A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Brent Budowsky
Democratic Leaders in the House and Senate should call for open public hearings and if necessary a secret session of the Congress to address urgent issues of concern to our troops, military families, military communities, security moms and all Americans concerned about our security.
In the closing days of the 2006 campaign the failures of the Bush Administration in the Iraq War will come to center stage as the dangers and future of the policy raise grave questions.
Earlier this week it was learned that American force structures have been so destabilized by the commitment to Iraq, and readiness of U.S. forces reduced to such drastic levels that after the election new troop requests for Iraq are inevitable.
Even General Abizaid hinted that after the election there will almost certainly have to be new forces committed to Iraq.
The Reserves and National Guard, who have been very hard hit by deployment practices, and their families throughout the nation are facing even more instability and hardship.
This is the Bush November Surprise, though it seems apparent that there are some within the military so concerned about the course of events that they have begun either hinting it, from those who want to condition the public to accept it, or leaking it, from those who want to prevent this new escalation from taking effect.
Now, the New York Times reports a classified National Intelligence Estimate, representing the views of the broad intelligence community, clearly stating that the Iraq War has worsened the terrorist dangers, not lessened them, as the Bush Aministration has incorrectly stated.
While we do not know the source of the Times story, and can expect a new round of hostile attacks on the patriotism of the media for reporting these truths, it appears the National Intelligence Estimate was probably leaked to alert the Nation to another grave danger.
Taking these two events together:
First, we were told not long ago that there would be troop reductions towards the end of the year. Now we learn there was one set of troop increases in recent weeks, with another set of troop increases which is being kept secret until after the election.
Second, we not only learn of this National Intelligence Estimate that demonstrates a clear consensus throughout the intelligence community that the Iraq War has made the terrorist problem worse, but since this estimate was originally prepared in April, all of the recent statements to the contrary were simply untrue, and those who made them, knew it.
It is high time that Congress initiate a serious public debate, of the magnitude of the Fulbright hearings during Vietnam, and that this debate not be kept secret until after the election is over.
The Administration should tell the country, honestly, openly, and NOW whether there will be additional Army, Marine Corps, Guard or Reserve forces sent to Iraq. It would be reprehensible to our democracy, insulting to our troops and their families, and increase the credibility crisis that that has done so much damage to keep this secret until the vote, then announce it, after the election.
Military families, military communities, and our troops should know honestly, clearly and NOW what further sacrifice will be asked of them.
The Adminstration should publicly release a redacted summary of the National Intelligence Estimate because our country has a right to know, NOW, whether the intelligence agencies believe that the Iraq War has been destructive to the war against the terrorists. It would be reprehensible to our democracy, insulting to the American people, and increase the credibility crisis even further if this defining report is kept secret, and continues to leak out.
If there have been public statements by senior officials that directly contradict this important National Intelligence Estimate, when they publicly stated the Iraq War reduced the dangers of terrorism, while they privately knew it increased the dangers of terrorism, high level investigations are warranted.
Democratic Leaders in the House and Senate should immediately call for hearings and if necessary a secret session of the Congress to determine the truth, the implications of the truth, and to make this election a referendum on the defining issue of our times.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION