Local group wants Bush held accountable for `lie’ | AspenTimes.com

Local group wants Bush held accountable for `lie’

A valleywide group that formed to protest the war in Iraq is now taking President Bush to task for statements he made to justify the conflict.

The Roaring Fork Peace Coalition ran a full-page advertisement Thursday with a portrait of a smiling President Bush and a large headline that read “Misleader.”

Ad copy noted that the nation rallied around the president because he warned that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. None of those weapons have been found.

“Worse, the evidence suggests that intelligence reports were deliberately misread, that the American people were deliberately mislead,” the ad copy reads. “It is a tragedy that young men and women were sent to die for a lie.”

Coalition co-founder Calvin Lee, a Glenwood Springs attorney, said the organization wants to continue its education efforts, expose the truth and “show people we haven’t disappeared” with its ongoing campaign.

Lee said it is obvious the conflict in Iraq isn’t over even though the war itself was an easy victory for the mighty U.S. military against a “Third World” army. U.S. troops have been killed in increasing numbers in Iraq since President Bush declared the war over. Three more died Thursday.

Lee said it is also important to hold the president accountable for statements he made to justify the war because there are indications he might target other countries, such as Iran and Syria.

“If we don’t get to the bottom of this one we’ll just muddle along into the next war,” Lee said.

The full-page ad seeks donations to the coalition so it can continue “efforts to tell the real story behind the headlines.” It also encourages people to contact their representatives and senators to press for an independent commission to determine whether the administration intentionally lied about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction before the war.

Lee said he understands that some people, most notably Colorado Congressman Scott McInnis, view anything less than full-fledged support of the president as unpatriotic.

“It’s important that groups like the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition counter that intimidation by people like Scott McInnis,” Lee said.

McInnis spokesman Blair Jones said the congressman disagrees with the peace coalition’s attack on the president.

“Based on their arguments or concerns, it would seem it would be OK for Saddam Hussein and his regime to commit the most heinous crimes against humanity, such as rape and genocide,” Jones said, conveying his conversation with McInnis.

“The congressman believes the war was justified and stands behind the president,” Jones continued. “When it comes to weapons of mass destruction, the president was successful in ousting the greatest weapons of mass destruction of all, which is ousting Saddam Hussein.

“Now the focus needs to be on the rebuilding of Iraq. Perhaps now the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition should focus their efforts on supporting the president in seeing that the people of Iraq have the same rights, freedoms and hopes that we in this country have,” Jones concluded.

[Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com]

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