Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Why Impeachment Should Be Pursued

Reading the letters in response to a TomPaine.com dual column on impeachment (one by David Corn, the other by Jennifer Van Bergen), one gets the distinct impression that even those who are undecided on the issue feel it should remain an option.

I have the following argument to make in favor of impeaching George W. Bush and Dick Cheney: if we don't, we're letting criminals get away with murder -- both literally and figuratively. When the ugliness of Iran-Contra played out, it became clear that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush (the president and vice president, respectively) had committed treason against the United States.

Congress investigated the scandal, which involved the selling of arms to Iran by the Reagan administration and using the profits to fund the terrorist Contras in Nicaragua. Yet the Legislature stopped short of impeaching both traitors. The fact innocent people died as a result of that treason did not seem to matter.

The precedent set was terrible, and it had long-lasting consequences that haunt America to this day. Had Bush Sr. and Reagan been impeached, the former never would have become president and gone on to wage the first war against Iraq. Al-Qaeda might not even exist today, the chief reason for its formation being the establishment of an American military presence in Saudi Arabia -- the home of Mecca, Islam's holiest city.

And we certainly would not have George W. Bush, the elder Bush's son, occupying the White House. We would not be bogged down in another pointless war in Iraq.

But impeachment did not happen then. And the rest, as they say, is history. What will happen down the line if Democrats fail to exercise their Constitutional duty to impeach and remove George W. Bush and Duck Cheney?

The answer, of course, is a future Bush regime (or some other power-mad executive) committing high crimes in office -- with the terrible assumption, vindicated by history, that a sitting occupant of the White House may commit any crime (no matter how vile) and get away with it because Congress is afraid of what voters will do in response.

Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis are dead from the current war, and thousands of American soldiers have been killed. These are acts of murder, for which the current Bush regime is directly responsible.

There is ample evidence Bush and Cheney have committed literally hundreds of impeachable offenses. Democrats have a duty to begin investigations leading to impeachment. And they must carry out this duty without fear.

Because, really, did the Republicans bother to think about the consequences when they impeached then-president Bill Clinton in the House of Representatives? No, they didn't. They did it and still maintained power. Voters did not hand control of both Houses of Congress to the opposition.

So enough cowardice on the part of Democrats. Start the investigations, and begin the impeachment process. If nothing else, it'll prevent Dick Cheney from ever being able to run for president.

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