25 January 2007


I want to thank my friend Harry Lime, who has a penchant for finding marvelous Internet information. Harry has been sending me some great items on two current topics of interest: impeachment, and Bush as a war criminal. Today, I would like to discuss the impeachment issue. Thanks Harry!

Most of us Democrats know that Bush will not be impeached. He deserves it! But the leaders in our party are still afraid of so many things--they would never try something this bold. They will wring their collective hands and talk about "reaching across the aisle" to work with the Republicans. They wouldn't want to make anyone mad. Besides, when the Republicans were in power, they were always 'reaching across the aisles" to work with Democrats.....right? Oh well, at least allow me the satisfaction of examining impeachment in the abstract.

Elizabeth Holtzman makes a strong argument for impeachment in a recent issue of The Nation. If you remember, Congresswomen Holtzman (D-NY) played a key role in the House impeachment proceedings against President Nixon. She run unsuccessfully for the U.S. senate in 1980. And had it not been for a pathetic third-party effort by Jacob Javits, Ms. Holtzman would probably have defeated Alfonse D'Amato--thus sparing us eighteen years of his clown-like antics.

In her lengthy essay, Holtzman (pictured at right) first lists some of the charges against Bush: his "scorn for our international treaty obligations," the torture scandals, and the obvious lies leading to the Iraq War. The Iraq lies and the subsequent chaos brought about by those policies seem to be enough to impeach. But according to Holtzman, there is more, writing that

"But it wasn't until the most recent revelations that President Bush directed the wiretapping of hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)--and argued that, as Commander in Chief, he had the right in the interest of national security to override our country's laws--that I felt the same sinking feeling in my stomach as I did during Watergate."

President Bush blatantly violated the law--a felony in this particular case. Does the "average American citizen" understand this--does he/she care? I sure hope so. When President Nixon did these same things, he also used national security as a justification. But it was clear then that Nixon was only after his domestic political opponents--those Dirty Hippies who were against his war. Those illegal wiretaps, however, did become part of the articles of impeachment against Nixon.

The Bush thugs and bullies have used a variety of illegal methods to hold on to their illegitimate power and conduct their activities. Holtzman offers us all a much-needed civics lesson:

"Ours is a government of limited power. We learn in elementary school the concept of checks and balances. Those checks do not vanish in wartime; the President's role as Commander in Chief does not swallow up Congress's powers or the Bill of Rights. ... As Justice Sandra Day O'Connor recently wrote, 'A state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens.'"

As I mentioned, I am not expecting this to happen. But we can still act! There are many groups now organized in support of impeachment--go to their web sites and read what they have to say. In addition, we can contact our elected representatives and demand that they at least investigate these abuses of power by the Bush criminals. We can be angry about what has taken place. In fact, we should all write to the White House and just tell the evil bastard to quit. You think he would do it if enough of us wrote? Holtzman ends her essay with this,

"President Bush has thrown down the gauntlet and virtually dared Congress to stop him from violating the law, nothing less is necessary to protect our constitutional system and preserve our democracy."

The following links can get you started:

Impeach For Peace

Impeach Bush Coalition

After Downing Street


Anonymous said...

This ties in with your previous post regarding THE question of the moment, the elephant in the room, viz, what the hell are we as a country obligated to do in Iraq?

There are a number of lenses, or modes of analysis, through which the matter may be viewed.

There is the method of realpolitik in which we ask what is it in the national interest to do.

But there is also an international law model of analysis. And in order to employ it, we need to know, first of all, how to characterize the actions of our country.

This is where the question of impeachment is potentially implicated.

If our nation, and our leaders in particular, are guilty of launching an unprovoked war of aggression, then certain consequences flow from that crime, that is, we will have certain obligations to our victims.

This is why it is imperative that the House commence a full-scale investigation into the issues raised by the Downing Street memo.

We will only know how to behave vis-a-vis Iraq, when we fully understand what has been done in our name.

I am pessimistic that this will ever happen because both the GOP and the Dems have a stake in making sure the matter remains murky and obfuscated.

Why's that? Because it likely can be shown that, when the case for allowing the use of force against Iraq was being made, the Dems who voted for same knew that the arguments were bunk.

Think about it for a moment. Secretary Powell spoon fed the U.N. virtually the same information (smokin gun, mushroom cloud, etc, etc.) that was given to the Congress. And, based thereon, the U.N. concluded that the case had not been made.

My point is that the Dems were complicit; and they do not want an investigation as it might draw attention to their role in this debacle and thereby spoil their chances in '08.

Hillary already has her plausible denials in place, initailly claiming she and her accomplices were fed bad info; but, I think she recognizes that this might easily be disproved; so she has a second line of defense: the legalistic argument that Bush went into Iraq in violation of the terms of the use of force plan that she authorized.

I think this argument is total crap; but it will give her and the others plausible deniability.

Anonymous said...

These are the Senators who in 2002 had the spine to vote against shedding the blood of the people of Iraq.

Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)
Jon Corzine (D-NJ)
Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Mark Dayton (D-MN)
Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Bob Graham (D-FL)
Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Jim Jeffords (I-VT)
Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Carl Levin (D-MI)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Paul Wellstone (D-MN)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Resolution_to_Authorize_the_Use_of_United_States_Armed_Forces_Against_Iraq

Anonymous said...

I outlined (above) one reason why the Dems have a vested interest in avoiding the issues raised by the Downing Street memo.

But, as a counterweight to that, some members of the GOP might have a vested interest in throwing Cheney & Co. under the bus, i.e., making it look like the Iraq debacle is wholly the product of a neo con rogue element, within the party, who lied the country into war.

Will there be a GOP purge? And how might the naked opportunist McCain be made to lead it? Or, put another way, who and/or what is currently convincing Johnny Mac not to lead the charge? My guess is that he'd be the first to call for impeachment if enough of his big money backers for '08 come to believe that Shrub & Co. are positively cancer & must be repudiated post haste.

By the way, the Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee are:

Hon. Sensenbrenner Jr.
(R) Wisconsin, 5th

Hon. Coble
(R) North Carolina, 6th

Hon. Gallegly
(R) California, 24th

Hon. Goodlatte
(R) Virginia, 6th

Hon. Chabot
(R) Ohio, 1st

Hon. Lungren
(R) California, 3rd

Hon. Cannon
(R) Utah, 3rd

Hon. Keller
(R) Florida, 8th

Hon. Issa
(R) California, 49th

Hon. Pence
(R) Indiana, 6th

Hon. Forbes
(R) Virginia, 4th

Hon. King
(R) Iowa, 5th

Hon. Feeney
(R) Florida, 24th

Hon. Franks
(R) Arizona, 2nd

Hon. Gohmert
(R) Texas, 1st

Hon. Jordan
(R) Ohio, 4th