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Imperial Bush
A closer look at the Bush record -- from the war in Iraq to the war on the environment

2004 Campaign
Will Americans take the exit ramp off the Bush presidency in November?

Behind Colin Powell's Legend
Colin Powell's sterling reputation in Washington hides his life-long role as water-carrier for conservative ideologues.

The 2000 Campaign
Recounting the controversial presidential campaign

Media Crisis
Is the national media a danger to democracy?

The Clinton Scandals
The story behind President Clinton's impeachment

Nazi Echo
Pinochet & Other Characters

The Dark Side of Rev. Moon
Rev. Sun Myung Moon and American politics

Contra Crack
Contra drug stories uncovered

Lost History
How the American historical record has been tainted by lies and cover-ups

The October Surprise "X-Files"
The 1980 October Surprise scandal exposed

From free trade to the Kosovo crisis

Other Investigative Stories


Impeachment: America Must Decide

By Peter Dyer
November 24, 2006

Editor's Note: The incoming Democratic congressional leadership seems to be putting the goal of bipartisanship ahead of the principle of accountability in dismissing out of hand the idea of impeaching President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for their negligent and criminal activities over the past six years.

Many Americans, however, are not so sure that giving Bush and Cheney a free pass is the right idea. In this guest essay, Peter Dyer looks at some of the bigger issues involved:

We Americans need to decide: are we a nation of laws or not? Is our Constitution still the foundation on which the United States rests or not?

On Jan. 3, 2007, the Democrats will be in control as the 110th Congress commences. New members will be sworn in, taking the oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic...”

Few things would seem more fundamental to the support and defense of the Constitution than sanctioning those who have abused it -- as a matter of simple justice as well as a deterrent against future abuse.

Yet just before the Nov. 7 elections, Nancy Pelosi, who will now be the next Speaker of the House, said in an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that if the Democrats gained control of the House the impeachment of President Bush would be “off the table”.

But public support for impeachment has been growing. According to a poll published in Newsweek just before Ms. Pelosi took impeachment off the table, a majority of Americans may now favor it.  But in the spirit of bipartisanship she has decided that on the issue of impeachment, the House will ignore the public as well as the remedies which the authors of the Constitution provided for its abuse.

This is a bad idea, politically and constitutionally.

When Bill Clinton was elected President in 1992,  two landmark investigations of scandals from the two previous Republican administrations, Reagan and Bush, were winding down. One was of “Iraqgate,” concerning secret U.S. arming of Saddam Hussein during the Iraq/Iran war. The other investigation was of the Iran/Contra affair.

Despite considerable and powerful evidence of Republican misdeeds at the highest levels, the incoming Clinton administration decided not to seriously pursue either of these scandals, hoping, just as Ms. Pelosi apparently hopes now, to encourage a spirit of bipartisanship. Unfortunately for President Clinton, the right wing fought him aggressively from the beginning of his administration, killing, for example, the attempt to reform health care.

The partisan opposition ratcheted up after Republicans gained control of Congress in the 1994 elections. It culminated in the successful drive led by House Speaker Newt Gingrich to impeach President Clinton for lying about an extra-marital affair with a  consenting adult.

Given this history, as well as that of the first six years of the Bush administration, one could understandably view as wishful thinking Ms. Pelosi’s hopes for bipartisan cooperation with Republicans, many of whom date back to the Clinton impeachment.

More importantly, ruling out impeachment nurtures the culture of disdain for the rule of law which currently marks the White House. President Bush and his administration, sworn to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” have instead indulged in an outrageous pattern of contemptuous disregard for our founding document.

The record presents a clear case for impeachment: lying to start an illegal war; the arrest and detention without charge of American citizens; violation of international treaties including the Geneva conventions and the conventions against torture; willfully ignoring or violating acts of Congress by issuing hundreds of “signing statements”; violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, and others.

What gives Ms. Pelosi or anyone else sworn to defend the Constitution the right to choose to ignore the remedy mandated in that  document for its abuse?

Clearly anyone who asserts such a right is an enabler of lawlessness and the degradation of the Constitution which has been underway at least since the Republicans tried to impeach President Clinton and President Bush took office under dubious circumstances in 2001.

Undoubtedly and understandably, there are many Americans who feel that impeachment would be a petty and politically motivated attempt at payback --an unnecessary and wasteful distraction from work on other compelling national and international problems.

But it goes much deeper than revenge or an opportunity to establish the elusive Beltway bipartisan consensus. It's a question of whether or not we are going to stop the assault by the Bush administration and its Democratic enablers and discourage future assaults on the document which provides the legal basis for the very existence of the United States. On this there should be an  overwhelming national bipartisan consensus.

Let's hope that our enabling Democratic “leaders” listen to the significant percentage of Americans who favor impeachment and realize just how urgently it is needed.

In a democracy, you get the government you deserve. If American leaders refuse to uphold the law and if the American people let them get away with it then Americans will indeed get the government we deserve.

Peter Dyer is a machinist who moved with his wife from California to
New Zealand in 2004. He can be reached at .

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