Editorial: Impeachment Drive Grows
“Impeach President Bush” is a cry getting louder as more and more alternative media, activists and citizen groups make the case for removing President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
For example, in this month’s issue of Harper’s magazine, the cover screams: “Impeach Him.” The magazine published a several-thousand-word report laying out the evidence for impeaching the president.
In the article, author Lewis Lapham spoke with Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), who has introduced into Congress a measure requesting that it form “a select committee to investigate the Administration’s intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment.”
Conyers has also written a report, titled The Constitution in Crisis, which documents the case against the Bush administration.*
With Republicans holding a majority in Congress, Lapham recognized that the resolution appeared doomed from the start. He asked Conyers why he did not wait to introduce the resolution at a more opportune moment such as after the November elections when Democrats could take back control.
“I don’t think enough people know how much damage this administration can do to their civil liberties in a very short time. What would you have me do? Grumble and complain? Make cynical jokes? Throw up my hands and say that under the circumstances nothing can be done? At least I can muster the facts, establish a record, tell the story that ought to be front-page news.”
But there is more. On March 7, residents of Newfane, Vermont, voted 121-29 at a recent town meeting to recommend the impeachment of Bush. Town folks called on the state’s lone congressman, Rep. Bernie Sanders, to file articles of impeachment against the president. Sanders’s office was unable to say if the congressman would act on the request. Sanders is an independent populist who usually votes with the Democrats and participates
in their caucuses.
“It absolutely affects us locally,” said Dan DeWalt, who drafted the impeachment article and sits on the town’s board. “It’s our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers, who are dying” in Iraq.
A clear case for impeachment is laid out in a book, Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush, produced by the Center for Constitutional Rights. It covers illegal wiretapping, torture, rendition, detention and the invasion of Iraq. The case is made by Michael Ratner and other lawyers at the CCR.
Bush defenders shrug off impeachment talk as “radical.” “We need to be as radical as reality, and reality right now is very, very radical,” Ratner told AlterNet, an Internet news site.
“Wiretapping without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits unlawful searches and seizures—this includes electronic surveillance.”
Ratner also cites “falsifications” used to justify the invasion of Iraq.
“You reference any particular day and the administration was making statements that Iraq has a relationship to 9-11, al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden; that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction,” Ratner said. “In the one-and-one-half years leading up to the war, the time during which they were making these statements, they knew that they were false.”
Lying “got us into a war that has two serious, impeachable issues within it,” Ratner said. “First, it’s an aggressive war . . . contrary to law that doesn’t allow a war unless it is in self-defense. Secondly, it undermines the authority of Congress and the American people to decide when war is necessary.”
“Our law is very clear on the issues of torture, arbitrary longterm detentions, disappearances and secret trials,” Ratner said. “You can’t torture people, you can’t commit war crimes, you can’t send people to countries where they’re tortured and you can’t set up special courts for trial,” he said. “The Geneva Conventions are part of our law.”
* The Committee to Impeach Bush and Cheney (CIBC) is making available
copies of Conyers’s report, Constitution in Crisis, to the public. The report can be downloaded at no charge from Conyers’s web site at johnconyers.com or by sending $30 to CIBC. Report is spiral bound and 250 over-sized pages. Please make check or money order out to CIBC/American Free Press. You can order this report online by clicking here.
(Issue #12, March 20, 2006)