I have written to you in this space on a number of occasions about my profound concern about the implications of the "Downing Street Memo," which actually consists of the minutes of a July 2002 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers. During this meeting, Blair and his advisers reveal details about conversations with their American counterparts. These details cast substantial doubt on the honesty of contemporaneous claims made by the Administration to Congress and to the American people about the Iraq war.
First, the memo appears to directly contradict the Administration's assertions to Congress and the American people that it would exhaust all options before going to war. According to the minutes, in July 2002, the Administration had already decided to go to war against Iraq.
Second, a debate has raged in the United States over the last year and one half about whether the obviously flawed intelligence that falsely stated that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction was a mere "failure" or the result of intentional manipulation to reach foreordained conclusions supporting the case for war. The memo appears to close the case on that issue stating that in the United States the intelligence and facts were being "fixed" around the decision to go to war.
These are not routine questions within a partisan give and take. Under the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 8), the Congress has the sole power to declare war. If the Executive Branch deceives the Congress in this duty, it represents an attack of our democracy of the most serious nature. These Constitutional questions are not going away and must be answered forthrightly and completely by this Administration.
I and 88 of my colleagues (that number is growing - more on that soon) asked the Administration to come clean about these troubling allegations. Our inquiries have been met with silence.
The press has also been negligent in giving this matter the attention it deserves.
I am committed to seeing this through until we get the answers we deserve. But I need your help.
The conventional wisdom, which unfortunately governs Washington's political discourse, hold that the American people have long ago made peace with the mistakes or deceptions which led us into war. Help me prove them all wrong. I want to show the White House, the Press and my congressional colleagues that nothing could be further from the truth.
That is why today I am giving you the opportunity to sign on to a letter asking the same questions of the President that now nearly 100 Members of Congress have asked. If I get at least 100,000 signatures on this, I will personally deliver the letter to the White House.
If you want to sign on to this letter, go to my website: www.johnconyers.com.
I also want you to know that I am exploring many, many avenues to get to the truth about this matter.
Thank you in advance for your help and assistance.