I Seek Accountability

July 15, 2003

Today, we are paying the price: in lives lost, in a $100 billion price tag that only rises daily, and in the toll on our reputation around the world.

There was a time and a place for questioning the veracity of the evidence being presented about the war. There was a time for asking the tough questions about the rationale for war, the planning for peace and the cost of the mission—and that time was before the first shot was fired. It was the duty of our elected representatives in Congress to ask the toughest possible questions about our purpose and our plans before signing a blank check for the Bush administration to wage pre-emptive war.

Before the war began, I asked these questions and made it clear that the evidence did not support a pre-emptive war and that our failure to engage the international community would damage our credibility and security in the long-term.

Today I ask: why are members of Congress running for president asking the tough questions today that they failed to ask before the war?

I seek accountability. There are those in the administration who clearly misled the American people and the world. There needs to be an immediate bipartisan independent investigation and those responsible in the administration shouldn't wait for the outcome of the investigation, they should resign today. But I also seek accountability from those who voted to give the President a blank check without asking the tough questions when they needed to be asked and long after it's clear how mistaken this path was for our nation.

The challenge now is to move forward. Our intelligence on the ground continues to be weak. Our soldiers are increasingly in harm's way. We still don't have adequate plans for securing the peace. And the administration is still not being honest about the realities of occupying Iraq and the commitment and resources necessary for the long-run.

These are the serious questions that need to be asked: how long will we be there? How much will it cost? All of these are questions that should have been debated and discussed beforehand. That we are only debating those questions today is a failure of the leadership in Washington, both of this administration and of Congress.


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