Sunday, November 25, 2007

Impeachment is Back on the Table




By DAVE LINDORFF

The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White House briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

There was one problem. It was not true.

I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the Vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the President himself.


--Excerpt from Scott McClellan's forthcoming book "What Happened"(Public Affairs Books, due out in April 2008)

With that one little statement, released on the Public Affairs Books website this week, all excuses for not impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney, not to mention indicting Cheney (who of course has no immunity from prosecution while in office), have evaporated.

Here is rock-solid evidence from a man who, as press secretary, was privy to the inner workings of the White House, of a vile conspiracy involving the two top men in the Bush/Cheney administration, as well as their top three staffpeople, to expose the identity of an important CIA undercover operative, Valerie Plame, and then, when caught, to obstruct a criminal investigation by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, into that crime.

Forget for a moment the administration's other high crimes and misdemeanors and acts of bribery and treason, though many, like defying laws passed by the Congress, or violating the Nuremburg Charter, are surely far more egregious. This particular set of crimes--conspiracy, obstruction of justice, lying, and of course the underlying crime of abuse of power and perhaps treason (since Plame's responsibility as a high-rankiing CIA operative was preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly in the Middle East!)--is serious enough.

There is no way that American democracy can continue to survive, even in its current truncated form, if the Congress continues to duck this issue and pretend that it has "more important things to do," as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her retinue of "leaders" in the House have continued to claim for an entire year in control of the Congress.

To keep impeachment "off the table," knowing that the president and vice president brazenly lied to the American people and to the Special Counsel's office about such a serious offense, is to make a mockery of the Constitution and the law.

Bush and Cheney must be impeached at this point if only to save school districts across the nation the cost of having to buy all new American history and civics texts, revised so as to remove all discussion of the notion of Constitutional checks and balances and the word "impeachment."

It is of course possible that the political reality is that Republicans in Congress have become such an antidemocratic conglomeration of authoritarian yes-men that they would defend their political leaders no matter what their crimes, and that thus impeachment would be a dead end, either in the House or certainly in the Senate. This, however, is no excuse for not calling the president and vice president to account in impeachment hearings in the House, where Democrats have a solid majority.

An impeachment hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, with full subpoena power granted to that committee, would lead to revelations and exposures far beyond that of Scott McClellan's, though putting McClellan under oath on national TV in such a hearing promises to be as enlightening and entertaining as was the testimony in 1974 before the same panel by Nixon White House attorney John Dean.

The critical importance of such hearings to the future of American democracy, and to public understanding of the nature of the coup that has been undermining that democracy should be obvious. It wouldn't matter what the vote was following such hearings. Certainly articles of impeachment would be voted out of the committee and sent to the floor of the House. Almost as certainly, the House would end up having to support those articles. So Bush and Cheney would at least stand impeached, probably with at least some Republican's voting for impeachment. They would probably also be forced, like President Clinton before them, to stand trial in the Senate--if Republicans didn't first succeed in convincing them to resign to spare their party a disaster at the polls next November.

Certainly it's possible that proponents of conviction in the Senate would not be able to convince the 16 or 17 Republican necessary to win a conviction and removal from office, but it wouldn't matter at that point. The Bush administration would stand condemned for all time as a gang of criminals and usurpers.

It's worth noting that following Clinton's impeachment and trial, which failed to remove him from office, the Oval Office has been off-limits to unchaperoned interns, and it is likely to be a long time before felatio is re-enacted under the Oval Office desk.
Similar action against Bush and Cheney would make future Constitutional crimes equally unlikely for the same reason, even without conviction.

This would be even more true if Special Counsel Fitzgerald were to do his duty, as he clearly should, and reopen his Plame investigation with an indictment of Cheney, and with the naming of Bush, like Nixon before him, as an "unindicted co-conspirator."
For starters, Pelosi must take this moment to declare that impeachment is "back on the table."

Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff's newest book is "The Case for Impeachment", co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@mindspring.com

14 comments:

Dashed Hopes said...

Man..., was I ready for some Good News, given the article's title!!

For starters, Pelosi must take this moment to declare that impeachment is "back on the table."

Seems to say quite clearly that impeachment is NOT 'back on the table' in Nancy Pelosi's House of Representatives.

Many of us wish it could be so, but obviously it is not, and never will be.

All the talk in the '06 election of "holding the administration accountable" came to naught, and even though they're running on that exact same buzz in the '08 election, it clearly CAN come to naught, as the EX-president and VICE can Not Be impeached when they are no longer in office.

...sigh...

capt said...

"the EX-president and VICE can Not Be impeached when they are no longer in office."

Yes, however that fact might be a silver lining in a cloud of criminality - both of them can and should be prosecuted for their crimes and the next president will have an issue to discuss with the next AG about those previous criminal acts.

Beyond that, I see a possibility that Bush and Cheney could be convicted in the world court (likely postumously) for crimes against humanity.

For all the happy talk about troop deaths coming down nobody is speaking to the issue of the humanitarian crisis that Bush and his maladministration have created. A humanitarian crisis second only to Darfur.

If justice is to prevail Bush and Cheney will answer for their crimes - the only question is when and by whom.

dashed hopes said...

Whole lot of Maybe, and Might Happen there.

Meanwhile, Pelosi & Co. are shooting down any and all attempts, by upstarts such as Dennis Kucinich, to actually hold The Dick & The Bushwacker accountable for their lies and misdeeds, even when the Republicans help him forward the agenda! Though, granted, on the part of the Repubs, it's because they don't think he can succeed, and it's obvious he can't when his own party's leadership doesn't stand behind the principle.

I don't find this all that encouraging for the future of justice, and I certainly have trouble imagining a World Court conviction of a US Prez & Vice Prez on the horizon.

Gerald said...

The impeachment process should return to the table. I, personally, believe that Hitler Bush and Hitler Cheney are mass murderers and war criminals against humanity.

You need to look closely at both beings and see the dry rot taking hold just beneath their skin. Slime also slides along the dry rot.

Gerald said...

capt, Alternate Reality has blogged some interesting topics.

capt said...

"If justice is to prevail"

I wouldn't bet any money on justice (sigh). However hope springs eternal and only tell will tell.

One of my favorite quotes:

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it--always."
~ Mahatma Gandhi

****

The quote always comes to mind and I always forget it doesn't mention "justice" - UGH.

Gerald said...

Creating Justification for Another War

Gerald said...

Assessing the picture presented by a war-weary army, a disgusted public fed up of funding a botched war presents the other side of the delusions that fuel arguments for further US invasions. Not only are these war hawks delusional about the strategic benefits of invading countries like Pakistan and Iran but they are also blind to the stark reality that in a post-Iraq world, the United States does not have either the men or the money to fuel further invasions.

Gerald said...

Capone would love Bush

dashed hopes said...

The quote always comes to mind and I always forget it doesn't mention "justice"

The Mahatma was Hindu, who hold that genuine "justice" is inherent in Karma. Therefore, Justice is always fully served, though we individuals may not be around to see it served to others, or recognize it as such when it happens.

Gerald said...

Despite his crimes, Bush may never make the deserved journey from the White House to the Big House. The cowardly Congress allows him and his consiglieres to remain at large. They live well and dine well. When goodfellow Senator John McCain, an ardent Iraq war backer, spotted the dubious fare spread out for him at one campaign stop, he said, “I’d love some spaghetti.” McCain can eat for the many that are going hungry in Iraq tonight, thanks to his votes. Apparently, spaghetti sauce doesn’t remind McCain of you-know-what.

Unlike Capone, don Bush does not break laws to defy the government. He is the government. Bush has even more right than Capone to declare, “My rackets are run along strictly American lines.” He’s Capone gone global. Like Capone, Bush solemnly observes the Fourth of July and, also like Capone, he has earned the right to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day. Capone wiped out seven associates of “Bugs” Moran in that infamous 1929 Chicago massacre. As of this November 23, according to Information Clearing House, Bush has eliminated 1,118,625 residents of Iraq. Capone would have been awed.

Gerald said...

Disaster Capitalism is a must read article

Gerald said...

Nazi America's foreign policy is tied to "NATIONOCIDE."

The main story Klein tells is that the US has helped dictators, in dozens of nations, to create chaos and confusion using military coups, torture, mass killings and horrific repression of free speech and protest. They use these criminal actions to: -take over a country,
-drastically reduce government services,
-reduce or eliminate laws and regulations that regulate corporations,
-take national resources that belong to the people and sell them off, privatizing them, to corporations-- things like water, forests, schools, roads, armies
-destroy the middle class to take away their power.

They do these things to implement Milton Friedman's free trade, globalist theories as taught and promoted by the University of Chicago School of Economics. Friedman and his acolytes would consult with the worst of the torturing, murdering dictators, encouraging them to go ever further in destroying the middle class, in eliminating protections against corporate abuse. These University of Chicago economists are heinous criminals. They deserve nothing less than imprisonment in the darkest places, like Guantanamo. And with them, the heads of the corporations that have helped support these dictators, that have informed on union leaders-- they too belong in prisons for aiding and abetting torture, murder and, how would you describe destruction of nations, "nationocide?"

Naomi Klein calls this "disaster capitalism." The USA, often through the CIA, aided, even initiated, by support and advising and encouraging the dictators, some of the worst anti-democratic administrations. The USA engineered some of the stupidest coups that ended up creating some of our worst enemies. They do this without congressional support without "we the people" voting on these incredibly important decisions. And they lie and lie and lie to us, through the media through false testimony, false reports, totally fabricated news... that the corpstream media sells and flogs the public with until the dictators are seen as being the good guys and the democratically elected progressives are seen as dangerous socialists or communists who hate America.

Anonymous said...

Time to openly discuss removing Pelosi as Speaker to make way for an impeachment investigation. Kucinich forwarded the resolution, but we've heard nothing.

Time to put some other options on the table: Either we clear the way for an investigation; or we ask the House to consider a privileged resolution calling on the House to vote on removing Pelosi as Speaker.

Here's the support: And here are the details At this link showing your the citations, backup information, precedents, and what else is possible.

This effort to remove Pelois would be consistent with the well known proclamation process of House Rule 603, outlined here: At this link you'll see many people know about state proclamations which can force the House to confront an issue.

This doesn't guarantee an impeachment; it merely forces the House to consider the issue: If Pelosi will not make way for impeachment, is it time to remove Pelosi as Speaker? Let's not make excuses not to force the House to confront this issue; let's merely recognize multiple options are needed to force the Congress to confront the issue of an impeachment investigation.

We do not need to wait until the 2008 elections to do something. WE the People can work with our state officials to pass proclamations calling on the House to impeach; and encourage our elected officials in the House to introduce a resolution calling on the Speaker to choose: Between continued stonewalling; or a direct confrontation over whether she should or should not continue as Speaker.

This has one goal: To make way for impeachment investigations. Pelosi needs to decide whether she's part of the solution, or the excuses.

Please ask your friends to openly discuss these options, put Pelosi's speakership on the table, and discuss this sample proclamation with your state and local officials. Please share with them these precedents and This backup information.

Thank you.