The Constitution in Crisis
Friday 04 August 2006
Six Years of Unchecked Abuses - Had Enough?
To view the full report:http://www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/iraqrept2.html
Today, I am releasing the final version of my report, the "Constitution in Crisis." The report, which is some 350 pages in length and is supported by more than 1,400 footnotes, compiles the accumulated evidence that the Bush Administration has thumbed its nose at our nation's laws, and the Constitution itself.
Approximately 26 laws and regulations may have been violated by this Administration's misconduct.
Our Constitution established a tri-partite system of government, with the notion that each branch of government would act as a check on the other two. Unfortunately, for the last six years, the Republicans in Congress have largely viewed themselves as defenders of the Bush Administration, instead of a vital check on overreaching by the Executive Branch. By doing so, I believe they have acted to the detriment of our Constitutional form of government.
We have seen so many transgressions by this Administration that it is easy to forget last week's scandal amid this week's new outrage. I am hopeful that compiling all of these events of the last few years will help wake all of us up to the gravity of these matters and the cumulative damage to our country.
We have a mountain of reports that strongly indicate that this Administration was well aware that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, even as they told the Congress and the American people the opposite in order to satisfy a predetermination to go to war. The "smoking gun" of these reports is the Downing Street Memoranda, contemporaneous reports from the highest reaches of the British government recounting meetings with their American counterparts, meetings where the facts were being fixed around the policy of going to war.
We have a mountain of statements from Administration officials making claims designed to conflate Saddam Hussein with Al Qaeda, and corresponding mountains of reports that credible intelligence officials in our government disputed such claims. We also have evidence showing that government officials instituted policies which endorsed the use of torture in violation of U.S. law and international treaties.
We have scores of sources indicating the Administration engaged in a concerted effort to discredit and defame anyone who came forward to expose these outrages, and have largely done so without consequence. When Ambassador Joseph Wilson dared to question whether Iraq had a nuclear weapons program, Administration officials retaliated against him by outing his wife as an undercover C.I.A. operative. When General Eric Shinseki and others in the military dared to dispute the Administration's wildly optimistic assessments of what was needed to pursue the Iraq conflict, he was summarily replaced. The pattern repeats itself with former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Economic Adviser Larry Lindsey. And Cindy Sheehan. And the list goes on and on.
The American people have paid the price for this strategy of deception followed by, in the words of one anonymous Republican official, "slime and defend." We have paid with the lives of more than 2,500 of our sons and daughters in uniform and in hundreds of billions of dollars of our taxes.
The Administration also appears to have used the war on terror as an excuse to eviscerate the basic protections afforded to us in the Constitution. There have been warrantless wiretaps of law-abiding Americans, in clear contravention of federal law, not to mention the creation of a huge unchecked database of the phone records of innocent Americans.
All the while, the Republican Congress sits idly by. Rather than performing its constitutional duty as a co-equal branch, it has chosen to stymie any and all efforts at oversight. After six long years of deceptions, attacks and yes, outright lies, I am convinced the American people have had enough.