Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Time to impeach, convict, and remove Bush

At last, the "I" word is spoken aloud. Dare we hope that America has emerged from a self-imposed neo-Stalinism? The issue, of course, is not Iraq or Bush's numerous other outrages. The issue is this administration's firing of US attorneys under questionable, suspicious circumstances.

Washington is abuzz with talk of Watergate, comparisons are made to Richard Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre. Even now, Bush seems safe from actual impeachment. What is refreshing is the new willingness on the part of many to take Bush on. Some of his most acerbic critics can be found in his own party.


The level of discourse is a measure of just how bad things have become, how desperately people need accountability. Don't get excited just yet. It was, arguably, an honest House that drew up the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon. The House today is still packed with ideological Bush loyalists and corporate Republicans. At best, a country club, at worst -a cult. Actual impeachment will require substantial if not miraculous changes in GOP attitudes.

Of course, the framers understood that despite safeguards, a rogue president might harm the nation, the Constitution, the people, the world. This President has most certainly done that by subverting the mechanism of justice, abusing the courts and the separation of powers. During the Watergate Scandal, the "...House Judiciary Committee determined that (Presidential) abuses did not have to violate the criminal code" to warrant impeachment and removal. The standard they established was whether or not “great and dangerous offenses" subverted the Constitution.” Findlaw columnist, John Dean, White House Counsel to Richard Nixon, most certainly thinks that Bush's conduct meets that test in several areas.
In truth, much more is at stake here for both the Congress and the White House than this bare description of the conflict would indicate. These issues strike at the heart of what post-Watergate conservative Republicans seek to create: an all-powerful presidency. Thus, for the same reason that Vice President Cheney went to extreme lengths to block Congress from getting information about the work of his National Energy Task Force, as I discussed in prior columns such as this one, I expect President Bush to take what will appear to be a similar irrational posture. For both Bush and Cheney, virtually any limit on presidential power is too great.

-John Dean, Former White House Counsel, Findlaw
Of course, Bush abused the powers of his office with regard to the "firing" scandal. But even before this scandal reached the mainstream media, Bush was known to have flouted law and Constitution as egregiously in other ways. Certainly, he should be impeached, tried, and removed from office. The will to do so is something else again. Three main issues seem to be converging amid growing outrage.

Bush told numerous lies in order to begin his war of aggression against Iraq. He told many more after the fact to justify it. John Dean, writing for Findlaw, asked: Is lying about the reason for a war an impeachable offense?

As Dean points out, Bush "...made a number of unequivocal statements about the reason" for the US attack and invasion of Iraq, a sovereign nation. And just as significant, in my opinion, is the fact that when WMD were not found in Iraq, Bush mounted a full court press to sell numerous ex post facto cases for war. None of them have turned out to be true.

Bush deliberately deceived the American people, the Congress, and the United Nations. It is impossible write a single sentence that adequately conveys the magnitude of this crime, a crime that has cost some 3,000 American lives, and, by the best estimate, more than 650,000 Iraqi lives, most of which are civilian.

The war itself is a war crime, a crime against humanity. It could not be mitigated politically even if what we now know to be lies had turned out to be true. Nothing mitigates mass murder even when it is perpetrated with the military powers of a sovereign state.

The conduct of the war is cause itself to impeach George W. Bush. Specifically, Bush facilitated the "mistreatment of detainees" in violation of the Geneva Conventions, U.S. statutes (including the War Crimes Act of 1996 and US Criminal Codes, Section 2441), the Nuremberg Principles, and other treaties to which the US is bound. Bush himself, by his directive, exempted alleged al Qaeda and Taliban "detainees" from those protections and did so in the absence of probable cause.

But GITMO and Abu Ghraib abuses were intended to be kept secret. It didn't work out that way and the entire world was outraged. The American effort in Iraq was lost when the abuses became public. Bush lost the moral high ground, if he ever had it. As John Dean points out, "Bush failed to conduct thorough investigations or to ensure that those responsible" would be brough to justice. The investigations most certainly have not gone further than the lower level show trials that were served up to distract the public and the media.

Related to the war of aggression in Iraq, is the deliberate "outing" of Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA operative. As Bill Maher angrily declared: "Traitors don't get to question my patriotism." Indeed, the cynical act of retaliation against Joe Wilson for daring to question Bush's WMD rationale must certainly rank as high treason -endangering the life of an undercover operative, subverting national security, covering up bald faced lies told by the Bush gang of criminals and traitors to the nation. It typifies a criminal administration willing to do anything in order to cover up its many heinous crimes

At last, amid the numerous abuses, all of which are most certainly impeachable by established standards, just being "out to lunch" and "asleep at the wheel" may be among the most important. As Bill Maher points out, when told "America is under attack", Bush just sat there. Pulling faces. Squirming. Crossing his eyes.

Additional resources:


Because news about the Bush administration is always heavy and depressing, I have decided to post something of a positive nature at the end of every "Bush-oriented" post, something that might even make you happy. Something that might make you smile. I love music of all types, but today, after "auditioning" Leonard Bernstein conducting Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", some Glenn Gould, and other great music, I decided that what our times need right now is some pure, unadulterated Ragtime -Scott Joplin's immortal Maple Leaf Rag


The text link takes your to an audio file of "Maple" by a different pianist -Bob Ringwald. Both versions are good.




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11 comments:

HopeSpringsATurtle said...

Linky-loved this great post.
Impeachment Blues

SadButTrue said...

Love that Hope. :)

I think we're way past comparisons to Watergate or the Saturday Night Massacre, just as Bush's iniquities far outstrip those of his disgraced predecessor. Hagel's suggestion that Bush re-read the Constitution begs the question, 'has he even read it once?'

Nixon, to my knowledge, never had hundreds of people abducted, renditioned and tortured. Nixon's interference in the justice department was paltry compared to Bush's wholesale affront on the entire system of jurisprudence. I don't even think that John Mitchell quite compares to Alberto Gonzales in criminality, though he comes close. The comparison that should be made goes back before Nixon, and invokes Godwin's law. I think Bush's overall policy is to foment World War III, Armageddon, and the rapture.

It's my belief that Bush is committing far worse crimes than Nixon not because he is intrinsically a worse person, but simply because he can. Nixon was faced with an opposition party who understood that it was their job to oppose him, and by a vibrantly curious and skeptical press. There is also no comparison between the Washington Post of today and that of the Woodwards/Bernstein/Bradlee era.

"It is impossible [to] write a single sentence that adequately conveys the magnitude of this crime"

I doubt it could even be contained within a single indictment, but that would at least be a start.

Len Hart said...

Your take on Nixon is on the money, Sad. Like many another reporter, I tried to keep up with the scandal as best I could. That included getting in some questions to Watergate Committee Chairman San Ervin, Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller and, in a news conference setting, Richard Nixon himself.

Indeed, compared to Bush, Nixon seems almost benign in retrospect. But, nostalgia is as dangerous as it is insidious. It was Nixon who said "If the President does it, it is not illegal". And it was Nixon, of course, who tried repeatedly to invoke "executive privilege" in order to cover up his crimes. It was Nixon who secretly bombed Cambodia and tried to hide that fact from the American people.

Clearly, Nixon's rogue regime must be a source of inspiration for the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld et al --GOP politicians whose careers began with Nixon. They learned all the wrong lessons, mainly --"don't get caught". When the Supreme Court upheld Cox's request for transcripts of White House conversations, we held our breaths. Would Nixon refuse and thus force a Constitutional crisis? Would Nixon ring the White House with tanks?

Bush is something else. When, eventually, he is is ordered by the Supreme Court to comply with a ruling or a subpoena, Bush will refuse and force the issue. And, if he is allowed to get away with it, a precedent will have been established that will effectively create the dictatorship that Bush desires.

You also make the valid point that Nixon was effectively opposed from within his own party. It was Sen. Howard Baker on the Senate Watergate Committee who played a very important role in helping the nation through the crisis and, indeed, the GOP probably had recognized that Baker may have saved them the full brunt of Nixon's folly.

Anonymous said...

i agree with these posts, well said. i think the fact that almost nothing is really being done about all these crimes, lies, treason, etc., makes me angrier than the crimes. i don't understand how there can be so much weakness of will and integrity. even though the MSM is not doing much reporting, it is still obvious to an average decent person without too much research or profound thinking.

what the fuck gives?

Anonymous said...

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/03/28/150/

this is getting beyond scary.

Len Hart said...

Re: anonymous posts:

Indeed, Nixon was opposed by honorable people in his own party. Since then, however, the GOP has ceased to be a political party. It is a crime syndicate. We should have seen the handwriting on the wall when Ronald Reagan escaped prosecution in connection with the Iran/Contra scandal. I will be content to quote the conclusion of Lawrence Walsh, the special prosecutor who investigated the Iran/Contra scandal in which designated enemies of the US were armed and supported by Ronald Reagan and his gang of crooks. Reagan got away with it as the Special Prosecutor, Lawrence Walsh makes clear:

he underlying facts of Iran/contra are that, regardless of criminality, President Reagan, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, and the director of central intelligence and their necessary assistants committed themselves, however reluctantly, to two programs contrary to congressional policy and contrary to national policy. They skirted the law, some of them broke the law, and almost all of them tried to cover up the President's willful activities.
--FINAL REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT COUNSEL FOR IRAN/CONTRA MATTERS



Also, thanks for the link to common dreams. That is a must read.

urthsong said...

The absolutely scariest part to me is that Bush was never elected either time. The repeated insistence that Bush won the 2004 election with all the evidence we now have proving that it was not only impossible in the swing state of Ohio but also that it was statistically impossible nationwide. Again in 2006, it is estimated that some 3 million votes were shifted or eliminated. Skewing the vote by computer hacking, undervotes, vote suppression followed by preventing investigations and prosecutions is a major part of the new Republican M.O. How will this be changed? Almost everyone is going along with this charade. Why?

Len Hart said...

According to Carl Jung, as much as thirty percent of any society are, literally, nuts. Nuts describes the American right wing very well. The nut job base, however, must have additional support to grab power. Hermann Goring is famous for having told Nuremberg Psyhologist Dr. Gustav Gilbert how the Nazis did it. Briefly, Goering said that the Nazis created a crisis and exploited it by appealing to patriotism. It was easy, he said.

Until recently, Bush and Cheney were thinking the same thing.

OnlineMaven said...

The Bush saga never seems to end. '08 can't come soon enough...

BTW, thanks for linking the Scott Joplin vid. I filmed it and posted it to my home videos account (Noah773). My dad is consistantly amazed that thousands of people have watched him play. I vlog on YouTube about politicians at: OnlineMaven. Please check it out!

http://onlinemaven.blogspot.com

Len Hart said...

OnlineMaven said...

BTW, thanks for linking the Scott Joplin vid. I filmed it and posted it to my home videos account

Thanks for filming. Tell your father that I thoroughly enjoyed his performance. It is among the three best of Maple Leaf that I was able to find out of hundreds that I listened to. And that includes the audio link on this blog.

I consider Ragtime an art form not unlike Chopin etudes or nocturnes. Not every pianist can do a rag justice. So many rags on the internet are played much too fast and others just don't get the rhythm of that elusive "feel". Thanks for posting the vid to youtube. Perhaps, we can see some more from your father in the future : )

Anonymous said...

I encourage you and your readers to take a few minutes and see:

http://www.usalone.com/cgi-bin/transparency.cgi?paper=1&qnum=pet45

It's a list of the 25 most recent comments made by real Americans participating in an online poll/letter-writing campaign concerning the impeachment charges recently filed against Vice President Cheney, which are now being evaluated by the House Judiciary Committee. The participation page is at:

http://www.usalone.com/cheney_impeachment.php

Since this campaign began, three members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors, in part due to hearing from their constituents.