Bill of Rights: Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
President Bush has dismissed already any other discussion regarding the “mistake” by the CIA for its misinformation on Saddam’s uranium mishap cited in his State of the Union.
Several of his top aides herded to Sunday television shows stating: “End of story,”, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (ABC’s “This Week 7/13/03) and “The notion that the president of the United States took the country to war because he was concerned with one sentence about whether Saddam Hussein sought uranium in Africa is clearly ludicrous,” national Security adviser Condolezza Rice (CBS’s “Face the Nation” 7/13/03.)
But simply a presidential order or the insistence of some officials of the Bush administration cannot erase this issue. The consequences of misleading a nation to go to war could be very serious. Therefore, if nothing is there to hide then nothing is there to fear of an investigation and open dialogue with the American people.
Foolish errors are the cause of failures in the procedures that preceded the Iraq war. We must demand that action be taken to correct matters. It is a very simplistic excuse to blame the sole actions of the CIA. The mea culpa of CIA’s director George Tenet sounds too convenient, too easy. Suspicion grows with the quick “dismissal” of the whole affair. And it is not only the false accusations of Iraq’s seeking uranium in Africa for nuclear weapons, it is the failure to find the major excuse for this war: the weapons of mass destruction.
The fundaments of the United States are based on a pure democracy and the respect of its people. We must be well informed because that way we will be able to act with assurance and courage according to that knowledge.
Let’s not fear to raise questions and to demand explanations, let’s not forget the way the American revolutionaries acted in 1776, let’s not forget the Bill of Rights. We must not be afraid of being branded as disloyal. If the U.S. as a nation bows its head and accepts without questioning these scandalous acts then the U.S. will become a nation of sheep, pitiful and weak not deserving the heritage of so many generations that have sacrificed their lives on behalf of their fellow man.
Let’s create a climate in which will flourish again the total trust of government and institutions. The flaws in the Bush administration are not the best cradles for that trust.
* Ruben Arvizu is Director for Latin America of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.