Impeachment: Saving American democracy

T.A. Barnhart

impeachment will save American democracyWhen I wrote previously about impeachment, my argument was that I saw no other way to force an end to the war in Iraq. A number of the comments to that post gave me hope that, through hearings and funding mechanisms (more accurately: defunding), the Democratic majority in Congress can bring this war to a close. Given the desires of the American public, not to mention the disintegration of Iraq because of our on-going presence there, a phased withdrawal appears likely to occur by mid-2007.

Sweet Jesus, I hope so.

Nonetheless, at the point where I was thinking impeachment was not necessary, one comment made see another aspect of impeachment, and it's one I want to address because even if we manage to end our nation's illegal involvement in Iraq, we still have what will be the longer-term issue to deal with: America's reputation in the world. How do ordinary people around the world — from hardcore Islamic regions to our disaffected allies in South America, Europe and Asia — how they see American democracy?

If we don't even try to impeach we just show the world we have no respect for law or even our own constitution. We just continue playing with our political strategies while the slaughter goes on. — Karl Smiley

This is no small matter. We Americans perceive our form of participatory, representative, constitutional government as the best the world has ever known. We have fought in wars around the world — our young people have willingly gone to die — in the name of that democracy and the freedoms we believe to be the signature of our democracy. After 9/11, the world had the most sympathy and affection towards us that we've ever known; as we know too well, Bush threw away that amazing opportunity to spread American-style democracy, not by force or CIA-backed coup but by a demonstration of its virtue.

Today, "democracy" is a dirty word in too many places; "American democracy" is a heinous obscenity. Those of us who know and believe our democracy to deserve better than that grieve at what Bush has done to the legacy of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. We know his terrible sins against democracy must be undone, and that we must begin to show the world that democracy does not mean "pre-emptive invasion" but what we Americans are taught from childhood: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But how? How do we recover from the damage done by Bush?

Impeachment will send a message to the world: The American people, and its newly elected representatives in Congress, have rejected this war and what it stands for. Impeachment, in holding Bush both constitutionally and criminally responsible for an illegal, costly and bloody war, repudiates the imperialism of this President and his cohorts. But more than rejecting Bush's war — a somewhat hypocritical stance as some of those who would either impeach or convict at one time supported him — impeachment sends the world a more important message about America and democracy.

Impeachment tells the world that American participatory democracy enables citizens to take a stand against our own elected leaders. Rather than being trapped under the leadership of those we believe to be harming our country, we can and did vote them out of office. We threw a bunch of them out for being crooks, for representing anti-democratic standards, and for allowing a war to occur that more and more of us know to be wrong. Impeachment takes the election a step further, not to strengthen partisan control — although god knows it would probably help — but to hold accountable those who lied us into this war.

Impeachment sends the world a message about America: No one is above the law. This new Congress will actively oppose the illegal and immoral activities of the Bush Administration: torture, habeas corpus, occupation of Iraq, expansion into Iran, etc. But more than merely opposing Bush, it can hold them accountable to the law.

That's what impeachment is: Accountability to law. It is not a political tactic, which is what Clinton allowed to happen. Impeachment is used to prove that an elected or appointed official broke the law. There is no question of Bush's violation of American and international law. There is no doubt in my mind that he has committed treason by placing thousands of Americans in mortal danger by waging an illegal war. We must show the world that however much we may falter at times, the American people will always turn to the laws as supported by our Constitution.

Impeachment proves our democracy is alive and vital. If we choose to end the war in other ways, fine. Just end the goddamn thing. But how else do we show that Bush violated the law? Getting rid of Pombo and Burns was great, but does that demonstrate to an acolyte of al Quaida that the American people reject Bush's imperialism? No. Impeachment does that. It forces a trial, by law, of our President who then must prove he broke no laws and did nothing wrong in waging his war in Iraq.

Impeachment will occur not only when the House is ready to impeach but the Senate to convict. This is a practicality the Democratic leadership will insist on. So an impeachment of Bush, which will result in his conviction and removal from office, will make the point in a way that nothing else can: No one is above the law. Bush ignored Nixon's fate, believed himself morally superior to Clinton, and even thought he could out-maneuver LBJ. His impeachment will demonstrate to the world and to the American people that not even the President is greater, more powerful, more potent than our laws and Constitution — not even in a time of so-called war.

We need impeachment to place the Constitution back at the center of our nation. We have other ways to end the war, other ways to stop corruption, other ways to democratize our politics. But given the scope of Bush's crimes, we have only one way to tangibly, manifestly restore the Constitution to the place it was given by the Founders; to the place it has held in the hearts and minds of Americans for over two centuries, many of whom chose to fight in defense of the liberties the Constitution promises. Impeachment removes Bush from power, a very good thing, and it restores the Constitution as the foundation of America's greatness. We must impeach George W Bush, or not only is the war on terror lost; so, too, may be our democracy.

  • David (unverified)

    As much as I'd love to support impeachment, I'd rather have Dubya than Cheney as President, even for a short time. That guy is scary enough as it is.

  • satorist (unverified)

    Naive, even by June Cleaver standards. No one is going to impeach, let alone convict, the Prez. Nor will any Democratic majority cut off funds and give Rs a chance to blame them for the ensuing, probably enevitable, debacle.


    Far more effective, not to mention legitimate, for them to argue that the reason they opposed the war is that they knew it would lead to this quagmire--and never mind the fools like Kerry (who, stupefiyingly voted wrong on BOTH Gulf War resolutions--cynically voting against evicting unprovoked agression in Kuwait and for unprovoked agression in Iraq.) Let those weasels fend for themselves. , What must now be done is to convince Israel (who has just called for renewed negotiations with the Palestinians) that our departure from Iraq will be a signal to its 600 million Arab foes that we're never coming back, convince the Palestinians that a threatened nuclear Israel knows that and could easily adopt its own version of "pre-emptive war", and convince Europe that our extrication from a destabilized Iraq will eventually mean no oil for Western society.

    Or we could just "bring the troops home" and let the cinder chips fall where they may.

    The reason going to war with Iraq was such an obviously bad decision is that it was/is unwinnable and irrevocable. If it was a decision we can revoke when we choose, than voting for the war resolution was merely a tentative, intermediate act.

    At least Rs who voted for the resolution stood for something greater than themselves--if only their President. Ds who voted for it did so only to protect their miserable hides in subsequent elections, if it all turned out well.

  • wharf rat (unverified)

    Hi Folks...

    I'm sorry T.A., I just can't see us diverting attention from more pressing needs. I know it's callous given the destruction wrought on Iraq, its people and our service personnel but if we give in to the desire for immediate revenge we close the opportunity to govern past this election.

    A lot of voters put their very limited remaining faith in us to try to clean up the swamp. That includes a withdrawal from Iraq but it doesn't include impeachement.

    Pelosi, Reid and the legislative troops need to secure the beaches, as it were. After we've done that and regained the presidency we can then review the criminality of the Bush administration

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

  • Karl Smiley (unverified)

    It's not about revenge. It's about reestablishing who we are.

  • Jordan Lund (unverified)

    While nothing would give me greater joy than seeing Bush, Cheney and the rest of their corrupt administration marched out of the White House in hand-cuffs, there's a major problem with impeachment right now.

    Bush leaves office January 20th, 2009. That leaves us about 26 months to impeach him. I'd figure the investigation would take at least 18 months to complete which would leave 8 months to run an impeachment hearing.

    It simply is not enough time to make it worthwhile. If the political shift had happened in 2004 instead of 2006 then I'd say "Sure, go for it." But in the end if we can only shorten his Presidency by 1 or 2 months? Is it worth the cost and effort?

    I'd rather see him up on criminal charges after leaving office in 2009.

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    Impeachment should follow hearings and the collection of evidence, not precede it. I'm with the crowd who thing that this action will damage Dems politically, however. The best defeat to deliver Bush is the passage of a number of key laws affecting the poor and environment. Have the hearings, establish he was a crook, and move on. Impeachment will backfire.

  • (Show?)

    Any voters paying attention during the Clinton years, watched the Republicans completely discredit the idea of a special prosecutor with their carefully selected team of political hitmen, led by Theodore Olson.

    They then watched as Republicans perverted the idea of impeachment in pusuit of their partisan agenda. The voters were not fooled. they were disgusted.


    I'm with Jeff. Impeachment is definitely legally indicated, but it is politically damaging to us and with no payoff.

    Let's not hand the Thugs any tools that will allow them to package themselves as being persecuted by extremists, which of course, is exactly what Karl Rove, Frank Luntz, and Newt Gingrich all hope we will do.

  • Blind Partisanship (unverified)

    "Bush's crimes?" Newsflash: a bunch of flaming liberals in Oregon have convinced themselves that impeaching the U.S. President is going to make the world safer for democracy. Yawn.

    They aren't worried about Fidel Castro's crimes. Or Saddam Hussein's. Or the Assad's (of Syria), or Kim Jong ILL. The butchers of Tiananmen? They get a Pass too.

    The real threat to global peace and prosperity: George W. Bush.


  • genop (unverified)

    A sage might say "Why throw good money after bad?" A more crass former mentor would say; "The more you stir a bucket of sh*t, the more it stinks." We should not expend mega resources wading in the sewage of this administration at the expense of the numerous (positive) accomplishments which must be made immediately to regain our stature. Blunt the effects of the most onerous of the Administration's mistakes through legislative process. Respond now to the mandate for change expected by the electorate. Rather than wallowing in dark shenanigans, lets move forward with positive change and our esteem in world opinion will take care of itself.

  • BlueNote (unverified)

    I will give you 75:1 odds that Paris Hilton will have her virginity restored before "W" is impeached.

    Why waste time with this drivel?

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    They aren't worried about Fidel Castro's crimes. Or Saddam Hussein's. Or the Assad's (of Syria), or Kim Jong ILL. The butchers of Tiananmen? They get a Pass too.

    Dear Blind Partisan, are you saying that because there are bad regimes out there in the world that we should not investigate the potential crimes of our own political leaders?

    If the Bush administration lied to lead the American people to war; if they engaged in propaganda and deception to maintain public support for the war; if corruption and cronyism played a role in contracts received by American companies; or if American companies exerted undue influence over any aspect of public policy during the last 5 years, don't you think that the American people have a right to know about it?

    Since when did holding our leaders accountable become a bad thing? Don't you believe in the importance of accepting personal responsibility for one's own actions?

    • Sal
  • (Show?)

    We should not expend mega resources wading in the sewage of this administration at the expense of the numerous (positive) accomplishments which must be made immediately to regain our stature.

    Our legislators can walk and chew gum at the same time.

    Many of us are in a dire need of a reality check. The only real accomplishments we're likely to see over the next few years is a congress that forces a whole lot of Presidential vetos trying to unravel the damage that has been done by this administration, and whatever comes out of the congressional investigations that some folks don't want Democrats to spend time on.

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    Posted by: Blind Partisanship | Nov 28, 2006 11:54:35 AM

    And the award for the dumbest post this season goes to... Blind Partisanship with his monumentally stupid strawman covered in bullshit. Congratulations.

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    As to this thesis of this thread, what exactly is the illegality of the Iraq invasion you think is an impeachable offense? Chapter and verse please.

  • (Show?)


    Just to clarify.

    I believe that the congressional Dems should work to restore the civil liberties that have been trampled by Dick Cheney's "Unitary Executive" dream/nightmare.

    They should reinstitute the investigative bodies and processes that oversee the executive branch.

    They should pursue criminal investigations of ANY firm that has profited illegitimately from the Big Adventure in Iraq, or any other contract let by these Crony Capitalists.

    They should clamp down on tax code loopholes and deregulation efforts that have allowed lobbyists to run rampant through our government writing legislation that benefits only themselves.

    They should revisit NAFTA, CAFTA, and reassess the entire World Bank Program.


    I doubt that even the Democrats will be able to answer the Paula Poundstone question asked of Clinton at a Black Tie affair in DC circa '93.---"What is the CEO of the United Fruit Company doing sitting next to you?" Our people will be reaching for the handholds on the Gravy Train, as they have seen this as "normal" for their entire political lives. If they can do even part of the list of things that progressives wish to see addressed, I'll be pleasantly surprised.

    The voters will applaud all of these efforts if done correctly. You will not get support for impeachment, as it is a tarnished and broken tool.

  • (Show?)

    Mitch (and others)-- for a description of the "chapter and verse" involved in the legal determination of an illegal invasion, here's a pretty good place to start.

    Under the UN Charter, there are only two circumstances in which the use of force is permissible: in collective or individual self-defense against an actual or imminent armed attack; and when the Security Council has directed or authorized use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security. Neither of those circumstances now exist. Absent one of them, U.S. use of force against Iraq is unlawful.

    That said, having a legal case is only part of the issue, as others have pointed out. I would actually prefer that Cheney be the one gone after first, but there's less of a paper trail behind him.

    There is another angle for impeachment of the President, if he (as it appears he did) authorized forms of interrogation and methods of detainee 'ghosting' that clearly violate the Geneva Conventions. If they were to be found in violation, that would constitute a willful violation of an international treaty to which the US is a signatory...which is also then a violation of US federal law.

  • genop (unverified)

    Accountability and recovering the ill gotten spoils of this war are worthy pursuits, but impeachment is dabbling in the futile - do we have the time to waste? I hope the focus is directed toward achievable objectives in light of the relative cost/benefit in implementing. e.g. Re-establish the Geneva Convention as a code we adhere to; Eliminate the automatic withdrawal of social security benefits available to private insurers under the Medicare Prescription Act (that will reduce thankfully the number of private insurers); eliminate the "means" test in the Banruptcy Reform Act except for situations which justify the added expense; etc. We can all urge our democratic leadership to take on the task of fixing numerous problems by pointing out the inequities. We need to use the wisdom resulting from the pain inflicted by the cowboy administration and rebuild the safeguards to democracy so cavalierly discarded. How about reigning in the base instincts of those public servants who would abuse their position of power for self interest. Eliminate the temptation to cheat and engage in favoritism/cronyism. Limit the maximum gift value from lobbyists to the expense of a nice lunch. Period There are numerous issues in the ethical arena crying for reform. As a priority, the electorate made it clear that the Iraq mess is #1, lets hope the Baker Commission produces a viable exit strategy and legislatively implement the damn thing. The electorate needs to know progress is being made. Act Now! Tell Congress what you want fixed and why.

  • Garrett (unverified)

    I wonder why I keep reading impeachment posts when I know there isn't a prayer of this ever being blinked at by the Democratic leadership. It would be political suicide. Even if a party like the Green party was in power they wouldn't touch this with a 10 foot pole. They have to have months of hearings just to determine what the definition of a "high crime and misdemeanor" is. It took almost 2 years to get enough evidence to have the Repubs in the Senate turn on Nixon...that might have not even happened if it wasn't for Woodward and Bernstein. Impeachment talk is barking up a fools ladder.

  • Enlightenment (unverified)

    Yes, and there is plenty of evidence worthy of impeaching both Bush and Cheney, and for their removal from office (and imprisonment for the rest of their worthless lives). Just the things that most everyone with any sense at all knows about are more than enough, like cooking the "intelligence" so as to scare Americans into thinking it was necessary to invade Iraq. But let's take a moment and look at some details of another crime worthy of impeachment, one that most Americans haven't bothered to look into.

    One thing that struck me as odd in the days after 9/11 was Bush saying "We will not tolerate conspiracy theories [regarding 9/11]". Sure enough there have been some wacky conspiracy theories surrounding the events of that day. The most far-fetched and patently ridiculous one that I've ever heard goes like this: Nineteen hijackers who claimed to be devout Muslims but yet were so un-Muslim as to be getting drunk all the time, doing cocaine and frequenting strip clubs decided to hijack four airliners and fly them into buildings in the northeastern U.S., the area of the country that is the most thick with fighter bases. After leaving a Koran on a barstool at a strip bar after getting shitfaced drunk on the night before, then writing a suicide note/inspirational letter that sounded like it was written by someone with next to no knowledge of Islam, they went to bed and got up the next morning hung over and carried out their devious plan. Nevermind the fact that of the four "pilots" among them there was not a one that could handle a Cessna or a Piper Cub let alone fly a jumbo jet, and the one assigned the most difficult task of all, Hani Hanjour, was so laughably incompetent that he was the worst fake "pilot" of the bunch, with someone who was there when he was attempting to fly a small airplane saying that Hanjour was so clumsy that he was unsure if he had driven a car before. Nevermind the fact that they received very rudimentary flight training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, making them more likely to have been C.I.A. assets than Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. So on to the airports after Mohammed Atta supposedly leaves two rental cars at two impossibly far-removed locations. So they hijack all four airliners and at this time passengers on United 93 start making a bunch of cell phone calls from 35,000 feet in the air to tell people what was going on. Nevermind the fact that cell phones wouldn't work very well above 4,000 feet, and wouldn't work at ALL above 8,000 feet. But the conspiracy theorists won't let that fact get in the way of a good fantasy. That is one of the little things you "aren't supposed to think about". Nevermind that one of the callers called his mom and said his first and last name ("Hi mom, this is Mark Bingham"), more like he was reading from a list than calling his own mom. Anyway, when these airliners each deviated from their flight plan and didn't respond to ground control, NORAD would any other time have followed standard operating procedure (and did NOT have to be told by F.A.A. that there were hijackings because they were watching the same events unfold on their own radar) which means fighter jets would be scrambled from the nearest base where they were available on standby within a few minutes, just like every other time when airliners stray off course. But of course on 9/11 this didn't happen, not even close. Somehow these "hijackers" must have used magical powers to cause NORAD to stand down, as ridiculous as this sounds because total inaction from the most high-tech and professional Air Force in the world would be necessary to carry out their tasks. So on the most important day in its history the Air Force was totally worthless. Then they had to make one of the airliners look like a smaller plane, because unknown to them the Naudet brothers had a videocamera to capture the only known footage of the North Tower crash, and this footage shows something that is not at all like a jumbo jet, but didn't have to bother with the South Tower jet disguising itself because that was the one we were "supposed to see". Anyway, as for the Pentagon they had to have Hani Hanjour fly his airliner like it was a fighter plane, making a high G-force corkscrew turn that no real airliner can do, in making its descent to strike the Pentagon. But these "hijackers" wanted to make sure Rumsfeld survived so they went out of their way to hit the farthest point in the building from where Rumsfeld and the top brass are located. And this worked out rather well for the military personnel in the Pentagon, since the side that was hit was the part that was under renovation at the time with few military personnel present compared to construction workers. Still more fortuitous for the Pentagon, the side that was hit had just before 9/11 been structurally reinforced to prevent a large fire there from spreading elsewhere in the building. Awful nice of them to pick that part to hit, huh? Then the airliner vaporized itself into nothing but tiny unidentifiable pieces most no bigger than a fist, unlike the crash of a real airliner when you will be able to see at least some identifiable parts, like crumpled wings, broken tail section etc. Why, Hani Hanjour the terrible pilot flew that airliner so good that even though he hit the Pentagon on the ground floor the engines didn't even drag the ground!! Imagine that!! Though the airliner vaporized itself on impact it only made a tiny 16 foot hole in the building. Amazing. Meanwhile, though the planes hitting the Twin Towers caused fires small enough for the firefighters to be heard on their radios saying "We just need 2 hoses and we can knock this fire down" attesting to the small size of it, somehow they must have used magical powers from beyond the grave to make this morph into a raging inferno capable of making the steel on all forty-seven main support columns (not to mention the over 100 smaller support columns) soften and buckle, then all fail at once. Hmmm. Then still more magic was used to make the building totally defy physics as well as common sense in having the uppermost floors pass through the remainder of the building as quickly, meaning as effortlessly, as falling through air, a feat that without magic could only be done with explosives. Then exactly 30 minutes later the North Tower collapses in precisely the same freefall physics-defying manner. Incredible. Not to mention the fact that both collapsed at a uniform rate too, not slowing down, which also defies physics because as the uppermost floors crash into and through each successive floor beneath them they would shed more and more energy each time, thus slowing itself down. Common sense tells you this is not possible without either the hijackers' magical powers or explosives. To emphasize their telekinetic prowess, later in the day they made a third building, WTC # 7, collapse also at freefall rate though no plane or any major debris hit it. Amazing guys these magical hijackers. But we know it had to be "Muslim hijackers" the conspiracy theorist will tell you because (now don't laugh) one of their passports was "found" a couple days later near Ground Zero, miraculously "surviving" the fire that we were told incinerated planes, passengers and black boxes, and also "survived" the collapse of the building it was in. When common sense tells you if that were true then they should start making buildings and airliners out of heavy paper and plastic so as to be "indestructable" like that magic passport. The hijackers even used their magical powers to bring at least seven of their number back to life, to appear at american embassies outraged at being blamed for 9/11!! BBC reported on that and it is still online. Nevertheless, they also used magical powers to make the american government look like it was covering something up in the aftermath of this, what with the hasty removal of the steel debris and having it driven to ports in trucks with GPS locators on them, to be shipped overseas to China and India to be melted down. When common sense again tells you that this is paradoxical in that if the steel was so unimportant that they didn't bother saving some for analysis but so important as to require GPS locators on the trucks with one driver losing his job because he stopped to get lunch. Hmmmm. Further making themselves look guilty, the Bush administration steadfastly refused for over a year to allow a commission to investigate 9/11 to even be formed, only agreeing to it on the conditions that they get to dictate its scope, meaning it was based on the false pretense of the "official story" being true with no other alternatives allowed to be considered, handpicked all its members making sure the ones picked had vested interests in the truth remaining buried, and with Bush and Cheney only "testifying" together, only for an hour, behind closed doors, with their attorneys present and with their "testimonies" not being recorded by tape or even written down in notes. Yes, this whole story smacks of the utmost idiocy and fantastic far-fetched lying, but it is amazingly enough what some people believe. Even now, five years later, the provably false fairy tale of the "nineteen hijackers" is heard repeated again and again, and is accepted without question by so many Americans. Which is itself a testament to the innate psychological cowardice of the American sheeple, i mean people, and their abject willingness to believe something, ANYTHING, no matter how ridiculous in order to avoid facing a scary uncomfortable truth. Time to wake up America.

    Debunking Popular Mechanics lies: someone else debunking Popular Mechanics crap: still more debunking Poopular Mechanics: and still more debunking of Popular Mechanics:

    Poopular Mechanics staff replaced just before laughable “debunking” article written: another neo-con 9/11 hit piece explodes, is retracted: Professor Steven Jones debunks the N.I.S.T. “report” as well as the F.E.M.A. one and the 9/11 commission "report": N.I.S.T. scientist interviewed: F.B.I. says no hard evidence linking Osama bin Laden to 9/11 which is why his wanted poster says nothing about 9/11: Fire Engineering magazine says important questions about the Twin Tower “collapses” still need to be addressed:

    Twin Towers’ construction certifiers say they should have easily withstood it: USA Today interview with the last man out of the South Tower, pursued by a fireball: Janitor who heard explosions and escaped has testimony ignored by 9/11 whitewash commission: Janitor starts speaking out about it and his apartment is burglarized, laptop stolen: Firefighters tell of multiple explosions: Eyewitnesses tell of explosions: Interview with another firefighter telling of explosions: Firefighter saw “sparkles” (strobe lights on detonators?) before “collapse”: Other eyewitnesses talk of seeing/hearing explosions: Surviving eyewitnesses talk of multiple explosions there: Cutter charge explosions clearly visible: The pyroclastic cloud (that dust cloud that a second before was concrete) and how it wouldn’t be possible without explosives: Detailed description of the demolition of the Twin Towers: Freefall rate of “collapses” math: More about their freefall rate “collapses”: Video footage of the controlled demolition of the Twin Towers: Video footage of the controlled demolition of WTC # 7 building: More of WTC # 7 controlled demolition: Naudet brothers' video footage of the North Tower crash: Photos of the Pentagon’s lawn (look at these and see if you can tell me with a straight face that a jumbo jet crashed there):!.htm More photos of this amazing lawn at the Pentagon:!%20(9-11).htm Very unconvincing fake “Osama” “confession” tape: More about the fake “Osama” tape: Fake “Mohammed Atta” “suicide” letter: Commercial pilots disagree with “official” 9/11 myth: More commercial jet pilots say “official” myth is impossible: Impossibility of cell phone calls from United 93: More about the impossible cell phone calls: Experiment proves cell phone calls were NOT possible from anywhere near the altitude the “official” myth has them at: Fake Barbara Olson phone call: Where the hell was the Air Force? More about the Air Force impotence question: Sept. 10th 2001, Pentagon announces it is “missing” $2.3 trillion (now why do you think they picked THAT day to announce it? So it could be buried the next day by 9/11 news): Unocal pipeline-through-Afghanistan plan: Unocal pipeline-through-Afghanistan plan mentioned: More on Unocal Afghan pipeline: The attack on Afghanistan was planned in the summer of 2001, months before 9/11: Pentagon deliberately misled 9/11 Commission: Evidence destruction by authorities and cover-up: 9/11 whitewash Commission and NORAD day: The incredible fish tales of the 9/11 Commission examined: Jeb Bush declares state of emergency 4 days before 9/11 for Florida, saying it will help respond to terrorism: Steel debris removal from Ground Zero, destruction of evidence: Over two hundred incriminating bits of 9/11 evidence shown in the mainstream media: Tracking the “hijackers”: “Hijacker” patsies: “Hijackers” receiving flight training at Pensacola Naval Air Station: Several accused "hijackers" still alive and well, wondering why they are accused: Yet the F.B.I. insists that the people it claims were the "hijackers" really were the "hijackers": No Arabs on Flight 77: Thirty experts say “official” 9/11 myth impossible: “Al Qaeda” website tracks back to Maryland: Al Qaeda videos uploaded from U.S. government website: Operation: Northwoods, a plan for a false-flag “terror” attack to be blamed on Castro to use it as a pretext for America to invade Cuba, thankfully not approved by Kennedy back in 1962 but was approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and sent to his desk:

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    I think Enlightenment forgot to mention the Israelis seen dancing over their spotting scope from the Jersey shore, and the way the passengers on the planes that didn't actually hit the WTC and Pentagon were whisked off to an Air Force base somewhere to be gassed, ground into small bits, and cremated, not to mention a lot of other mysterious deaths. Or the meeting between Cheney, Elvis, and JFK at the secret base on the dark side of the Moon. Or maybe he did mention all that. Who can tell? He evidently thought he was at Portland Indymedia (a website that, BTW, ruthlessly censors criticism of Enlightenment's brand of "research".

    Back to what most of us consider the real world. Sorry, but the impeachment idea is a non-starter for all sorts of reasons mentioned above and in the discussion of Mr. Barnhart's previous posting.

    Mr. Barnhart and some others think that the world would be thrilled to see impeachment hearings...that such hearings would restore US credibility in the world. This sounds pretty far-fetched. I suggest it would be more useful to think about whether the world be impressed to see the partisan circus that would certainly take place.

  • Zak J. (unverified)

    I think the endless post above adequately shows why, though much deserved, impeachment ain't gonna happen. Sounds like a master's thesis from a Pakistani university.

    Sorry, T.A., I am with you that removal from office is deserved and I'll be proud of any legislator who brings it up, but I don't see it happening; and it probably would be a waste of political capital, let alone a rallying cry to the rightwing faithful. Impeachment doesn't really mean a great deal anyway after it was used so trivially against Clinton.

    But as others here have mentioned, our nation must repudiate Bush's destruction of our Constitution (warrants, anyone?) and our values (torture & murder of detainees; pre-emptive war under false pretenses) if our country is ever going to regain the standing we enjoyed in the world prior to his coming.

  • SmileyPDX (unverified)

    That which you don't condemn you condone.

    Impeachment is not pointless. Defending our Constitution, our laws, and our system of government is neither pointless nor a distraction. It is the job the Democrats were elected to perform. It rests on the Democrats to restore our Constitution and system of government. Democrats lost a huge amount of political capital by giving Reagan a pass on Iran/Contra. They lost it from those who count most to them - the Democrats who vote for them election after election.

    Of the many crimes that Bush committed, the admitted domestic surveillance is a quick and easy conviction. The unprovoked attack in violation of the UN Charter, the torture, the influence peddling, the enrichment of friends, that can be explored, but impeach for the well established crime now.

    Ignore the crimes of Bush and company - appease independents and the extreme right - and you will see how well you do without Democrats voting for you.

    This is the job the Democrats elected Democrats to perform. If you sit on your hands now that you are able to do otherwise, appeasing Bush and the Republicans, I hope you pick up a lot of their votes - you'll need them.

    Perform or you are finished.

  • LT (unverified)

    Impeachment done well (see Watergate) takes a couple of years and by then we will be in the middle of the 2008 campaign.

    Seems to me awhile back I heard Joe Wilson in an interview say the best thing would be oversight hearings now, vote the Bush crowd out in 2008, and then turn everything discovered by the oversight hearings over to the new Justice Dept. for criminal prosecution.

    And if someone wants to bring a lawsuit between now and then, doesn't the Paula Jones decision create a precedent for a sitting president to be required to give a deposition while in office?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    I think t.A. is correct about the value of impeachment, but as others have pointed out, it's not such an easy thing to pull off successfully. Certainly, as Jeff Alworth wrote, hearing are needed first to get the truth on the record. It is not obvious to most Americans or to mainstream journalists, that what the Shrubbery has done is war crime and violation of the US Constitution. If hearings make that obvious to folks, then impeachment [of Bush AND Cheney] will seem a reasonable step.

    This cannot become an all-consuming issue for Democrats, though. There has been so much damage done by Republicans to every aspect of government, damage that needs to be stopped and repaired. Many executive branch agencies are non-functional, except as industry lapdogs. The federal government has ignored and even worsened many of our most pressing problems. Education, environmental protection, Energy policy, basic science, the social safety-net, health care: you name it, and the Republicans have screwed it up. So Congress can't let impeachment tie them up.

    On the other hand, ignoring the crimes of preemptive war and the "war on terror" would be tacit approval of those crimes. The Republic cannot survive that either, in my opinion.

  • Anonymous (unverified)

    How many attacked me when I called today's conservative policies by the "N" word? I was blasted by liberals in my own camp. No apology was ever offered.

    Yet now, this word is more in public use:

    I expect no apology. I will just toot my own horn and say, "Yes, I was right."

  • djk (unverified)

    Why on earth is everyone so sure impeachment is going to hurt the Democrats? It could, sure, but it doesn't have to. It's just a matter of doing it right.

    We need some Democratic Congressmen, maybe a couple of dozen, talking impeachment and leadership refusing to rule it out "if the evidence supports it." We need members of Congress collecting evidence of impeachable offenses -- real high crimes and misdemeanors, not petty technical transgressions -- and vocally making the case. We need people in Congress talking about it, even if it's a minority of the caucus.

    We need to keep the subject in discussion, and we need opinion polls. "If the president had done __, should he be impeached for it?" sort of stuff. See what the masses think would be solid grounds for impeachment. (To me, intentionally misleading Congress on matters of national security would qualify as an impeachable offense, when done with the express goal of launching an unprovoked war of aggression that kills thousands of Americans and costs the treasury hundreds of billions of dollars. I recognize other people might have different standards.)

    I think the American people, or most of them, are smart enough to tell the difference between a partisan "gotcha" over lying about a blow job and removing a president for major abuses of power or violations of the Constitution.

    To say that Democrats can't impeach a Republican president because the Republicans trivialized impeachment by using it on Clinton is like saying "the cops used excessive force to rough up a shoplifter; therefore, they should let a serial rapist go free." Republican misuse of impeachment does not in any way prevent its proper use when the situation warrants it.

    The key is, don't impeach Bush on technicalities. Impeach him on high crimes and misdemeanors that constitute the sort of corruption or abuse of power tantamount in scope to the listed impeachmable offenses in the constitution (bribery or treason).

    By the time any impeachment bill were to come to the House floor for a vote, numerous public opinion surveys would gage the public's appetite for impeachment. If there isn't majority support among the public, the bills remain in committee. If the public thinks the President needs to be gone, the bills can come to the floor.

    And what if Senate Republicans refuse to vote to impeach? That's fine, too. If the vote is in 2008, every Republican up for re-election will have to answer to the voters of his own state for his endorsement of Bush. "Condoning torture is not an impeachable offense."

    Properly handled, impeachment would not get in the way of the Democratic agenda. Twenty Democrats putting two or three staff members on it could do most of the heavy lifting without even bogging down their own schedules, let alone anyone else's. As Sal Peralta noted, most of our legislators can walk and chew gum at the same time. As they assemble a case, public opinion polls can determine whether the House should move forward with it.

    Look for evidence of gross abuses of power. Start the process in committee. And go slow and see what happens.

  • Zak J. (unverified)

    Good points, djk. But what you're essentially asking for it that most of the 49 Republican (and some Democrats) in the U.S. Senate essentially vote to impeach themselves. Because when it comes to torture and murder of detainees, as well as warrantless wiretaps, they've known all along what's going on.

    I believe conviction & removal from office requires a 2/3 vote in the Senate, which is an improbable outcome. What will happen is, even if the House passed the articles of impeachment, Bush would be acquitted by the Senate. Failure to convict would portrayed as a vindication of the Bush administration--which is the last thing America needs.

  • djk (unverified)

    What will happen is, even if the House passed the articles of impeachment, Bush would be acquitted by the Senate

    And what if he is? There needs to be 2/3rds vote to impeach. I doubt 2/3rds would vote to impeach, but I can see a majority doing so. I can even imagine some Republicans voting to convict, particularly those who are facing re-election and don't want to be seen as mindless partisans when facing a strongly anti-Bush electorate in their home states.

    There are (I think, and I might be wrong about this) 22 Republicans up for re-election in 2008. 49 Democrats + 22 Republicans = 71 votes.

    If Bush and Cheney are impeached together on grounds involving conspiracy to mislead Congress, I can also see Republicans voting to dump Cheney and keep Bush; sort of a "split the difference" approach. That gives them the opportunity to install a credible Republican vice president (say, John McCain) who becomes the immediate front-runner for the Presidential nomination in 2008.

    In fact, try this scenario: Congress impeaches and removes Cheney. The new vice president needs to be confirmed by the Senate. Senate Republicans insist on their choice of candidate; let's say it's John McCain. With Cheney gone, Bush loses his anti-impeachment insurance; I can definitely see Republicans purging their party of Bush in favor putting the still-very-popular McCain into the oval office. (Pretty much the only ones against that tactic would be those planning their own Presidential runs in 2008.)

    That helps the Republicans and hurts the Democrats, at least according to conventional wisdom. Which is why Senate Republicans might well vote for impeachment if there's damning evidence of serious misconduct.

    Just don't assume Republicans would never vote to impeach Bush. Bush and Cheney have done tremendous damage to their party. They cost the Republicans their majority in both houses of Congress. The general reputation of Republicans is in the dirt, and the long-held advantage that Republicans held in the public eye on fiscal responsibility and national security has vanished -- all due in large part to the Bush administration. How many Republicans really want to stand up and protect these guys at this point?

    Republican Senators facing re-election in 2008 stand to personally benefit by voting to impeach Bush. A vote against impeachment might turn out to be political suicide, depending on where the public stands on impeachment at the time of the vote. If 65% of your constituents think Bush needs to be removed from office, you take a substantial risk voting to keep him there. If 40% want him gone, you're pretty safe voting no. (But if only 40% want him gone, there probably shouldn't be impeachment proceedings in the first place.)

    What happens to Gordon Smith if he's running for re-election in Oregon as George Bush's best friend? It might not be fatal, but I don't think it helps him at all.

    Congressional investigations will raise the stakes. Imagine that the impeachment trial occurs in January of 2008, with a number of investigations still in progress. The Republican who sides with the administration has just adopted Bush and Cheney as his running mates in the next election, and every additional news story reporting scandal or corruption makes his defense of Bush even less palatable.

    Failure to convict would portrayed as a vindication of the Bush administration--which is the last thing America needs.

    If 65 Senators vote to impeach, that's scarcely vindication. It's still a pretty solid condemnation of Bush. And as I just described, any Senator who does vote to "vindicate" Bush takes a pretty big risk if additional dirt comes out.

  • Lead, follow, or get out of the way (unverified)

    The more time the Democrats spend on this issue, the more they will alientate the swing voters that are crucial to winning the White House in 2008.

    The B/O faithful (fringe element that they are) still haven't accepted the fact that those pesky flyover states elected George Bush to the White House. Twice.

    Just because the NY Times and the self-selected intelligentsia hate Bush doesn't mean the rest of America hates him.

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    Apropos djk's hypothetical scenario of 21 Republican senators up for re-election in 2008 voting to remove Bush from office: I believe the number is 21, not 22. These are senators from the following states:

    Oregon Idaho Wyoming Nebraska Kansas Colorado Oklahoma New Mexico Texas Minnesota Mississippi Alabama Georgia Soth Carolina North Carolina Virginia Kentucky Tennessee Maine New Hampshire Alaska

  • Joan Lamberth (unverified)

    We need to impeach both Dubya and Cheney. We need to find out everything they have been up to and convictions for those who conspired with them. I suspect what we don't know about this bunch is even worse than what is known. Many of these people were around during Watergate. They have proven themselves to be a cancer upon our democracy. If they are allowed to slide by again, what political horrors could we have 10 years from now?

  • LT (unverified)

    We need to impeach both Dubya and Cheney. We need to find out everything they have been up to and convictions for those who conspired with them.

    First of all, there need to be hearings to establish a trail of evidence (unlike what Hyde and DeLay and the rest of the Clinton impeachers did the way they rushed it) and that could take awhile if done right. Better to do it right than to do it fast and alienate people in the middle of the country who are more "purple" than "red" or "blue".

    Then I really like the idea that if Democrats could win the presidency in 2008, they could turn all that evidence over to the new Justice Dept. and after Jan. 2009 prosecute ordinary citizens Bush, Cheney, et. al. Meanwhile, if any citizen wants to bring a suit (Brandon Mayfield's suit against the Patriot Act would be a good one) the Paula Jones suit established a precedent for a sitting president to give a video deposition in a lawsuit while in office. That might be a better way to go.

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