Ten Reasons to Impeach the President!
Ten Reasons To Impeach the President -- And One Reason Why
Democratic Leaders Are Wrong To Be Afraid To Do It
President Bush has committed grave offenses against the Constitution
and against the people of the United States. Among these offenses
1. Initiating a war of aggression against a nation that posed no
immediate threat to the U.S. -- a war that has needlessly killed
2500 Americans and maimed and damaged over 20,000 more, while
killing between 50-100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women and children.
2. Lying and organizing a conspiracy to trick the American people
and the U.S. Congress into approving an unnecessary and illegal war.
3. Approving and encouraging, in violation of U.S. and international
law, the use of torture, kidnapping and rendering of prisoners of
war captured in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the course of the so-
called War on Terror.
4. Illegally stripping the right of citizenship and the protections
of the constitution from American citizens, denying them the
fundamental right to have their cases heard in a court, to hear the
charges against them, to be judged in a public court by a jury of
their peers, and to have access to a lawyer.
5. Authorizing the spying on American citizens and their
communications by the National Security Agency and other U.S. police
and intelligence agencies, in violation of the First and Fourth
Amendments and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
6. Obstructing investigation into and covering up knowledge of the
deliberate exposing of the identity of a U.S. CIA undercover
operative, and possibly conspiring in that initial outing itself.
7. Obstructing the investigation into the 9-11 attacks and lying to
investigators from the Congress and the bi-partisan 9-11 Commission -
- actions that come perilously close to treason.
8. Violating the due process and other constitutional rights of
thousands of citizens and legal residents by rounding them up and
disappearing or deporting them without hearings.
9. Abuse of power, undermining of the constitution and violating the
presidential oath of office by deliberately refusing to administer
over 750 acts duly passed into law by the Congress -- actions which
if left unchallenged would make the Congress a vestigial body, and
the president a dictator.
10. Criminal negligence in failing to provide American troops with
adequate armor before sending them into a war of choice, criminal
negligence in going to war against a weak, third-world nation
without any planning for post-war occupation and reconstruction,
criminal negligence in failing to respond to a known and growing
crisis in the storm-blasted city of New Orleans, and criminal
negligence in failing to act, and in fact in actively obstructing
efforts by other countries and American state governments, to deal
with the looming crisis of global warming.
Each one of these offenses (and it is not meant to be a complete
list) would be sufficient on its own to require the president's
removal from office, and in some cases, where an actual statutory
crime can be charged, his subsequent indictment and trial. Together
they cry out for impeachment and removal.
There are those, like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who
argue against impeachment, claiming that it would be a diversion
from the "important agenda" of the Democratic Party. Aside from the
fact that there is not much "there" in the so-called agenda of the
so-called opposition, the reality is that the Democratic Party,
should it manage to win a majority in House and Senate in November,
will be unable to accomplish a single thing with President Bush in
the White House, since the president has already claimed that he has
the power to violate and ignore 750 acts and laws passed by a
Congress led by his own party. Before the Democrats can count on a
single bill of theirs becoming the law of the land, they will have
to remove this usurper from office. Even ardent conservatives should
be afraid of leaving stand actions that, if unchallenged, will set a
precedent for all future presidents, Republican and Democrat, making
American presidents into tyrants answerable to no one.
There are those who fear that impeaching Bush would mean turning
over the White House to Vice President Dick Cheney. This is
nonsense. The vice president has long been known to be the real
president, and any constitutional crimes that are exposed in the
course of impeachment hearings will quickly be traced also to
Cheney's office. The vice president, however, does not have the
president's Constitutional immunity from prosecution, and would
likely be indicted and forced to resign long before Bush's
impeachment got to a Senate trial. Nor would impeaching Bush mean
turning the White House over to Rep. Dennis Hastert. Besides the
fact that Hastert is reportedly facing his own legal troubles,
impeachment is not even going to occur unless the Democrats take
over the House in November first, and that would make the next
person in line after Cheney none other than Democrat Pelosi.
There are people, especially in the media, who say impeachment is a
bad idea both because it would allegedly cause a "constitutional
crisis" and because it would lead to public anger at Democrats who
promoted another divisive political battle. This is both
unprincipled and absurd. First of all, impeachment is no
constitutional crisis: the Founders thought it so important that
they included impeachment of the president in the same Article II of
the Constitution that defines the president's powers. If anything,
we are facing a constitutional crisis right now. Impeachment is an
integral part of the governing process. Secondly, polls suggest that
a majority of Americans favor impeachment -- certainly more than
ever favored impeachment of either Clinton or Nixon. People have had
it with the sanctimoniousness, the dishonesty, the staggering
incompetence and the nasty political dirty tricks of this
administration. Third, they want an opposition that will stand on
principle. But finally and most importantly, the crimes of this
president and this administration are so grievous that it is
shameful to even talk about practicalities and political advantage.
The president simply must be impeached, because as the Willie Sutton
of Constitutional violators, he is putting the Republic and the
Constitution at grave risk. The only principled and valid discussion
about strategy is about how best to achieve impeachment, not about
whether to seek impeachment.
No one should imagine that a successful impeachment of President
Bush would usher in some wonderful new world of honest and
progressive government. The Democratic Party long ago lost its soul
and its right to call itself a party of the people. But if the
American people, in the course of this 2006 election year, force the
Democratic Party to do that which their leaders are afraid to do --
to impeach this criminal president -- there is a chance that those
same people will also push the Democratic Party to do other things
that it has not done in decades: namely, to act in the interests of
ordinary working people instead of the same moneyed interests that
own the party of Lincoln.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Dave Lindorff, a long-time Salon contributor, is co-author with
Olshansky, of The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for
President George W. Bush from Office, (St. Martin's Press, May 2006).