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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

More Dems Speak Out on Downing Street Minutes

Today, Senators Ted Kennedy and Russ Feingold joined Congressman John Conyers and Senator John Kerry in speaking out on the question of the Downing Street Minutes.

Excerpts of Senator Kennedy's statement, which was released at his website:
The contents of the Downing Street Minutes confirm that the Bush Administration was determined to go to war in Iraq, regardless of whether there was any credible justification for doing so. The Administration distorted and misrepresented the intelligence in its attempt to link Saddam Hussein with the terrorists of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden, and with weapons of mass destruction that Iraq did not have.

In addition, the Downing Street Minutes also confirm what has long been obvious – that the timing of the war was linked to the 2002 Congressional elections, and that the Administration’s planning for post-war Iraq was incompetent in all its aspects. The current continuing crisis is a direct result of that incompetence.
The policy of “shoot first, ask questions later” took us into an unjustified war, and without a clear concept of what “winning the war” actually means.
We know the Administration had been planning to invade Iraq for many months before the invasion actually began. We know the Administration twisted the intelligence to make the facts fit their plan. We know that the Administration never really intended to give the U.N. weapons inspectors a reasonable chance to succeed. The Downing Street Minutes demonstrate that the Administration knew their case for war was paper thin, and that in order to go into war with the support of our allies, we had to demonstrate some willingness to go along with the UN inspection process. But the Administration continued to misuse its intelligence, distort the facts and pay only lip-service to the UN’s role in disarming Iraq.

We never should have gone to war for ideological reasons driven by politics and based on manipulated intelligence. The Downing Street Minutes provide even more proof that this is exactly what happened on Iraq. The Administration’s dishonesty, lack of candor, and lack of planning have brought us to where we are today, with American soldiers dying, Iraqi civilians living in constant fear, and with no clearer picture of our strategy for victory in Iraq than when we started.

Feingold's comments:
War is hot topic at listening session

(Published Tuesday, June 7, 2005 10:58:27 AM CDT)

By Mike DuPre'
Gazette Staff

CLINTON-The Iraq War is a mess that's only getting messier, Sen. Russ Feingold said before and during a listening session Monday.
One of the people at the listening session said he was troubled that the Bush administration seems bent on following the path of "preventive war." He referred to the so-called "Downing Street memo," minutes of a meeting of British officials about Iraq eight months before the war.
Feingold told his audience: "I can't tell you the amount of comment I've heard on the Downing Street memo."

He said he soon would be at a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Feingold said he would question Blair closely about the memo and prewar intelligence, which the Bush administration has admitted was wrong but which it maintains was not rigged to justify war.

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