A senior House Democrat urged Congress to launch an official inquiry to determine whether President Bush misled the nation about the reasons for toppling Saddam Hussein, as a small, bipartisan group of congressmen proposed Thursday to mandate that the U.S. begin drawing down its troops in Iraq by October next year.
The developments came as the bill for the war continued to grow, with the House debating a measure that would provide an additional $45 billion for military operations in Iraq as well as Afghanistan. That would come on top of the $350 billion for combat and reconstruction appropriated so far.
Rep. Charles Rangel of New York was among Democratic House members at a forum to air demands that the White House provide more information about what led to the decision to go to war in Iraq.
"Quite frankly, evidence that appears to be building up points to whether or not the president has deliberately misled Congress to make the most important decision a president has to make, going to war," said Rangel, senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee.
Rep. John Conyers of Michigan and other Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee organized the forum to investigate implications in a British document known as the Downing Street memo. The memo refers to meetings by British officials with senior administration officials and says the White House was determined to fix thin evidence about weapons of mass destruction to fit the predetermined policy of ousting Hussein.
Conyers noted statements by Bush in the run-up to invasion that war would be a last resort. "The veracity of those statements has, to put it mildly, come into question," he said.
They're not quick - this should have been done much sooner. But I'm hopeful that this will result in full investigation/crucifixion.