taken by the United States
“F*** Saddam. We're
taking him out."
-----March, 2002,
President George W.
Bush, poking his head
into the office of
National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice.85
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The Constitution in Crisis
military that brought our nation on the verge of war with Iraq before Congressional
authorization was sought.
Donald Rumsfeld began pushing for retaliatory attacks against Iraq almost
immediately after the September 11 attacks. CBS News reported that at 2:40 p.m. on
September 11, Secretary Rumsfeld stated: A[I want the] best info fast. Judge
whether good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time. Not only UBL [Osama
bin Laden].@86 Rumsfeld went on to say, A[g]o massive.
Sweep it all up. Things related and not.@87 Spencer
Ackerman and John Judis of The New Republic reported
that, ADeputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz floated
the idea that Iraq, with more than 20 years of inclusion
on the State Department=s terror-sponsor list, be held
immediately accountable.@88
The very first evidence regarding President Bush=s
inclination to invade Iraq after the September 11 attacks
occurred the very next day when he instructed National
Security official Richard A. Clarke to go out of his way to
find a link between Saddam Hussein and the terrorist
attacks. Richard Clarke recounts the following in his
book, AAgainst All Enemies:@
[On September 12th] I left the Video Conferencing Center and there,
wandering alone around the situation room, was the president. He
looked like he wanted something to do. He grabbed a few of us and
closed the door to the conference room. >Look,= he told us, >I know you
have a lot to do and all . . . but I want you, as soon as you can, to go
back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he's
linked in any way.= I was once again taken aback, incredulous, and it
showed. ‘But, Mr. President, al Qaeda did this.’ >I know, I know, but . .
. see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred’. . . .
‘Look into Iraq, Saddam,= the President said testily and left us. Lisa
Gordon-Hagerty stared after him with her mouth hanging open.89
This inclination was evidenced to other senior Republicans as well. For
example, Trent Lott observed in an interview on Meet the Press that shortly after
September 11, the President made clear his intention to go after Iraq:
Well, beginning in August that year and into the fall--in fact, beginning
not too long after 9/11--as we had leadership meetings at breakfast with
the president, he would go around the world and talk about what was
going on, where the threats were, where the dangers were, and even in
private discussions, it was clear to me that he thought Iraq was a
President Bush, September 12, 2001
“See If Saddam Did This”
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House Democratic Committee Staff
destabilizing force, was a danger and a growing danger, and that we
were going to have to deal with that problem.90
We have also received confirmation of the Bush Administration=s intention to
invade Iraq after the September 11 attacks from various high-level Administration
sources. For example, General Wesley Clark revealed on Meet the Press that shortly
after the September 11 attacks, the White House was asking people to link Saddam
Hussein with the September 11 attacks. Clark stated:
[T]here was a concerted effort during the fall of 2001, starting
immediately after 9/11 to pin 9/11 and the terrorism problem on
Saddam Hussein. . . . Well, it came from the White House . . . it came
from all over. I got a call on 9/11. I was on CNN, and I got a call at my
home saying, >You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored
terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein= I said,
>ButBI=m willing to say it but what=s your evidence?= And I never got any
evidence.91
On September 17, 2001, President Bush signed a 22-page document marked
ATOP SECRET@ that outlined the plan for going to war in Afghanistan as part of a global
campaign against terrorism. As one senior Administration official commented, the
direction to the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq
appeared Aalmost as a footnote.@92
“On September 19 and 20, an advisory group known as the Defense Policy Board
met at the Pentagon B with Secretary Rumsfeld in attendance B and discussed the
importance of ousting Hussein.”93 According to Administration sources:
They met in Rumsfeld's conference room. After a C.I.A. briefing on the
9/11 attacks, Perle introduced two guest speakers. The first was Bernard
Lewis, professor emeritus at Princeton, a longtime associate of Cheney's
and Wolfowitz's. Lewis told the meeting that America must respond to
9/11 with a show of strength: to do otherwise would be taken in the
Islamic world as a sign of weakness-one it would be bound to exploit. At
the same time, he said, America should support democratic reformers in
the Middle East. "Such as," he said, turning to the second of Perle's guest
speakers, "my friend here, Dr. Chalabi” . . . . At the meeting Chalabi
said that, although there was as yet no evidence linking Iraq to 9/11,
failed states such as Saddam's were a breeding ground for terrorists, and
Iraq, he told those at the meeting, possessed W.M.D. During the later
part of the second day, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld listened carefully to the
debate. “Rumsfeld was getting confirmation of his own instincts . . .”
Perle says. “He seemed neither surprised nor discomfited by the idea
of taking action against Iraq.”94
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The Constitution in Crisis
The 9-11 Commission Report further notes that as early as September 20, 2001,
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas Feith, suggested attacking Iraq in
response to the September 11 attacks. In a draft memo, Feith Aexpressed
disappointment at the limited options immediately available in Afghanistan and the
lack of ground options. [He] suggested instead hitting terrorists outside the Middle
East in the initial offensive, perhaps deliberately selecting a non-al Qaeda target
like Iraq.@95 Also, on September 20, it is reported that President Bush told Prime
Minister Blair of the need to respond militarily with Iraq. Blair told Bush he should
not get distracted from the war on terror. As noted above, Bush replied, AI agree with
you Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan,
we must come back to Iraq.@96
By late November 2001, the President essentially instructed Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld to develop an Iraq war plan, which Rumsfeld began to
implement. In a CBS News 60 Minutes interview about his book, APlan of Attack,@ Bob
Woodward describes their meeting:
President Bush, after a National Security Council
meeting, takes Don Rumsfeld aside, collars him
physically, and takes him into a little cubbyhole
room and closes the door and says, AWhat have you
got in terms of plans for Iraq? What is the status
of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want
you to keep it secret.@97
The evidence of the President=s determination to go
to war continues on through 2002. On January 29, 2002,
President Bush gave his State of the Union address in
which he stated that Iraq was part of an Aaxis of evil@
along with South Korea and Iran.98 Although
Administration officials sought to temper the meaning of
that reference, the President=s own speech writers have
subsequently made it clear that the President was
intending to target Iraq. As James Mann recounts: ADavid
Frum, then one of Bush=s speech writers, later claimed that the original aim of the
axis-of-evil speech was specifically to target Iraq. Mark Gerson, Bush=s chief speech
writer had asked Frum first to find a justification for war against Iraq, he wrote; later
Iran was added, and finally North Korea as a seemingly casual afterthought. Frum=s
perspective reflected both his inexperience as a speech writer and also the thinking
of neoconservatives within the administration, who were eager for a regime change in
Iraq.@99
We have also learned from three sources that beginning as early as February
2002, the Bush Administration took specific concrete steps to deploy military troops
and assets into Iraq. First, in February 2002, Senator Bob Graham told the Council on
President Bush and Defense Secretary
Rumsfeld, “What Have You Got in Terms
of Plans for Iraq?”
Chapter 3
24
House Democratic Committee Staff
Foreign Relations that a military commander had said to him: ASenator, we have
stopped fighting the war on terror in Afghanistan. We are moving military and
intelligence personnel and resources out of Afghanistan to get ready for a future
war in Iraq.@100
Second, it is clear from Bob Woodward=s book, APlan of Attack@ that the
redeployment began in the summer of 2002, well before authorized by Congress:
On July 17, Franks updated Rumsfeld on the preparatory tasks in the
region. He carefully listed the cost of each and the risk to the mission if
they didn=t proceed along the timeline which set completion by
December 1. Total cost: about $700 million . . . . Later the president
praised Rumsfeld and Franks for this strategy of moving troops in and
expanding the infrastructure. AIt was, in my judgment,@ Bush said, Aa
very smart recommendation by Don and Tommy to put certain elements
in place that could easily be removed and it could be done so in a way
that was quiet so that we didn=t create a lot of noise and anxiety.” . . .
He carefully added, AThe pre-positioning of forces should not be viewed
as a commitment on my part to use military.@ He acknowledged with a
terse ARight. Yup.@ that the Afghanistan war and war on terrorism
provided the excuse, that it was done covertly, and that it was
expensive . . . By the end of July, Bush had approved some 30
projects that would eventually cost $700 million. He discussed it with
Nicholas E. Calio, the head of White House congressional relations.
Congress, which is supposed to control the purse strings, had no real
knowledge or involvement, had not even been notified that the
Pentagon wanted to reprogram money.101
In his interview on 60 Minutes, Mr. Woodward himself points out this was a basic
violation of the Constitution: ASome people are gonna look at a document called the
Constitution which says that no money will be drawn from the Treasury unless
appropriated by Congress.@102 The funds were diverted from appropriation laws
specifically allocated for the war in Afghanistan.103
Third, Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker received similar confirmation from his
Administration sources of the reallocation of intelligence assets from Afghanistan to
Iraq in preparation for an invasion: AThe Bush Administration took many intelligence
operations that had been aimed at Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups around the
world and redirected them to the Persian Gulf. Linguists and special operatives were
abruptly reassigned, and several ongoing anti-terrorism intelligence programs were
curtailed.@104
Further, beginning in February 2002, senior White House officials were also
confirming to the press that military ouster of Saddam Hussein was inevitable. On
February 13, 2002, Knight Ridder reported that, according to their sources, APresident
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The Constitution in Crisis
Bush has decided to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from power and ordered the
CIA, the Pentagon and other agencies to devise a combination of military, diplomatic
and covert steps to achieve that goal, senior U.S. officials said Tuesday.@105
White House officials were also telling Seymour Hersh that the decision to go to
war had been made and that a process to support that determination had been
created:
By early March, 2002, a former White House official told me, it was
understood by many in the White House that the President had
decided, in his own mind, to go to war . . . . The Bush Administration
took many intelligence operations that had been aimed at Al Qaeda and
other terrorist groups around the world and redirected them to the
Persian Gulf. . . . Chalabi's defector reports were now flowing from the
Pentagon directly to the Vice-President's office, and then on to the
President, with little prior evaluation by intelligence professionals.106
Also, in March 2002, President Bush reportedly poked his head into the office of
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and said AF*** Saddam. We're taking him
out.@107 At the time, Rice was meeting with three U.S. Senators and discussing
options for dealing with Iraq through the United Nations or other peaceful means.
However, a source reported ABush wasn't interested. He waved his hand dismissively .
. . and neatly summed up his Iraq policy in that short phrase. The Senators laughed
uncomfortably; Rice flashed a knowing smile.@108
By late March 2002, Vice President Cheney was telling his fellow Republicans
that a decision to invade Iraq had been made:
Dick Cheney dropped by a Senate Republican policy lunch soon after his
10-day tour of the Middle East - the one meant to drum up support for a
U.S. military strike against Iraq. . . . Before he spoke, he said no one
should repeat what he said, and Senators and staff members promptly
put down their pens and pencils. Then he gave them some surprising
news. The question was no longer if the U.S. would attack Iraq, he
said. The only question was when.@109
In his book, Bob Woodward describes Cheney as a Apowerful, steamrolling force
obsessed with Saddam and taking him out.@110
By July of 2002, Condoleezza Rice was offering further confirmation that
President Bush=s mind was made up regarding a decision to invade Iraq. At this time,
State Department Director of Policy Planning Richard N. Haass held a meeting with
Rice and asked if they should discuss Iraq. Rice said, ADon=t bother. The president
has made a decision.@111
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House Democratic Committee Staff
We know that, in early August 2002, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair
spoke by telephone and cemented the decision to go to war. A White House official
who read the transcript of their conversation disclosed that war was inevitable by the
end of the call. On August 29, 2002, after three months of war exercises conducted
by the Pentagon, President Bush reportedly approved a document entitled AIraq goals,
objectives and strategy.@112 The document cites far-reaching goals and the study
refers to "some unstated objectives" including installing a pro-American government in
Iraq and using it to influence events in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Iran.113
Not only is it clear that a decision had been made to go to war in early 2002, it
has also become apparent that the U.S. was actually engaging in acts of war by May
2002. On April 28, 2002, The New York Times wrote: AThe Bush administration, in
developing a potential approach for toppling President
Saddam Hussein of Iraq, is concentrating its attention on a
major air campaign and ground invasion, with initial
estimates contemplating the use of 70,000 to 250,000
troops. . . . Senior officials now acknowledge that any
offensive would probably be delayed until early next year,
allowing time to create the right military, economic and
diplomatic conditions.@114
Bombing activity designed to increase military
pressure on Iraq appears to have commenced by May 2002,
and intensified in August 2002, following a meeting of the
National Security Council.115 The Sunday London Times
reported that, A[b]y the end of August [2002] the raids had
become a full air offensive.@116 As former veteran CIA
intelligence officer Ray McGovern testified:
The step-up in bombing was incredible. In March-
April of 2002, there were hardly any bombs dropped
at all. By the time September came along, several
hundred tons of bombs had been dropped. The
war had really started.117
On May 27, 2002, a former US Air Force combat veteran Tim Goodrich told the
World Tribunal on Iraq jury in Istanbul, Turkey: AWe were dropping bombs then, and I
saw bombing intensify. All the documents coming out now, the Downing Street Memo
and others, confirm what I had witnessed in Iraq. The war had already begun while
our leaders were telling us that they were going to try all diplomatic options first.@118
“Tommy Franks, the allied commander, has since admitted that this operation was
designed to ‘degrade’ Iraqi air defenses in the same way as the air attacks that began
the 1991 Gulf war.”119
By the time of the declared war a
reported total of 21,736 sorties had been
flown over southern Iraq
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The Constitution in Crisis
The United States and Britain initially attempted to justify these raids by
claiming that “the rise in air attacks was in response to Iraqi attempts to shoot down
allied aircraft.”120 However, in July 2005, in response to British MP Sir Menzies
Campbell=s request for data, the British Ministry of Defence released figures that
would indicate that the true reason for the raids was to put pressure on the Iraqis.121
The data shows that in Athe first seven months of 2001 the allies recorded a total of
370 >provocations= by the Iraqis against allied aircraft. But in the seven months
between October 2001 and May 2002 there were just 32.@122 The records show that
the allies dropped twice as many bombs on Iraq in the second half of 2002 as they did
in the whole of 2001.123
The Asecret air war@ was also confirmed by Iraq war Lieutenant-General Michael
Moseley, who said that Ain 2002 and early 2003 allied aircraft flew 21,736 sorties,
dropping more than 600 bombs on 391 >carefully selected targets= before the war
officially started.@124 Between March and November 2002, coalition forces attacked
Iraqi installations with 253,000 pounds of bombs. In June 2002 specifically, forces
bombed Iraq with 20,800 pounds of munitions; in September 2002, the tonnage
amounted to 109,200 pounds of bombs.125
The Downing Street Minutes and Documentary Evidence of an
Agreement to go to War
The Downing Street Minutes, which cover a time period from early March 2002
to July 23, 2002, provide the most definitive documentary evidence that the Bush
Administration had not
only made up its mind
to go to war well before
it sought congressional
authorization to do so,
but that it had an
agreement with the
British government to do
so. Collectively, the
documents paint a
picture of US and British
officials eager to
convince the public that
war in Iraq was not a forgone conclusion, even as exacting plans for war were being
laid. This section of the Report includes a description of each of the critical elements
of these documents as they relate to that determination to go to war by the spring
and summer of 2002 and details how the Downing Street Minutes have been confirmed
and corroborated as accurate. (The Downing Street Minutes also include critical
documentary evidence showing Bush and Blair Administration plans concerning
ABush 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.@
AIt seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to
take military action, even if the timing was not yet
decided. But the case was thin.@
------July 23, 2002, The Downing Street Minutes126
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House Democratic Committee Staff
Amarketing@ the war to the public and the United Nations, as well as the manipulation
of intelligence, both of which are discussed later in this Report.)
Description and Analysis of Various Downing Street Minutes Materials
Iraq: Options Paper (March 8, 2002)
This paper, prepared by the Office of the Overseas and Defense Secretariat, is
the first of four documents written by various British authorities to prepare Prime
Minister Blair for his early April trip to Crawford, Texas. The document includes the
seeds of the upcoming war plan by the US and lays out a plan by which Iraq would
reject a UN ultimatum, paving the way to war.
Besides summarizing various legal and political restraints, the paper warns Blair
that a Alegal justification for invasion would be needed. Subject to Law Officers
advice, none currently exists.@126 The document also states, "[t]he U.S. has lost
confidence in containment. Some in government want Saddam removed. The
success of Operation Enduring Freedom [the military code name for the U.S.-led
invasion of Afghanistan], distrust of UN sanctions and inspection regimes, and
unfinished business from 1991 are all factors.@127
In this document, we learn of a nascent plan that the rejection of United
Nations weapons inspectors by Iraq would provide the needed justification for war:
A refusal to admit UN inspectors, or their admission and subsequent
likely frustration, which resulted in an appropriate finding by the
Security Council could provide the justification for military action.
Saddam would try to prevent this, although he has miscalculated beofre
[sic]. . .128
Iraq: Legal Background Paper (Early March 2002)
This document, the second of four papers prepared to brief Prime Minister Blair
for his upcoming Crawford trip, describes various legal doctrines believed to be at
play with regard to military intervention in Iraq. The most significant aspect of this
document is its revelation that the British government did not agree with the Bush
Administration=s belief that any State can enforce United Nations resolutions. The
Bush Administration ultimately relied on this view to justify preemptive war one year
later.
One analysis of Security Council Resolutions suggests that, while the British
hold the view that Ait is for [the Security] Council to assess whether any such breach
of those obligations has occurred,@ the United States has Aa rather different view:
they maintain that the assessment of breach is for individual member States. We
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The Constitution in Crisis
are not aware of any other State which supports this view.@129 The paper also notes
that Afor the exercise of the right of self-defence there must be more than >a threat.=
There has to be an armed attack actual or imminent.@130
David Manning Memo (March 14, 2002)
This memo was prepared by British national security advisor David Manning
after having dinner with Condoleezza Rice. He observes that Ms. Rice is seen as an
unalloyed advocate of military action against Iraq and again emphasizes how an
ultimatum to Iraq on weapons inspectors could be helpful politically.
David Manning advises Prime Minister Tony Blair that President Bush had yet to
find the answers to the Abig@ questions, such as: how to persuade international
opinion that military action against Iraq is necessary and justified; what value to put
on the exiled Iraqi opposition; how to coordinate a US/allied military campaign with
internal opposition (assuming there is any); what happens on the morning after?131
Manning also wrote, A[t]he issue of the weapons inspectors must be handled in
a way that would persuade European and wider opinion that the US was conscious of
the international framework, and the insistence of many countries on the need for a
legal base. Renwed refused [sic] by Saddam to accept unfettered inspections would
be a powerful argument.@132
Manning also attempted to prepare Blair for his upcoming trip to Crawford: AI
think there is a real risk that the Administration underestimates the difficulties. They
may agree that failure isn=t an option, but this really does not mean that they will
avoid it.@ The memo went on to say: "Condi's enthusiasm for regime change is
undimmed.@133
The Meyer Memo (March 18, 2002)
In this memo from Christopher Meyer, the British Ambassador in Washington, to
David Manning, we first learn that the British had agreed to join the Bush
Administration in backing regime change through military action. The British also
suggest giving Hussein an ultimatum that he would reject as a way of justifying war.
In the memo, the Ambassador describes a lunch he recently had with Paul Wolfowitz,
then US Deputy Secretary of Defense:
On Iraq I opened by sticking very closely to the script that you used with
Condi Rice last week. We backed regime change, but the plan had to
be clever and failure was not an option. It would be a tough sell for us
domestically, and probably tougher elsewhere in E