(Host) Senator Patrick Leahy is calling for a full scale independent investigation to determine if the Bush administration misled the American public about the key reasons why this country took military action against Iraq. Speaking Tuesday night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Leahy said he’s concerned that some of the administration’s key arguments to go to war are now turning out not to be true:
(Leahy) “We were told that this was going to be something relatively short and inexpensive in duration. We were going there because they were getting nuclear material from Africa, that there was a direct tie between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, and that there were weapons of mass destruction prepared to be used against the United States. Now it turns out apparently none of those reasons are there, none of those things were accurate.”
(Host) Some Republican members of Congress are accusing the Democrats of trying to use this issue for political gain. Leahy denies that charge and says it’s the Republicans who played politics with the war issue in a campaign to unseat incumbent Georgia Senator Max Cleland in November of 2002:
(Leahy) “I think if there’s been any politicizing it’s really been by the administration. They used the war during last year’s congressional elections. They were down using the war to demonize a senator who had lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam, demonized him and try to make him out as being unpatriotic. The democrats did not start the question of politicizing.”
(Host) Leahy says it’s critical that an independent investigation be conducted in order to restore the credibility of the United States throughout the world.