Friday, March 02, 2007

Hundreds call for investigation of Bush administration

Hundreds call for investigation of Bush administration

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Hundreds of anti-war activists urged state lawmakers Thursday to support a resolution asking that Congress investigate the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war and possibly consider impeachment of the president and vice president.

"This memorial is not directly about the war. In fact, it's not even directly about impeachment. It's about getting answers," said state Sen. Eric Oemig, D-Kirkland, who sponsored the resolution. "It's a petition to Congress asking them to do a legitimate, real, serious investigation."

In addition to Oemig's resolution, the Senate Committee on Government Operations and Elections also conducted a hearing Thursday on a resolution petitioning the president and Congress not to escalate U.S. involvement in Iraq or increase troop levels. That measure was sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle.

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson attended the hearing and praised the committee for taking up the resolutions. Anderson has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration.

"I am honored to address you today and am pleased that you, unlike so many members of Congress and most state legislatures, have recognized your solemn responsibility to examine whether proceedings should be commenced for the impeachment of the President of the United States," Anderson told the committee.

He said the invasion and occupation of Iraq has been a tragedy at "every level" and that "no clearer case for impeachment can be found than misleading our nation so it will engage in a tragic, illegal war."

Republicans on the committee boycotted the hearing and Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla, issued a statement calling it a "partisan, political" display.

"We understand how passionate people are about the issues heard today," the release said. "But it's important to remember which Washington we're in. These are issues that should be handled at a federal level.

"The people of our districts sent us to Olympia to work on major challenges that we can solve at the state level."

State Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser said the hearing was a waste of time.

"Olympia Democrats have shown once again they are more worried about playing to their partisan base than governing responsibly," Esser said in a news release.

It is unlikely the resolutions will move onto the Senate floor this session, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, told reporters Thursday.

The hearing came after a key legislative cutoff deadline, so in order to bring the resolutions up the Senate would need to pass a special resolution. Brown said she didn't expect that to happen.