Cyber-Campaign Demands Congress Censure Bush
cyber-movement MoveOn.org, which
claims more than two million U.S. members, has launched a major
campaign demanding Congress formally censure President George W.
Bush for lying to it about the threat posed by ousted Iraqi president
by another group, Win
Without War (WWW), MoveOn said it had already collected more
than 450,000 signatures on an email-based petition drive in just
the past week, and will now take out print and television advertising
to bring more people into the movement.
two groups ran a full-page ad in the Washington Post on Tuesday
that accused Bush of running "a campaign of misinformation,
of cherry-picking and distorting intelligence, of hype and hysteria
that led America into an unnecessary war."
must be consequences when a president misleads the American people,
and the Congress, with such disastrous results," said the ad,
which featured a photograph of a pensive Bush with the caption,
independent commission can deal with failures at the intelligence
agencies. Congress should deal with the failures at the White House,"
devoted considerable attention and, eventually, voted to impeach
President (Bill) Clinton for misleading the public about a sexual
affair," said Adam Ruben, national field director of MoveOn.
isn't unreasonable to think that misleading the nation about the
necessity of going to war constitutes an abuse of power of much
campaign by MoveOn and WWW, which is expected to be joined by other
national antiwar groups in coming days, begins as the administration,
including Bush himself, has become increasingly defensive about
both the war and the justifications it gave for attacking Iraq in
also comes amid a flurry of new public-opinion polls indicating
the president's public approval rating has fallen sharply over the
last several weeks, particularly following the admission by Washington's
former chief weapons inspector, David Kay, that the administration's
prewar statements about Iraq's alleged weapons-of-mass-destruction
(WMD) programs were unfounded.
over the past two weeks have shown Democratic Party front-runner
John Kerry either ahead of or in a dead heat with the Republican
Party's Bush if the November election were held now.
the latest poll, taken just after an unprecedented, hour-long
interview with Bush on NBC-TV's Meet the Press on Sunday,
the Gallup organization found the two candidates in a virtual tie.
Just one month ago, Gallup had Bush leading Kerry by 12 percentage
in a second survey taken before the interview, Gallup said the percentage
of voters who identified themselves as Democrats had jumped from
30 to 34 percent in just two weeks, while those identifying themselves
as Republicans dropped by one percentage point.
a result, Democrats now lead Republicans by three percentage points
in party identification.
finding is likely to make a major impression in the Republican-controlled
Congress, where all 435 seats of the House of Representatives and
one-third of the Senate are up for election in November.
in both houses have been investigating prewar intelligence for months,
but they have split along partisan lines over how to do so.
have insisted that investigations should be confined to mistakes
made by the official intelligence community in assessing the threats
posed by Iraq before the war, while Democrats have called for the
probes to be expanded to include the ways in which senior administration
political appointees notably in Vice President Dick Cheney's
office and the Pentagon interfered with that process.
the Democrats' appeals have been resisted by the Republican chairs
of the two committees.
Bush tried to co-opt calls for a wider investigation last week by
creating a commission to study why the intelligence proved wrong
in Iraq, but it will not report until 2005 and its mandate has also
been limited to the intelligence itself, rather than any possible
manipulation by political appointees.
MoveOn campaign is designed to bolster demands that the scope of
the congressional investigations be expanded as part of a process
to formally censure Bush for distorting the intelligence.
is not about a failure of intelligence," said Tom Andrews,
a former Democratic congressman who heads WWW, which is itself a
coalition of some 42 national groups. "It's a failure of integrity."
knew that the intelligence community's assessment of Iraq's arms
programs did not support the administration's preconceived notion
that Iraq had chemical and nuclear weapons," said Andrews.
"He knew better but he chose to mislead us."
Congress refuses to hold this administration accountable, we will
hold its members accountable in every (congressional) district in
the country," he said.
was joined by two retired senior intelligence officials who charged
that, while the official intelligence community made mistakes in
their analyses, the much greater fault and distortions of
intelligence lay with the administration's political figures.
country is now going through the worst intelligence scandal in its
history," said Melvin Goodman, a former top CIA analyst who
teaches at the National Defense University here.
the administration's allegations about Hussein's alleged WMD programs
and ties to the al-Qaeda terrorist group a "campaign of deceit,"
he charged that the Office of Special Plans (OSP) established by
Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld, "was engaged in falsifying
intelligence information" that was then leaked to the press
and sent via Cheney's office to the White House.
reasons we were given for going to war were false," added Larry
Johnson, a career CIA officer who served as deputy director of the
State Department's Office of Counter Terrorism in the 1990s.
Bush administration engaged in a deliberate campaign of information
warfare, which employed erroneous and misleading information as
part of a broader strategy to build public opinion for an invasion,"
noted that both Cheney and Rumsfeld consistently asserted the existence
of operational ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda. "But the CIA
found no evidence that Iraq was engaged in supporting Islamic terrorism,"
on hand Tuesday was Fernando Suarez del Solar from San Diego, California,
whose son, a Marine, was killed last March in Iraq. "He died
in Iraq, and for what?" asked Suarez. "For President Bush's
which was founded by Internet entrepreneurs, has come to be seen
as a model for political organizing and fundraising through the
Internet. In the 2000 elections it raised more than two million
dollars for congressional candidates and almost doubled that total
with its fast-growing membership earlier this year resulted in raising
millions of dollars for Democratic candidate Howard Dean's now-faltering
primary campaign, while its television and newspaper ads are widely
considered among the most effective in the country.
Lobe is Inter Press Service's correspondent in Washington, DC.
© 2004 Inter Press Service