[as sent by email to Rep. Conyers' supporters]
On Saturday, I was thrilled to join hundreds of thousands of protesters in Washington, D.C., including my good friends at Progressive Democrats of America and Code Pink, in protesting the Iraq War and demanding a cut-off in funds to the immoral war in Iraq. As one who has been part of the civil rights and anti-Vietnam war movements in the 60?s, I can say that the energy and enthusiasm I saw today is entirely comparable.
One of the points I made in my speech was that "George Bush has a habit of firing military leaders who tell him the Iraq war is failing." The White House wasted no time in responding, with spokesman Trey Bohn claiming that that Conyers "needs to learn the difference between fact and fable, between a soundbite and a slur, [Conyers'] assertion that the president fires generals with whom he disagrees is flat wrong."
If Bohn had bothered to read my Constitution In Crisis Report, he would know the facts are on my side. If you don't believe me, just ask former General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff of the United States Army who, in February 2003, warned that the Defense Department's troop estimate for occupying Iraq was too low and that "something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers" would be needed.
In revenge for his comments, Defense Department officials leaked the name of Shinseki's replacement 14 months before his retirement, rendering him a lame duck commander. The New York Times concluded, Shinseki "dared to say publicly that several hundred thousand troops would be needed to occupy Iraq [and] was ridiculed by the administration and his career was brought to a close."
Or ask Major General John Riggs. Major General Riggs complained that the Army would need additional troops because it was stretched too thin between Iraq and Afghanistan. Riggs was subsequently taken to task by the Army brass and denied his full rank in retirement.
Or ask Army Spc. Thomas Wilson, a 31-year-old member of a Tennessee National Guard unit who had the temerity to ask Donald Rumsfeld why vehicle armor was still scarce nearly two years after the start of the war. Mr. Wilson was trashed by Administration allies as an insubordinate plant of the "liberal media."
There was more truth spoken at the rally on Saturday in three hours than we have received from the Administration in three years. Nearly 3,000 deaths after the start of this war, and the Administration still can't get their facts straight.
John Conyers, Jr.