[col. writ. 5/15/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal
As America limps toward the November elections, fatigued by the exertions of war, numb to the lofty promises of politicians, in dread of the economic dragons growling on the horizon, the role of Congress could not be more irrelevant.
That's one of the reasons that GOP presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (R. Ariz.) has called for a change in congressional tradition, to one which allows the President to answer questions before the body.
It reminded me of the March 25, 2008 vote in the British House of Commons, where members of Parliament debated whether to open an official inquiry into the reasons for starting the war. Not surprisingly, the vote lost, largely along Party lines, as the ruling Labour members voted to protect their party, which sponsored and spearheaded the Iraq War, and avoided a formal inquiry.
Most, but not all.
A dozen Labour backbenchers bolted party ranks to express their support for an inquiry, in terms rarely heard on this side of the Atlantic.
And even though the inquiry vote failed by some 50 votes, it marked a period of questioning of the sort that should actually precede wars, not follow them. Robert Marshall-Andrews, a Labour member of parliament (MP) from Medway, brought up the infamous Downing Street memo, which told uncomfortable truths about the then coming war. Marshall-Andrews announced:
The first is what was revealed in the Downing street
memo of July 2002, reported by The Sunday (London)
Times in an unusual contribution to the debate. It was
recorded that at that meeting in Downing street in July
2002 Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of secret intelligence
or "C", as he was known, had reported from America to the
"There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action,
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